My mobile ad rant, this is not rocket surgery

by Joel on June 28, 2010

Get a degree in Rocket SurgeryIn the world of advertising, mobile ads are the new frontier. Advertising on smartphones is predicted to explode in the next few years. Google bought AdMob to get a jump on the mobile ad space. Apple has introduced iAd and apparently forbidden Google’s ads on the iPhone, prompting an FTC investigation. Even Microsoft is taking steps to have a presence on mobile devices. Everyone is sure the road to riches lies somewhere in this new frontier, if only they can find it.

I have an Android phone. I have clicked (tapped?) on mobile ads. As a user I have one simple request of mobile ad marketers, one that will increase your ROI exponentially — make sure your landing page is optimized for mobile devices.

It seems everyone is running pell-mell into this new advertising space and forgetting the basic principles of marketing. If you are going to pay the premium to grab a piece of the mobile advertising pie, you need to make sure that I, as the end user, see exactly what you want me to see when I click that ad.

Yes, smartphones have web browsers that are almost as capable as a desktop browser — I love that I have the web in the palm of my hand — but the screen is tiny. If I have to scroll and swipe and hunt for your content, I probably won’t bother. When I click your ad, I should be taken to a screen that I can view with minimal scrolling and which has exactly the content promised in the ad. Otherwise, you have wasted your advertising dollars.

This is not rocket surgery, people. Would you buy a billboard or radio commercial to tell me to call a special telephone number which plays a recording telling me to call another number to receive the information I want? Of course not! That would be a waste of an ad budget.

The same principle applies to online and, especially, mobile advertising. Don’t make me think. Show me exactly what you want me to see. I guess what it boils down to is this — think like an end user when you design your campaign. Do this and you are more likely to find that road to riches. At least you’ll be using the right map.

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