Monday, December 6, 2010

The differences between Online Advertising and Mobile Advertising

Online advertising has become commodity long time ago. With the rapid growth of mobile devices market, mobile advertising is becoming more and more popular, and starting to get a significant share of advertising budgets.

We advertise on the internet and we advertise on mobile devices. Both are not really that different. Mobile devices are becoming smarter and the experience is getting quite similar to online browsing. In both online and mobile worlds, publishers show text or image ads on their sites/apps and count analytics.

So, what is really the difference between the online and the mobile?
The truth is, on first sight, there is no much difference. From one hand we have advertisers that want to reach targeted audience, from the other hand we have publishers that want to monetize their business.

When drilling down a little deeper to technical levels we are starting to see, that although there is a big resemblance between both worlds, there are are also several significant differences:
  • Mobile carrier detection - Many advertisers are not only interested in advertising on specific countries, but also on specific mobile carriers (for example, AT&T, Sprint, Orange, etc.). Therefore, mobile ad network should have the ability not only to know from which country you are coming, but also from which mobile carrier you are coming. Of course, if you are NOT coming from any mobile carrier (by using WAP), you are probably using WiFi on your mobile device. So, knowing to distinguish between WAP and WiFi can also give additional way of targeting your mobile audience.
  • Brand and Device detection - On the online world, you have several popular browsers like: Firefox, Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, etc. The mobile world is much more varied. There are many brands like: Nokia, Apple, Samsung, Motorola and many more and for each brand there are many devices growing on a daily basis. Advertisers would like to target their campaigns according to brand and/or device. Therefore, mobile advertising platforms must detect from which brand and device each request is coming.
  • Location based targeting – On the online advertising world, at first, campaigns used to be targeted to specific countries. Then systems evolved, and allowed the possibility to target campaigns according to a specific state or even specific city. On the mobile world, this is just not enough. Modern mobile devices allows knowing exact user location. This gives the possibility of creating very accurate geographical campaigns, up to a region of few kilometers and even less.
  • Screen size detection – On the online world, most users have high resolution screens. You create a single size banner that fits all. One the mobile world, single size banner is not enough. There are so many devices with so many screen sizes. For each campaign you have to create 4 different sizes of banners. You have to detect the exact size of each device and be able to fit each device the most appropriate banner.
  • Conversion analysis – One of the evolutions of online advertising was conversion analysis. Advertisers want to keep track after the converting users and know information about them. This helps them refine the targeted audience and eventually get higher ROI. But, advertisers are not so experienced with technology. Therefore, advertising platforms help advertisers to keep track of their converting users, by doing simple integration process, usually done with some client side JavaScript code. The process is very simple: You get a JavaScript snippet. You put it in some place(s) on your page(s) and you are ready to go. By taking advantage of JavaScript and cookies, the hard work is being done for you behind the scenes. On the mobile world things are quite different. Usually, you cannot reply either on JavaScript nor cookies, since not all devices support them. Therefore, the conversion tracking process becomes a harder task to accomplish (Usually, integration process involves some pixel tracking or request needed to be sent from advertiser to the mobile ad network). But, after integration with advertiser is done, more interesting information can be collected regarding converting users. You can tell if users come from a specific mobile carrier are converting more than another carrier, or if users from a specific brand or even device are generating a higher conversion.

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