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Four Ways to Deliver Meaningful Mobile Advertising Engagement

by Sebastian Tonkin  |  
August 15, 2013

Every day seems to bring a new innovation in ad tech, a new ad exchange, and new must-do best practices for reaching consumers.

Fueling today’s mobile ad land grab is the vast opportunity before the industry. Analyst Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers recently projected that there is a $20 billion dollar mobile and Internet advertising opportunity in the United States alone.

In the race to capture ad dollars and consumer eyeballs in the new mobile ad frontier, remember the lessons learned from the decline of the display ad: Unless you can deliver a compelling message, static can equal stagnation, and ad budgets can quickly evaporate without delivering any discernible ROI.

While the industry quickly embraces and iterates on new mobile ad tech, fundamentals should remain the foundation. Brands need to reach consumers where they are, deliver value, and make their messages stick.

One place where advertisers can be sure mobile consumers are is online, and the preferred on-ramp to the Internet today is Wi-Fi. Recent studies have shown that 94% of tablet and 42% of smartphone connections are via Wi-Fi. A Pew Internet & American Life Project study also revealed that more than a third of American adults own a tablet, and the people more likely to own them are college-educated, affluent 35-44 year-olds---a dream demo for many brands. The Wi-Fi connected mobile consumer audience is expanding rapidly, with ABI Research reporting 5 billion Wi-Fi devices shipped to date, a number they predict will double by 2015.

Wi-Fi advertising and sponsorship can target by device, location, and daypart to reach specific consumers online, but a true engagement must still be earned. The multibillion dollar mobile monetization gap, new ad innovations, and marketplaces create a perfect recipe for consumers to experience online ad overload.

So, how can today’s advertisers be sure that their messages are resonating, and that they’re putting their money behind the most effective mobile advertising?

Keeping the following four touchstones in mind can help ensure the engagement and transparency that today’s leading brands require.

1. Create a Value Exchange

There’s truth to the saying “you have to give to receive.” The best way to secure active consumer engagement is by giving consumers something meaningful in return for their attention. Providing a valuable service or offer, such as free Wi-Fi, mobile coupons, or loyalty program perks are just some of the ways that consumers can feel rewarded for providing 30-40 seconds of their attention to a brand.

Venues can get in on this value exchange as well. Consumers are looking to stay connected wherever they go, from airports to malls to sports arenas, necessitating wireless network installations or upgrades in previously unwired locations. Wi-Fi sponsorship and location-based offers create a win-win-win: Customers get the connection or coupon they’re looking for, brands reach consumers in locations where consumers are in buying mode, and venues can share in the advertising revenue to offset the costs of their networks.

2. Know the Customer

In the age of “big data,” consumers are beginning to expect ads and offers tailored to them. In fact, a recent Infosys survey found that 85 percent of consumers want offers targeted to them, but 66 percent said online ads and emails missed the mark.

New wireless analytics tools capture data including location of connection, time spent online, and the type of device used, totally anonymously. When paired with additional third party data, advertisers can pinpoint target audiences with greater precision than ever, and can ensure delivery of the right message to the right customer. Brands can even field localized surveys via Wi-Fi networks to better understand their audiences and whether their messages are resonating.

Advertising delivery via wireless networks can today make it possible to target an iPhone-using working mother on her lunch break at her local Starbucks with a message that she’ll appreciate.

3. Remember That Attention Is Everything

Connected consumers are busy. With only 30-45 seconds of customers' attention focused on them, advertisers have to make it count and know their message was received. Action-oriented engagement models can ensure that customers are paying attention in myriad ways.

One of the most popular and accepted engagements continues to be the video engagement, but new methods are gaining popularity. Brands sponsoring Wi-Fi can ask that consumers to type-in their slogan before starting to surf online, or click through to a sponsor website. Advertisers with app offerings can also encourage consumers to download an app for access to connectivity or a special offer. The customer receives a service or offer they value in exchange for minimal action, and an advertiser receives measurable data on message recall and engagement.

How does an advertiser know that attention is being paid? Because new tools allow actions to be validated, and the cost-per-engagement model ensures that advertisers don’t pay unless an action is completed.

4. Make Your Message Actionable---Right Now

Wi-Fi and location-based advertising and sponsorships are place-based by definition, and advertisers can turn purchase intent into purchase action by delivering an eye-catching, localized message. For example, when Google Offers was looking to introduce their New York deals to a new audience, the company ran two separate, concurrent Wi-Fi sponsorship campaigns via the NYC subway network and metropolitan hot zones---one for their NYC Midtown and NYC Downtown Offers services, allowing people to purchase an offer truly close to them.

Today’s technology allows advertisers to deliver messages to the right people in the right mood to take action, whether that be watching a video, downloading a valuable new app or making an impulse buy. Embracing the value exchange, and reaching consumers where they are, with something they want and a message that matters can help brands cut through the online ad onslaught.

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Sebastian Tonkin is Boingo Wireless’ director of advertising products and strategy, and leads the development of Boingo’s location-based advertising services and innovative Wi-Fi sponsorship campaigns.

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  • by ashley Thu Aug 15, 2013 via blog

    Thanks for the post. These are great tips to keep in mind since these days majority of customers are constantly on their smartphones. Thanks again.

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