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How to Become a Mobile Marketing Success Story

Although mobile marketing is in its infancy, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until the medium takes its first steps to be successful. Already, enterprising retailers and small businesses alike are testing the waters of advertising on smart phones, and they’re seeing surprisingly good results. Here’s what you need to know if you’d like to join the ranks of successful mobile media marketers.

Responsive Design is a Home Run for


Fathead’s new responsive design resulted in higher conversion rates, more pages per session, and longer time spent on site.

Fathead began as a way to connect fans with the players they love when a simple jersey just won’t cut it. It originally started with an NFL license but soon expanded into NBA, NHL, and NASCAR lines. Today, it has grown into movie licensing deals with Disney and Lucasfilm; and it even creates custom life-size wall graphics from photos. Much in the same way Kleenex became a household name for disposable handkerchiefs, Fathead is becoming a household name for photo-realistic wall art.

According to Internet Retailer, Fathead has not only embraced the mobile advertising platform, but completely tackled it. The new responsive mobile-friendly design has paid off big in terms of higher conversions, lower bounce rates, and much more. By moving away from focusing exclusively on Internet Explorer and Firefox, and instead channeling its energies into a better mobile experience, Fathead continues to have its finger on the pulse of what users want.

Key Takeaway:

If you’re seeing a rise in mobile traffic, look for ways to integrate a more mobile-responsive design into your website. This involves having a core code base that can be updated and changed according to the different mobile platforms you want to target.

Responsive web design works on the principle that individual site elements can be “stacked” or “spread” depending on the user’s screen size and resolution. Because the site responds to these changes on the fly (hence “responsive design”), it is much more accommodating in terms of smart phone developments today and in the future. For more information, see this article from SEOMoz about how responsive web design works.

Advertising that Pays for Itself


Zillow’s previous incarnation featured annoying ads, while its newer, agent-centered version has the potential to easily pay for itself in terms of leads generated.

Bland, boring banner ads are a thing of the past, and yet many mobile marketers still think users want to see these ads peppered across their screens. Online real estate search engine Zillow garnered many complaints from its mobile users when it showed generic ads that filled anywhere from a third to half of their screens. Zillow Chief Executive Spencer Rascoff stated in an article in the Wall Street Journal that, with regard to ads, “there’s good money to be made, but at what cost?”

Fortunately, Zillow has learned its lesson and now makes far greater use of its advertising potential. According to Rascoff, the change has paid off big. People who browse the site and use the app are three times more likely to contact agents than people who use the site on a traditional computer.

One agent in the aforementioned article, Scott Nordby, pays Zillow nearly $350 per month to ensure his ad appears when users search for a specific zip code in Denver. The result is an additional 150-180 inquiries per month from interested potential homebuyers. If even 1% of those referrals ultimately use Nordby as their agent, his commission would easily cover the modest mobile advertising cost.

Key Takeaway

When buying mobile ad space, weigh the pros and cons and determine how your ad will be integrated. Steer clear of old-fashioned banner ads where possible. Look for ways to position yourself as a helpful authority rather than a needless distraction. Partner with key leaders who have invested in their mobile ad platforms in ways where your brand adds to the product rather than looking like an afterthought.

Full Page Ads Step into Unfamiliar Territory


Expedia leverages full-page ads to promote hotels, tours, and other travel products.

There are some innovative ad platforms that can be either a huge boost to business or a massive disappointment. One such example is full-page ads. Companies such as National Geographic and Expedia pay up to $1.50 per click to reach users through their apps. These full-size images typically appear as the user is scrolling and interacting with the app.

According to Christopher Daligault, senior vice president at Fotopedia (an app which leverages such technology), around 18% of users who see a full-size ad click on it. That compares with 1% or so of web users who interact with full-screen ads on their computers.

Not all companies have had this same good luck, however. After the launch of its ad-branded Kindle Fire HD, Amazon received numerous complaints from users who wanted the option to turn it off. After much hesitation, Amazon now offers the option to do so for $15.

Key Takeaway

New and innovative mobile advertising is worth a look, but only when your product ties in closely with the platform. Look for ways to promote your offer without being overly sales-focused. Find ways to make users feel they are getting practical help, information, or entertainment.

Mobile Ad Networks Worth a Look

With this new medium gaining in popularity by leaps and bounds, it’s no surprise that a handful of mobile-friendly ad networks have cropped up to take advantage of tech-savvy surfers. Some of the largest and most highly recommended networks include:


Jumptap – One of the largest mobile advertising networks, Jumptap holds patents on many innovative types of mobile content monetization and targeting technology.

admob mobile network

AdMob – Google’s mobile ad service, AdMob integrates advertising within apps to let content publishers and app developers earn money and expand their reach.

tapit mobile ad platform

TapIt – A MaaS (Mobile-as-a-Service) network, TapIt includes hyper-local targeting and real-time bidding across a variety of publishing servers including AdBrite and Google.

The Final Word on Mobile Ads

Mobile advertising is finding its balance and preparing to stride forward with confidence. If you can discover ways of integrating your brand as a helpful add-on rather than an easily-ignored separate company that just happens to be marketing in that space, it’s a sure bet that more users will take advantage of your offer. Combine that with a mobile-responsive website design and you’ll be ready for all the inevitable evolutions that will transform mobile marketing today – and in the future.

About the Author: Sherice Jacob helps website owners increase conversion rates through responsive design and copywriting. To learn more, visit and download your free website conversion checklist and web copy tune-up, or follow @sherice on Twitter.

  1. Sam Christian Feb 18, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Hey Sherice,

    Thanks for the post, really interesting. Full page ads were news to me , $1.50 oer click sounds pricey, but I guess if full screen clicks result in 18% CTR vs. 1%, then it’s money well spent.

    I experimented with Tapjoy, (not mentioned above) to drive clicks and, therefore installs to our mobile app Wink. However, the best performing ad is by far on Facebook. Being able to offer Facebook users the chance to go directly to app store download from their timeline is resulting in much better click to install rates, (and that the user you are engaging is actually interested in downloading your app!)

    Where FB posts are concerned, we’ve found that using the smaller version of the image size defaults in the post actually results in a better CTR.

    Thanks again for the post Sherice, and to KIssmetrics for making it happen.


    • Hi Sam,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for sharing your insights about Facebook advertising! You really can’t beat their reach – mobile or traditional. Glad to hear it’s getting good results for you!

    • Amanda Simmons May 26, 2013 at 4:09 am

      Mobile marketing, by far, has surpassed all kinds of advertising and promotional activities with overwhelming ROI and instant responses. In recent months, almost all major companies have started switching to mobile marketing to promote their products, services and market presence. However, BUILDING A STRONG AND RELIABLE LIST is the key to success.
      It not only helps you effectively communicate with a large consumer base, but is also cheaper and faster than the rest of the traditional marketing such as television, radio and print media. Recent statistics demonstrates that approximately 5.3 billion people currently have subscriptions for mobile phones, and alone in Europe the total number of mobile phones are about one third of the world’s population. The countries such as US and Japan have higher number of mobile subscribers than the population.

  2. Hi Friend Thank for your Excellent presentation for mobile marketing. Due to the advacement of mobile technology drive the maketing pattern toward mobile mode. Billions of people have been using mobile phone and many mobile phone users handling smart phone. It helps to get quick access of market and people get quick information about product and services.

  3. burglar alarm Feb 27, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    I am unsure what I was entirely reading but I have learned some new facts here thank you.

  4. Hey Jacob !
    Very informational post. Admob sounds literally awesome.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pieter De Weirt Apr 18, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Hi Sherice

    I think your article would be even more inclusive if you added mobile apps next to responsive webdesign and mobile ads. In that way you would bring the whole story of mobile marketing, meaning that you use multiple channels to reach your target group and become successful in mobile. Apart from that I like the well-written article.


  6. Hi Pieter,

    Good point! I would have definitely included apps but didn’t want to make the article *too* long… You might be interested in reading “5 Mobile Apps that are Changing the Face of eCommerce”, an article I wrote for KISSmetrics’ sister site, Crazy Egg:

  7. Gabriel Ghavami May 15, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    All companies must become specialists in understanding the information requirements of customers. A great challenge facing companies in the mobilization process is to create a mobile presence. Today, most companies do not have a mobile identity or a mobile presence.
    A change of approach is needed, where the main objective should be to meet consumers’ expectations. Because the customer will expect to find information when using the mobile web, companies must adapt and make sure their mobile presence meets that expectation. Because smartphone manufacturers have created a need for instant satisfaction, and consumers are far ahead of big companies when searching for information.

  8. “Around 18% of users who see a full-size ad click on it. That compares with 1% or so of web users who interact with full-screen ads on their computers.”
    This is certainly an impressive insight! I also read that as many as 71 percent of the Smartphone users who come across TV commercial, or newspaper ad, make further search enquiry on their handset? The point is whether they find your mobile site or your competitors’


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