Mobile advertising best practice: Interview with Adfoni

By Chris Lee

Taking a data-driven approach drastically improves the impact of mobile advertising, according to mobile ad platform Adfonic as the channel becomes an increasingly popular medium by which to reach target audiences. The company analyses its users’ campaign data quarterly to monitor what works best and found a number of interesting trends during the second quarter of 2012, Paul Childs, chief marketing officer for Adfonic, told NMK.

What works in mobile advertising?

One key observation was what Childs calls the “sweet spot” combination of advertiser campaign verticals and publisher inventory channels that produce exceptionally high click-through rates (CTRs).

“For example, Adfonic found that ad campaigns for social networking can perform spectacularly well if displayed within gaming channels, experiencing a CTR uplift of 114 per cent above average,” he said.

Adfonic also found that lifestyle campaigns displayed within entertainment channels can perform 69 per cent above average. Optimising for these sweet spots could be a very effective strategy, Childs believes.


Looking at timing, Adfonic’s marketplace was most active at the weekend, with CTR uplift on Saturdays of six per cent above average. Over the weekend generally, the most active channels were social and dating (26 per cent), and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and retail (21 per cent).

“This implies a ‘leisure effect’, in which catching people during their downtimes is the key,” Childs told NMK. “They show greater propensity to click through when engaging with people or idly window shopping.”

Target mobile ads by gender

Adfonic also found proof that gender-specific campaigns are highly effective. Adfonic samples millions of ad requests that include demographic data, provided with the user’s consent and this showed that male-targeted technology and telecoms campaigns experience an increase in CTRs of 164 per cent greater than average, while female-targeted entertainment and media campaigns can increase CTRs by 92 per cent – almost double the average.

“Put plainly, gender targeting works,” Childs said.

Mobile ad best practice

One stand out campaign which Childs cited as a classic example of great mobile advertising was on from German car maker Audi. The rich media, mobile ad actually allowed the user to ‘test drive’ the latest model with the smartphone becoming a steering wheel – this is enabled by the gyroscope function which is built into most modern handsets and is the principle Nintendo first seized on to great effect with the Wii, Childs explained.

Childs recommends the following five steps to anyone planning a mobile ad campaign:

1. Incorporate rich media into mobile ad campaigns: rich media has emerged as a game changer for the mobile advertising industry as it offers the consumer a more engaging and interactive experience and facilitates superior branding opportunities for advertisers. Until recently, rich media advertisements for mobile were, for the most part, offered as a premium or niche service across a small number of high-end mobile publishers. Now, mobile ad networks offer rich media on a global scale, giving advertisers access to millions of consumers and challenging budgets across other media channels.

2. The reach of mobile ads extends beyond smartphone users: don’t forget the important and exponentially-growing users of tablets, who are browsing the Web on devices that are ideally suited to rich media mobile ads and interactive user experiences. Amazon’s recent launch of the Kindle Fire tablet in the UK marks a further phase in the consumer adoption of tablets.

3. Spot the time-of-day opportunity to reach mobile users: we know from our own research of daily click patterns that digital advertising reaches consumers during the day, when they are using desktop computers at their workplace. Daily click patterns show that fixed Internet clicks are predominant until 5pm, but from 5pm mobile clicks (via smartphones) grow much more rapidly and increase at a rapid rate to reach a peak that is almost equal to fixed Internet clicks. We also know from additional research that consumers use their tablet computers in their leisure time: 44 per cent of mobile ad requests from iPad owners are generated in the evening.

4. Link mobile ad campaigns to major events: the Super Bowl in the US is a great example of how informed mobile marketers are grabbing the eyeballs that TV previously owned. Studies estimate that nearly half of Super Bowl XLVI viewers checked their mobile device as many as ten times during the game, and almost a third of viewers under the age of 45 watched the game “with device in hand.” This represents a significant opportunity for brands: 2012 Super Bowl TV ads were projected to cost $3.5 million for a 30 second spot, but increasing penetration of smartphones means that people are introducing a second screen to the living-room experience and providing marketers with a cost-effective way to reach consumers during major events.

5. Think about who the campaign is trying to reach: as data from the Adfonic AdMetrics report shows, targeting mobile ad campaigns by gender drives performance.


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