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What is Mobile Marketing? And, why does it matter?

Detail Blog | todo Mobile

In 2005 if you heard the term Mobile Marketing you might think about an advert that has the ability to move around (like a sign on a bus). In the most literal term, that is mobile marketing!

All jokes aside as we enter the next decade, mobile marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. In this post we will discuss what mobile marketing is and how it can help your business increase revenue.

What exactly is mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing is any form of marketing or advertising activity that engages with customers on their mobile device. It’s that simple and can take many different forms.

Race care turning right on race track.

Performance Marketing on Mobile

Mobile performance marketing (also known as direct response marketing) consists of two primary forms: App Acquisition and Mobile Web Acquisition

App Acquisition Marketing

These types of campaigns are fairly predominant in the mobile space and for good reason. If you have a mobile app, you should be promoting it on the device that it is being used. App Acquisition Marketing utilizes different mobile marketing techniques to ensure that users are downloading and engaging with mobile applications.

Mobile Web Acquisition

The second subset of performance marketing on mobile is for businesses that don’t have an app but offer a mobile optimized web experience for their product. Not all brands need an app, but everyone needs to be optimized for mobile. And the same is true about how you advertise to potential customers on mobile. Creating bespoke campaigns for a mobile audience can increase your conversion on mobile exponentially.

Man holding phone taking picture of Nike Swoosh on hist sweater.

Brand Marketing on Mobile

This type of mobile marketing is used for brands that don’t offer any specific online service but are looking for unique ways to engage with their customers on mobile. In our opinion this is one of the largest opportunities for brands. There is a unique opportunity to create a bespoke, relevant, experience for potential customers on devices that are highly personal. And the shift is happening, brands are spending less on TV and more on digital/mobile channels to reach their customers.

When there is a TV ad on most people are now looking at their phones so the question for brands becomes, how can I access this attention?

Brands are utilizing various forms of brand marketing on mobile including augmented reality, brand video, location based marketing and more.

Augmented Reality

Utilizing an interactive experience in a real-world environment allows brands to build immersive experiences to engage with their customers. As outlined below, Burger King created a lot of awareness by allowing users to “burn” competitors OOH advertisements. At Apple headquarters in Cupertino, visitors can take a AR tour of Apple Park using augmented reality on their smartphones.

Brand Video

Video is a native experience on mobile devices with nearly X percent of streaming services being consumed on these devices. As such, brands are turning to this form of video over TV to get in front of potential customers.

Location Based

Brands are already utilizing location data to target potential customers and grow brand presence. Barney’s New York leverages beacons at their flagship store in New York. Barney’s uses their location data to recommend nearby restaurants or site seeing opportunities for their customers. Using this type of data in a value-added manner allows Barney’s to increase brand loyalty.

Why is mobile marketing important?

Mobile marketing is becoming increasingly important as these devices become ingrained in our daily lives. At the end of the day, advertisers need to access inventory where their customer’s attention lies. Due to the increased adoption of smartphones, tablets and other connected mobile devices customer attention has become mobile.

How are the biggest brands using mobile marketing?

Burger King – Burn That Ad

In Brazil, Burger King gave users a unique experience with their app. If users found a competitor OOH advertisement they could use augmented reality on their phone to “burn the ad” and change it into a Burger King ad.

Once users completed this action they were rewarded with a free Whopper from the nearest restaurant. Burger King expected half a million whoppers to be given away during the campaign which would drive a large amount of foot traffic to their locations. As a result the campaign increased brand loyalty and social sharing metrics.

Nike – Enhancing In-Store Experience

Nike utilizes their mobile app to enhance the in-store experience for customers. This gives them more reason to come into a physical location to engage with the brand. Customers can use their devices to reserve products for pick up from ‘smart lockers’ within the store. They can scan items to learn more and earn rewards and even message store associates directly for assistance.

BMW – Buy a Car with your phone

Utilizing Shazamable print ads customers were able to scan the car of their choice and be re-directed to a mobile optimized page for their chosen car. Customers could even purchase the car directly from the page. This wasn’t the main objective of the campaign. Rather it was to bridge the gap between physical and digital world and build brand engagement with customers.

What will the future of mobile marketing look like?

With the continued evolution of voice connected devices, location-based technologies, augmented reality, virtual reality the potential for the future is truly unlimited.

Location-based Targeting

In the next 3-5 years we think that location-based targeting will become more apparent than it is today. This holds true especially with larger brands. Traditionally large brands create one bespoke campaign and then blast this across all channels and locations. That will be changing with brands starting to see the relevance of being contextually relevant to each locational and demographic that they are targeting.

eMarketer, 2018

Augmented Reality

With games like Pokémon Go gaining popularity in the past few years it’s easy to see that augmented reality will be a big part of advertiser’s strategies moving forward. We think the first space that will see penetration with AR at scale is the shopping space. Traditional retailers are looking for innovative ways to stay relevant in store and at home AR will help them.

Connected Voice

Voice connected devices is also an interesting growing category. 5 years ago, voice adoption was very low. As adoption increases, so will marketing dollars. How advertisers engage with customers on this platform is yet to be seen.

Privacy will be a large trend in 2020

Privacy will continue to be a large trend in mobile marketing for 2020 and beyond. With Google recently deprecating the Chrome cookie the advertising IDs on mobile (IDFA, GAID) likely won’t be far behind. Exactly what is expected for advertisers is yet to be determined but it will have an effect on depth of targeting capabilities (adding to the importance of bringing contextual relevance of targeting demographics).


While it sounds niche, mobile marketing is actually a broad space. Encompassing app acquisition, mobile web and brand wide efforts. As platform adoption continues to increase, we forecast that more advertising dollars will be focussed with mobile first intent with voice, augmented reality continuing to play a more substantial role in these efforts.

If you are evaluating potential agencies check out our post: How to Choose An App Marketing Agency.