We often talk about mobile marketing as a subdivision of digital marketing but it may be more accurate to say that mobile is its own separate kind of advertising. For years marketers have treated smartphones like mini computer screens. Digital marketing strategies that work on desktops and laptops, when scaled down for smaller screens, should work just as well on smartphones and tablets, right? The numbers don’t support this view. There are inherent differences in how we use mobile devices as compared to desktop or laptop computers and the strategies that work for one won’t necessarily work for the other. Here’s a look at some digital marketing strategies that aren’t working as well as a look at mobile strategies that are.

Mobile marketing don’ts

    • Banner ads. Banner ads are the advertisements that display along the top edge of a screen when you land on a webpage. They’re not extremely effective on desktops and laptops either but with mobile it’s much worse. The percentage of ads clicked on is actually higher on mobile because of slow loading times and less screen real estate leads to more accidental clicks (sometimes the banner ad will drop down right as the user is intending to click on something else towards the top of the page. These accidental clicks practically never lead to conversions and actually serves to annoy the user and bias them against all banner ads regardless of what they’re advertising.


    • Pop-up ads. Everything that can be said of banner ads can be said of pop-up ads as well. Most clicks are accidental and mobile users in particular hate them.


  • Pre-roll ads. Mobile users don’t have as much patience as desktop and laptop users, probably because they’re more likely on the go. As a result, few will sit through pre-roll ads. If there’s something they want to watch but it entails sitting through a 30-second or even 15-second video first, chances are they’ll move on to something else instead.

Mobile marketing do’s

    • Micro-content marketing. Marketers are starting to see the value in shorter-form content marketing. White papers, ebooks, and blog articles are all great channels for content marketing but quick Youtube clips, social media posts, and even text messages that offer valuable micro-content can be equally effective and for mobile users, even more effective because they’ll be more inclined to read a paragraph or a couple of sentences than to tackle a ten-paragraph blog article while on the go.


    • Gamification. Nearly one-third (32%) of the time people spend on mobile devices is spent gaming. No other activity accounts for a greater percentage of time spent on mobile devices (web browsing and social media come in second and third with 20% and 18% respectively). Mobile marketers can capitalize on this by incorporating gaming elements in their marketing strategy. Gaming elements might include accumulating points for performing actions like making purchases or “liking” a company’s Facebook page, contests where players can submit artwork or caption a photo or complete a survey to enter for a chance to win.


  • SMS marketing. It may be the oldest trick in the mobile marketer’s book but it still works and as long as it works, businesses should keep using it. For mere pennies per text, businesses can send text messages directly to customer’s phones (if they’ve consented) where almost all (98%) will be read by the recipients.