You build a rich, eye-catching mobile ad. Consumers click on it in droves. Everything is going according to plan and you expect accolades from your boss to flow in.

Only they don’t. Because while your mobile ad is boosting site traffic, monthly sales figures remain fairly flat. Clearly, your ad is doing little to help your brand.

What’s gone wrong?

Multiple factors might be at play, from poor product pricing to the mobile ad dissolving into something disappointing or unusable for consumer. But usually, a mobile ad with high click through rates and low conversion rates indicates problems at the back end with the mobile site consumers click through to.

In mobile, back end problems are not uncommon. Mobile advertising is still evolving and often ads fail because not enough thought goes into the consumer experience after an ad is clicked. But if a consumer’s initial expectations fail to match their experience in mobile, they scram – and quickly.

However, getting mobile right is critical for advertisers.

A recent eMarketer study predicts that nearly 73 million mobile users age 14 and over will browse or research products and services on their phones in 2012.

Consumers are also far more likely to click on mobile ads than PC (desktop and laptop computers) ads, primarily due to their novelty and prominence on smaller screens. MediaMind research ‘Tiny Screen, Huge Results’ in 2011 found mobile ads achieve CTRs of 0.61 percent versus 0.07 percent for standard display banners on PCs.

But successful mobile advertising requires considering the entire mobile ad experience, from initial click through to final sale.

The five basic tips advertisers should consider to get mobile advertising right are:

  1. Get a mobile site. Seems pretty obvious, right? Mobify, Wirenode or Onbile can take your existing website and convert it for mobile or help you build a new one quickly. Make sure it’s easy to use and think about how mobile customers will use your site on the go. Keep only the most pertinent info easily accessible.
  2. Expect comparison shopping. It’s easier than ever to quickly check information from multiple businesses, so consider what sets you apart from everyone else? Do you have a special offer, better selection, free shipping, great customer service? Make sure your mobile site addresses why the search should stop with you (taking into consideration its limited screen real estate).
  3. If you want mobile ads to drive mobile purchasing, your keyword is ‘secure’. The idea of sending credit card details into the ether from a phone is something people are still getting used to. Make your potential customers feel extra-safe by conveying how your mobile site is secure, payment-wise.
  4. Offer discounts through mobile. If your user wants to see your product in person before buying, a mobile coupon or discount card could seal the deal once they’ve visited your physical store. Try integrating with mobile coupon apps or leveraging QR codes. Skip the little plastic discount cards and find a 21st century way to do the same thing.
  5. Check your reviews. Before purchasing, there is an excellent chance that your buyers are going to check out the reviews on your products and business first. If there are negative reviews out there for either, see what you can do to address them and try to make sure your score deservedly achieves 4 to 5 stars.

Finally, next time you see an ad, click on it to see where it goes. What is the experience like and is everything easy to use? Or do you give up and look somewhere else? Take note of the entire purchase journey and learn from it.

In doing so, when you make your own mobile ads, you will be in a better position to make truly great ads. That is, a mobile ad that lures you in with great creative and delights when you click through the ad as well. Just what you need to get your brand mobilised.

Carolyn Bollaci
BY Carolyn Bollaci ON 13 February 2012
Regional vice president, Australia & New Zealand, Sizmek