It should be obvious to most brands by now that investing in mobile advertising is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.
Worldwide, mobile now accounts for more than half of all digital advertising, surpassing desktop Web in Q1 of this year, according to a recent report from UK’s PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
And, as digital ad spend continues to grow compared to traditional advertising, mobile is becoming increasingly important.Digital is expected to overtake television ad spend by the end of 2017 or early 2018, claim UK-based digital marketing communications company Dentsu Aegis Network, which means it will account for around 38% of all advertising.
In other words, within a few months, mobile ads will represent 20% of the global ad budget. And growth seems set to continue. In Australia, mobile ad spend has grown by 30% in just the first half of 2017. India’s mobile ad spend is predicted to grow at 17%.
The spread of mobile-first
It’s not hard to see why this is happening. Mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous, especially in emerging markets.
More and more consumers are adopting a mobile-first lifestyle. 20% of all purchases are now made on a mobile device.
Even if they’re not actually making a purchase, the majority of customers like to research products using their mobiles: in the US, around 68% of customers will research a major purchase on their phone before purchasing online or in a store. Mobile ads are also proving to beas effective as desktop ads, according to Nielsen: for some consumers, particularly those in the 18-34 demographic, they’re now significantly more effective.
Improvements in mobile ad technology, such as location-based targeting, video and real-time embedded data, mean that they resonate better with consumers than traditional desktop apps. And, of course, mobile ads are affected far less by the spread of ad-blockers. In-app ads in particular are completely immune to ad-blocking.
As a result, brands need to be devoting an increasing part of their marketing budget to mobile advertising. In some sectors, this needs to be far more than the 20% global average: retailers have to accept the inevitable growth of m-commerce, and need to focus heavily on reaching mobile users.
Brands targeting Asian, African and other markets where desktop penetration is comparatively low should be adopting a mobile-first advertising strategy. And lifestyle brands aimed at users under 30 should also skew their advertising heavily towards mobile.
Building an app
This all adds up to a substantial mobile advertising spend, and marketing departments will be looking for ways to be as cost-effective as possible.
It can be tempting to reduce marketing costs by targeting less popular demographics or using less competitive keywords, but this is rarely a good strategy.
Success is not simply about reaching more people for less money; if you’re not reaching the right people, they’re unlikely to become paying customers and you’re wasting your money. Instead, you need to be focusing on ways to reach the same people at a lower cost.
As we discovered recently, there’s one easy way to reduce your ad buying costs – have an app.
Because buying ads online is mostly based on an auction system, having less competition means that you will get lower prices for your ads and guess what, there are a lot less apps than websites competing for ad space.
Obviously, you’re probably thinking about how the numbers stack up. Traditional app development is expensive for major brands. According to CodeMentor, if you use an external development companythe median cost to develop a high-profile iOS app in the USA is $150,000.
Developing for Android, because of the wide range of devices you need to support, can cost two to three times as much. So how does spending $500,000 on a mobile app save you enough money to make financial sense?
The short answer is that it doesn’t. However, here’s where you need to be smart. There’s no need to spend that much money on a mobile app.
If you go to developers outside the US, you can cut those costs down by as much as 70%. Furthermore, modern dev tools mean that you can build apps cheaper and faster without compromising on quality and user experience – just take a look atReact Native.
For a smaller scope, you should be able to get a perfectly serviceable app built for both iOS and Android for under $50,000. Remember, you don’t need a fully-featured app, you just need something that will get you that discount.
Another approach is to use something like Ombori Grid that allows you to quickly convert your mobile Web site into a native app. The huge advantage of this solution is that there’s no upfront cost for either development or maintenance: you only pay a percentage of your mobile app sales.
You now have a win/win situation: you’ve got a mobile app which generates sales,boosts your engagement with your most valuable customers and alsoimproves your SEO, and your mobile marketing is becoming more cost-effective – all without having to spend anything.