Are You Selecting The Right Advertising Channel For Mobile Users?

The following is a guest contributed post to MMW from Shawn Arora, the founder of LaunchSpark, a Toronto-based explainer video agency with a focus on ROI.

2016 was a pivotal year for mobile advertising. According to an IAB report, for the first time ever, digital ad spend had surpassed the money spent on TV advertising. More importantly, mobile constituted a higher share of digital ad spend compared to desktop. As a platform, smartphones and tablets are no longer an innovative new channel that businesses with spare budget like to experiment with. Along with TV and desktops, they now constitute the vital third avenue for marketing spend.

But picking the right channel within the mobile platform can be tricky. The smaller form factor of smartphones make the medium unsuited for banners, interstitials and other similar forms of advertising. While these ad channels continue to constitute a significant chunk of mobile advertising dollars today, marketers enjoy a diverse portfolio of alternatives that offer better CTRs and conversion rates. Picking the right channel is a matter of understanding your consumers’ psyche and intent.

Product Categories 

Product categories play a major role in determining what channel one must choose for mobile advertising. Products sold in a specific niche and have high pricing points are best suited for mobile search. This is because of two reasons – search advertising can be expensive and only makes sense when you have large margins. Also, consumers like to research on the product before they buy and it makes sense to reach out to them during their research process. On the other hand, if your product is an impulse purchase, then a Facebook marketing strategy works best. Display ads are great to build a brand while email or SMS marketing is very effective when you want to market exclusive offers.


The mobile platform is an extremely effective medium to reach out to two specific demographics – the deal hunters and the younger audiences. The mobile medium offers the ability to ‘geofence’ prospective new customers which allows businesses to only spend money on customers who are located within a specific geography. Such level of precise targeting may not be possible with most of the traditional advertising medium.

However, the reason mobile advertising is on the rise is because of its ability to reach out to the millennial and the post-millennial generation. According to one study, mobile social networks like Snapchat and Instagram are the most preferred services to communicate among teenagers. Snapchat, for instance, is used by as many as 83.% of users in the 12-17 age category and 78.6% of users in the 18-24 age category. There are few alternatives to the mobile medium when it comes to reaching out to this demographic.

Customer Touchpoint 

Traditional advertising medium like TV, radio and print do not offer an integrated touchpoint with the customer. Digital advertising over internet solves this problem to a great extent since consumers may now click on an ad and proceed to buying them in one integrated experience. While this works great for large and remote businesses, this may not be ideal for local businesses like real estate agents and attorneys. These businesses work on a leads basis and depend on incoming inquiries from prospective customers for business. Mobile search is an ideal channel for such businesses since prospective customers may now look up these service providers over Google on their smartphones and may tap and call these businesses seamlessly.


Viral marketing is a cheap and effective way to build a brand. According to a report published by Forrester, mobile users are a lot more likely to engage with content published on social media compared to desktop users. Their study found that nearly 49% of mobile users and 46% of tablet users click ‘like’ on content posted by company pages on a weekly basis. In comparison, only 37% of desktop users had a similar level of engagement.

The advertising channel you choose for your business can often make or break your campaign. The demographics and user behavior on the mobile platform can make this a lucrative medium for businesses. In the end, the success of a campaign depends on picking the right channel to reach out to your audience.