Commentary

Cutting Waste Out of Mobile Advertising

The New York Post recently wrote that mobile advertising suffers from a “fat finger” problem, meaning users often click on banner ads in apps, games and browsers on their small mobile screen by mistake. These accidental taps might increase click-through stats, but they also waste brands’ valuable advertising dollars.

How do we fix this seemingly unavoidable and expensive problem? Forget about users who just click and find the ones who buy.  Using advanced tracking and optimization technology, mobile advertisers can avoid consumers with fat fingers and focus on those who click with a purpose.

According to estimates by Trademob, as many as 40% of mobile ad clicks are accidental or caused by fraud associated with sophisticated bots. The “fat finger” problem is real.  So what are advertisers paying for if all these clicks from clumsy thumbs instead of excited new customers ready to open their wallets? 

The only way for advertisers to truly address the issue is to move beyond baseline targeting methods and find users based on their actions after the initial click.  With the right technology, all of this can be done accurately and in real time.

The only way to track advertising beyond the initial click is to use a conversion page, which shares real-time information about user behavior to match each conversion to a particular banner ad.  From there, the information can be matched against a user’s actions over time, making each successive ad increasingly effective for the marketer and relevant to the user. 

This is only possible if you can create a “unique user,” which has historically been a challenge for mobile.

Advertisers can use this strategy to identify which users do not convert into customers and avoid them altogether. That means serving all future advertising not only to targeted demographics, but to those most likely to engage beyond the first click, based on factors such as what sites users traffic and what types of phones they use.

Advertisers are only beginning to realize mobile’s potential above and beyond many other media.  For each of the past four years, global mobile data traffic has more than doubled, and average smartphone usage nearly tripled in 2011, according to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update.  Estimates show that global mobile data traffic will be 18 times as large in 2016 as it was in 2011. 

As mobile usage grows, brands need to target those users most relevant by capitalizing on tools to track and recognize unique users, something they haven’t done to date. 

To seize on this immense opportunity to connect with new audiences, brands must ensure that their ads are served to the right user, in the right environment and at the right time.  With new technology, we can fix mobile advertising’s “fat finger” problem and ensure mobile advertising budgets are dollars well spent. 

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2 comments about "Cutting Waste Out of Mobile Advertising".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 5, 2012 at 9:34 a.m.
    The larger the screens, the smaller the fat fingers and less oops. Murse, purse, whatever it takes.
  2. Eric Brown from Media Armor inc , December 6, 2012 at 10:46 a.m.
    "The only way to track advertising beyond the initial click is to use a conversion page." This is no longer true. Post-message tracking in mobile and cross-channel consumer behavior & messaging are possible.