Gift-wrapped – Your Christmas Guide to Mobile Advertising
Smartphone and tablet ownership has exploded over the past year, with almost half of the UK population (not just London and the South East) now owning a smartphone. This means that more people than ever are browsing and shopping on the mobile internet and engaging with apps. Mobile is subsequently set to form a bigger piece than ever of the traditional Christmas shopping frenzy in 2011.
In the US, PayPal is seeing $10m (£6.5m) in mobile payments each day and according to figures from IBM, 15 per cent of people in the UK logging on to a retailer’s website are expected to do so through a mobile device this Christmas. By 2021, UK consumers are expected to be spending £19.3bn a year on their smartphone and tablet devices. As a result, mobile has become crucial to any well-balanced marketing and advertising strategy, especially during the high-spend Christmas period.
Mobile click patterns
Last year, Adfonic recorded and analysed mobile click patterns throughout December, in order to identify patterns of behaviour and trends that occur on mobile over the Christmas period. Mobile plays a very different role to online in the lives of consumers. It’s crucial to recognise the above trends in order to maximise the results of any Christmas mobile campaign.
Mobile represents a huge opportunity to reach and engage with consumers as they hunt for Christmas gifts and bargains. According to the latest British Retail Consortium and Google Online Retail Monitor research, mobile now accounts for 10 per cent of all retail searches, showing that savvy consumers do not just use their smartphones and tablets to buy, but also, to check product information, read product reviews, search for store locations, redeem vouchers in-store, and compare prices.
Across Adfonic’s global mobile ad network last year, there were huge increases in mobile traffic during the build up to Christmas. This year, it is expected to exceed previous records as Gartner’s figures show that smartphone penetration today is up 42 per cent from this time last year.
Mobile advertising spend over the next month looks set to ramp up, as advertisers integrate mobile into their marketing plans in a drive to reach the growing mobile audience. Adfonic data shows that last year in the UK, traffic volumes rose by 400 per cent on the busiest day of December pre-Christmas. Advertisers familiar with online traffic patterns will find this dramatic increase unsurprising. However, what may be more unexpected is that the peak day fell on the second Sunday of December, in contrast to the second Monday, which has traditionally been the peak pre-Christmas shopping day online. If, as expected, we see a similar pattern this year to last, Sunday 11 December is set to hit a pre-Christmas high, with traffic volumes for the full month peaking on Boxing Day.
Just as it is important that marketers note the different times that consumers browse on mobile compared to online, so it is important that marketers heed the very different way consumers behave on mobile. Shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones to research product information and compare prices while they are physically browsing on the high street - something that is not possible online.
According to a study commissioned by Yahoo, nine out of 10 mobile users have accessed the mobile web while at a store, and approximately 50 per cent of in-store mobile web activity is related to shopping. For example, 48 per cent of in-store mobile users take and/or send a picture of a product to a friend or family member.
Last year, our analysis of average daily click patterns showed a sharp increase in mobile traffic after 6pm, whilst online traffic volumes were falling. The nomadic, always-connected nature of smartphone and tablet devices means that consumers are also turning to their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet whilst at home relaxing in the evenings. Advertisers need to plan their campaigns to cover the peak times in order to maximise the visibility of their ads.
Christmas is a crucial period for any retailer as well as the hospitality, travel and entertainment industries. In order to deliver the best results, mobile should be treated not as an extension of an online strategy, but as a discrete advertising channel, with its own set of unique characteristics and consumer behaviour trends that differ drastically from other media. Simply shrinking down online creatives to a smaller screen is not enough to drive conversions.
Advertisers should make full use of the tools that ad networks have available, such as rich media, click-to-video, click-to-app download, click-to-registrations, purchases, store locator, coupon download, click-to-call and click-to-social media. Mobile, by its very nature is an engaging and interactive medium, and advertising campaigns need to reflect this if they are to deliver great results this coming festive season.
Here, to finish up, are our top tips for a merry mobile advertising campaign this Christmas:
- Consider the different ways in which consumers browse the mobile web and apps compared to online – peak days and peak times of day can differ significantly on mobile.
- Be prepared for sharp traffic increases, and ensure you don’t burn through your budgets faster than planned by setting daily budget caps and deploying day-part targeting on your campaigns.
- Be ready with Christmas-themed creatives in as many mobile ad units as possible, to maximise the exposure of your campaign, and get these live as soon as you can.
- Be clear in your ad creatives and within your mobile sites and apps about last order dates and shipping deadlines pre-Christmas.
- Christmas Day itself was the second biggest day in December for mobile clicks across the Adfonic marketplace, highlighting the trend for an even earlier start to online sales. It is therefore essential to ensure that Christmas-themed ads are replaced with January sales offers as soon as Christmas has arrived.
- The iPad 2 will undoubtedly be one of the most popular gifts this Christmas, and iPad traffic will receive a large boost as a result. Bear this in mind when planning your January sales campaigns.
Nicola Reed is marketing director at Adfonic