Can Mobile Advertising Help Drive Your Small Business's Sales?

Michael Essany Headshot by Michael Essany on March 27, 2013
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Once the province of well-funded behemoth brands, mobile advertising is no longer an exclusive club for elite companies. In fact, as mobile ads grow more accessible and affordable, they may be just what small businesses need to reach the masses.

“Relatively few small-business owners have even dipped a toe into mobile advertising, choosing instead to rely on buying dry print and broadcast ads sometimes repurposed for web campaigns,” observes Alex Kutsishin, president of FiddleFly, in American Business Magazine. “An increasing [number] of sophisticated consumers are tuning out the ‘noise’ of traditional media and advertising, focusing their attention instead on mobile media — specifically smartphones. The smartest small-business owners should follow.”

Research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows that 70 percent of mobile device users view ads on their smartphones as “personal invitations” (and not “personal invasions”). Combined with research showing that a higher percentage of Americans own mobile devices than desktop computers, it’s easy to understand why the mobile channel is quickly becoming the optimal platform for touting products and services.

Ad Networks Deliver Big for Small Businesses

Research firm IBISWorld estimates that within five years geolocation services will enable advertisers to “target consumers with ads and coupons at the most opportune moment, as they pass by a store or walk down a certain aisle.”

The increasingly sophisticated targeting capabilities of today’s emerging ad networks lend credence to such projections. “In the last few years, while Google-owned AdMob and Apple’s iAd went fishing only for corporate whales, a slew of promising young ad networks began innovating in ways that are also important to smaller advertisers,” explains independent marketing and business analyst Mike Randazzo.

“That’s why we’re hearing such praise for Airpush and Tapjoy. They are not only among the most effective mobile ad networks in the global marketplace, they’re also leading the charge on innovation where it matters most to the majority of mobile advertisers and developers,” Randazzo says.

“When you look, for example, at the mobile ad formats that Airpush is pioneering, it’s the ultimate equalizer,” he adds. “A small business can now benefit from mobile ad exposure that’s every bit as attractive and engaging as what the major international brands are producing. If that’s not a ‘game changer’ for small-business advertising, I don’t know what is.”

Mobile Keeps Maturing

“Tracking and targeting are challenges that mobile advertising networks face today, across all platforms,” says Chris Akhavan, senior vice president of global partnerships at Tapjoy. “Right now, even the most sophisticated ad networks have limited targeting capabilities compared [with] web-based advertising networks. That said, both tracking and targeting are improving rapidly on mobile and will only get better.”

A growing number of industry analysts believe that before the close of this decade, mobile ad spending will account for substantially more — if not most — of the typical small-business marketing budget.

“By then,” Randazzo concludes, “the advanced capabilities of these solutions will render today’s cutting-edge tools and resources obsolete. And no one stands to benefit more from this evolution than small-business owners. Their advertising potential will be virtually unlimited.”

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