Where do you go if you need to drive traffic to a mobile website or application?
You’re probably in need of a mobile advertising network.
This past year I looked at over 100 companies in my search to find low cost, targeted mobile traffic. One reason I had to look at so many companies, was that many of them claim to have a “mobile marketing platform” and it takes talking to a sales person in order to realize what they really do.
The conversations typcially went something like:
- Brook: “Do you have customers that I can advertise to?”
- Rep: “We have a mobile advertising platform! It’s great!”
- Brook “Again, do you have customers that I can advertise to?”
- Rep: “No, we actually don’t”
- Brook: “O.K., that’s all I needed to know”
Why didn’t your website say that?
My goal was to drive traffic to a mobile landing page, where users would click-to-call to sign up for Pinger (www.pinger.com). At the time it was a free, ad supported service, so I was focused on keeping costs low.
I had 4 criteria when evaluating mobile advertising networks:
- Self serve capabilities – wanted a Google Adwords like system
- CPC bidding – wanted to pay per click, not per impression
- Mobile traffic volume – needed significant traffic
- Partners in marketing – wanted mobile marketing expertise
Best in Class: Admob: 4 of 5 Stars
Self service: 5 of 5 stars
There are a lot of things I like about Admob. Their self service system is excellent. It took me about 15 minutes to set up my account and get a campaign rolling. I can set up new accounts and hardly ever have to talk to an account manager.
Here are the key things I can do on my own with Admob:
- Set up a new account
- Create a new campaign & ads
- Choose targeting (country, carrier, handset, and features)
- Turn ads off & on
- Budget by campaign
- Add additional funds
- Get reports by ad or campaign
Admob rocks when it comes to their self service system.
CPC bidding: 5 of 5
This one is simple. I can pay for clicks, not impressions. I’ve found Admob’s prices to be very competitive.
Traffic Volume: 4 of 5
Admob has sent us oodles of users. The reason I gave them only 4 stars, is that they are one of the most widely known companies, so at times you can lose out on traffic because bids/channels can get competitive. They also didn’t seem to have much Palm or BlackBerry traffic when I was running tests in the summer of 2008.
Partners in Marketing: 2 of 5
This is where Admob falls short. When I ask them marketing questions, I get very little collaboration. Although very helpful in a customer service sort of way, I have learned very little about mobile marketing from their team.
Excellent Partner: Decktrade: 3 1/2 of 5 stars
Self service: 3 of 5 stars
Decktrade has been a great find, although self service is not their strong suit. I think they are getting better, but at the time of writing this, I had to get help to set up new campaigns and to get reports on individual ads (impressions, clicks, and cost). The reporting piece really hampered our ability to use them when we needed to move quickly.
CPC bidding: 5 of 5
Again…I needed to pay by click…they had it. I found their pricing as competitive as Admob.
Traffic Volume: 3 of 5
Decktrade, like Admob sent us lots of traffic. One month it went right through the roof and generated our best CPA (cost per acquisition). I think they’ve done an exceptional job in growing their mobile traffic. Still only gave them 3 stars because when looking for iPhone traffic over the holidays, there was little to be found.
Partners in Marketing: 4 of 5
This is a big strength for Decktrade. I’ve had two account reps at Decktrade and both of them were very eager to discuss tactics, talk about what we were thinking, and added value to the process. While I wouldn’t call Admob for mobile strategy, I would definitely include Decktrade in the process. The one thing I don’t like is that they are a “blink network”, which means I don’t get to see which sites my ads are running on. Sometimes this limits the amount of optimization I can do.
Another Excellent Partner: Quattro: 3 1/4 of 5 stars
Self service: 3 of 5 stars
Quattro has what I would call a partially self serve model. I had to work through an account manager to set up a campaign and couldn’t change creative without submitting it to Quattro. They did have online reporting, but it was only at the campaign level, not the ad level. This is not their strength at this time.
CPC bidding: 3 of 5
Quattro views themselves as more of a premium network and with it came higher prices at times. This is not always a bad thing, especially when in combination with their marketing expertise.
Traffic Volume: 2 of 5
Quattro had traffic, but at the time I tested them, not to the volume level of Admob or Decktrade. That being said, it was enough traffic to make it worth my time. After testing, we continued to work with Quattro.
Partners in Marketing: 5 of 5
I really like Quattro’s account team. They ask the right questions, try to engage in the marketing strategy, and help where they can. For someone who is completely new to mobile marketing, they would be a great asset. When a campaign wasn’t working (ROI wise for example), they’d have several suggestions (beyond raising the cpc) of things we could test. Unlike Decktrade & Admob, Quattro is an open network, so I get a list of the mobile sites my ads appear on. This is a big plus when tweaking campaigns.
Companies I’ll keep testing, but didn’t make my list:
4info.net – SMS advertising, ROI was all over the map
Google – poor targeting and lack of traffic
Yahoo – low traffic
Medio – low traffic
1800Free411 – great to work with, but too expensive
Companies that I wanted to test, but wouldn’t accept CPC bids