3 Needed Improvements to Mobile Ads

Mobile advertisements are one of the mainstays of mobile app revenue, especially for Android apps, but there’s some grumbling in the industry that they’re not performing quite as well as they ought to be.  A recent article in The Atlantic has a lot to say about the current state of mobile ads, and today we’re going to take a look at how those ads might improve in order to create more effective revenue streams for mobile app developers.

  1. Re-marketing:  Have you ever been on a browsing binge on your desktop PC and noticed that the same ads seem to follow you around?  That’s called “remarketing,” and it works by remembering your browsing and shopping habits through tools like cookies.  Such tools aren’t yet available for smartphones, and as a result it’s significantly more difficult for advertisers to target their ads effectively.
  2. Conversion:  “Click-through” rates measure the number of times users click on a mobile ad.  “Conversion” rates measure the number of times those ads led to a sale.  First, click-through rates are higher on phones than they are on tablets and desktops, but this may simply be a function of screen size.  How many times have you clicked on an ad accidentally, because it popped up at precisely the moment you were about to click something else?  Or how many times have your ham-handed thumbs clicked on an ad instead of closing it, which is what you meant to do?  Accidental clicks shouldn’t really factor into the data, but they do, even though such clicks rarely lead to a sale.  Additionally, how do you measure the conversion rate when a user searches for, say, a restaurant, but then physically goes to the restaurant to make the purchase?  That won’t be counted in a conversion rate analysis, even though it certainly should.
  3. Creativity:  Too many mobile ads send people to web pages that aren’t optimized for their phones.  However, other marketers are doing it right.  Starwood Hotels, for example, favors click-to-call ads and expandable maps on the off-chance that someone looking for a hotel from their phone is likely going to want to book a room in the very near future, and tailoring that process to mobile users is definitely a smart move.

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