Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art. ~ William Bernbach.Mobile Advertising industry globally is a billion dollar industry with operators, application developers, media agencies trying to milk the cow of high penetration and reach of mobile phones. But to all the mind and money behind this medium for persuasion lies a critical flaw. The assumption that mobile phone advertisements can persuade. This assumption is not entirely a fallacy but in its current mode of implementation most mobile phone advertisements are ineffective and inefficient.
For smart phone users browsing the internet on mobile although the ad manages to make an impression it is a complete replica of advertising techniques used on internet. The traditional form of banner advertisements have been blatantly copied and used on mobile.On top of it users get waves of messages equivalent of spams that make their experience on the negative end of the satisfaction spectrum. Digital advertising has followed the law of critical mass that has been followed for ages by marketers and advertisers. When this critical mass started listening to radio, marketers moved to advertising on radio alongside billboards, magazines and newspapers. As we ushered into the era of television, marketers came up with more media rich ad campaigns that included voice and reach of radio, and the media richness of TV. The same formula was applied to mobile and internet browsing on mobile. This formula is a replica of the soviet army strategies followed during the second world war or the strategic bomb raids of the allied forces. These solutions are ineffective in the current mode of Guerrilla warfare where the battle lines are hazy.
The Soviet Army Strategy.
The problem with the current formula of advertising on mobile is that it follows the strategy of soviet army during the first and second world war. The ads like the soviet men never seem to end. They come on with waves of men, like a brute bottomless force. These ads come on an on till the time you give up and actually read one. In terms of digital advertising this results in a low click through rate. Like it was for the soviet army the losses are heavy. Advertising on mobile has become a game of pure numbers for the ineffective marketers. Some smarter ones have have tried to solve it through targeted advertising.
The Air attack.
Targeted advertising is like the strategic bomb raids that were conduced by the allied forces during the second world war. They are still in use and considered the most effective weapon in a war. But they are costly and require a lot more preparation. The lazy marketers trying to get quick returns with lower investments follow the Soviet strategy. The same goes for media planners trying to convince clients with the sheer volume of the ads and lower cost per ad.The ineffectiveness of both strategies is due to the fact the mobile phone is small. Its like a small country with an unclear border that can neither be won by the soviet army strategy nor a targeted air attack approach. The battle lines are hazy and hence need to be solved by the economics of warfare and not military strategies.
The Marginal Utility Concept
The economics of advertising for the end user need to be understood. The gratification derived out of receiving these advertisements need to be understood before sending the armies of text and banner on handsets with 3 inch to 10 inch screens. An already small screen is cluttered with a banner ad. The utility derived by the consumer by visiting a page on mobile internet on a connection slower than broadband reduces. If that banner does not compensate for this reduction in utility, it will deemed as a pesky irritant. Similarly a text message clutters an already cluttered inbox and a hectic schedule. The utility derived by a consumer reduces. The advertisements on mobile whether an SMS or a banner on mobile internet sites have to guarantee the user an increase in utility. This needs perfection of timing of the SMS, the frequency of the update or the size and content of the banner or text ad. If indeed it cannot give an increase to the existing utility, it has to compensate for the same. location based advertising on mobile can give consumer instant gratification with a higher marginal utility. If this increase in marginal utility is more than the decrease caused due to the pesky and intrusive nature of the ad, it will be successful for the advertiser. The result is lower costs and higher effectiveness.Mobile Advertising- Consumer Trends