How to Attract a Relevant Audience for your Mobile Campaign

By Dale Carr, CEO and founder of Leadbolt

Most marketers can agree that one of the critical aspects of planning a campaign is reaching the most relevant audience for the product, service or app being promoted.  The pursuit of audience attention has changed significantly over the past 3 years, as audiences are now spending more time using their mobile devices than online.  Yet campaign strategies that work for online Web campaigns may not translate to a successful campaign on mobile.  Here are a few ways in which marketing to mobile audiences is unique, and the top considerations to bear in mind to ensure you reach the best-suited mobile audience possible and achieve a successful mobile campaign:

How to Create Profitable Mobile Apps

The mobile environments: Apps vs. Mobile Web 

We already know smartphone usage has surpassed desktop, but where are mobile audiences spending the most time within their devices?

Recent data revealed that 89% of our mobile media time is spent using apps, versus just 11% using mobile web.

Bear in mind that the lion’s share of this in-app activity happens in select social media and messaging apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, yet Game Apps still represent a significant portion of our mobile media time at 15 percent, and Utility and Productivity apps comprise a combined 12 percent of the category pie.  This data confirms our obsession with mobile app usage and makes a strong case for running an in-app mobile ad campaign.

To be fair, there’s room for both mobile web and in-app campaign placements in this competitive mobile advertising market – but a CPI (cost per install) campaign performs especially well when placed across targeted app environments.  CPI is also an efficient buying method because this means that an advertiser pays only when a user downloads the advertised app.

Smart Targeting

Apps and mobile devices collect a lot of useful data about audiences.  Marketers can choose between a broad strategy using general demographic targeting parameters such as age, gender, location, device type, or employing a more advanced strategy to attract users according to specific interests and past mobile activity.  If you are able to define specific success metrics for your campaign up front, it’s possible to set the ad-serving algorithms to achieve those goals.  For example, say you need to attract the type of users who return to the app by Day 2.  Or say you want to bring in users that routinely complete advanced levels within an app.  Knowing these types of desired user profiles are helpful to your network, who can work to achieve those specific goals.

Most importantly, and especially for marketers of apps running CPI campaigns, the goal should be to focus on acquiring QUALITY new users, rather than reaching sheer volume.  Doing so is paramount to the success of the campaign, and the long-term health of the app being promoted.

The reality is that while it may take weeks to set-up and drive the budgeted amount of installs, it will take only seconds for those new installing users to abandon or un-install the app if they are not quality users to begin with.  Taking measures to understand what type of users are the high-quality MVPs, and specifying your goal with your ad network partner at the beginning of your campaign set-up process will not only save time and resources, it can achieve the quality users that matter!

Mobile Ad Formats

There are many mobile ad formats to consider when designing a campaign.  We’ve spent considerable hours comparing performance among the many ad-types offered in the mobile ad tech business, and stand behind these proven ad formats:

Native Ads:

No one likes to be disrupted while using the most personal platforms in our lives – our mobile devices.  In order for ads to be accepted, they must be presented in a manner that complements the user’s experience, or at the very least, does not interrupt their app flow.  Mobile Native Ads allow beautiful, discreet campaigns from advertisers to fit seamlessly and elegantly into the unique form, function, design and user flow of their apps.  Users can move throughout the app and engage with the ads on their terms by opting to view or click.  When an app user clicks on the ad, there’s a great likelihood that this user is genuinely interested in the ad – and these quality audiences are the advertising jackpot!  Native ad campaigns please advertisers because they deliver high-quality, high lifetime value users, while app owners maintain the quality of their app and deliver an interrupted experience that keep their users engaged and returning to the app.

Check out the Native Mobile Advertising Look Book 2016 to see sample native campaigns.

Video Ads:

Video has the ability to captivate and draw in audiences viscerally.  In just 15 seconds, viewers can feel the senses of sound, motion and storytelling to connect emotionally with an ad. A great mobile video ad can inspire an instant feeling – a sense of adventure, the thrill of a chase, the satisfaction of victory – and motivate a viewer to click.

Rewarded Video Ads:

Imagine all of the benefits of a video ad, with an added benefit offered to the user!  With rewarded video ads, the user is rewarded with special in-app perks in exchange for watching the video ad.  Depending on the developer’s integration into their game or app, users can receive rewards such as an extra life, coins or points for spending, or even access to reserved areas inside the app.  Rewarded video ads are a great way to win a user’s undivided attention, and demonstrate that the marketer values their time.

Before we go, don’t forget a few golden rules when designing your mobile ad creatives:


While it’s tempting to re-purpose online Web creative for mobile use, there are practical considerations to think about when designing for mobile, such as how we hold our devices, that may impact the layout or configuration of your ad design (e.g., horizontal or vertical?). Additionally, customizing a campaign for mobile means removing disruptions such as Flash creative, sliders, Lightbox image galleries and removing modal pop-ups and required log-in for entry to a mobile site.

Keep it Minimal

Avoid accidental clicks with a “less is more” philosophy.  Keep text short, and leave plenty of space between the text and button or link.

Test It

Do take the time to view your ad in its intended mobile environment.  Click the buttons, go through the install process and experience for yourself what the user will experience.  Only by testing can you ensure that a potential user will experience a trouble-free ad from beginning to end – one that you would enjoy yourself.

What are Demand Side Platform (DSP) Mobile Networks?

Over the past several years two of the hottest trends in all of digital marketing have been mobile ads and demand side platforms (DSPs). With that in mind, it is easy to see why mobile demand side platforms have become so successful, and gotten so much attention recently. If you aren’t already using this powerful combination, it is important to get a good understanding of what exactly it is and where you can turn take advantage of it.

DSP Mobile ad network

What are Demand Side Platforms?

When looking at digital advertising, a demand side platform is a system that is used to help manage multiple different ad exchanges through a single interface. This interface will allow you to engage in real-time bidding for multiple types of ads.   You can also use the platform to optimize your campaign based on a variety of performance indicators such as cost per click, cost per action, click through rate and more.

Naturally, demand side platform mobile advertising networks would be any DSP that is focused on mobile advertising. Thanks to the advancements in mobile over the past couple of years, you can get virtually all of the benefits found with traditional display ads and apply them to a mobile platform. It is important to keep in mind, however, that mobile has several additional indicators that can be factored in when optimizing your campaign. For example, you can optimize based on the geographic area, the type of device being used (smart phone vs. tablet) and even the mobile OS (iOS vs. Android).

When combined, you will be able to quickly and effectively adjust your mobile advertising campaign through your demand side platform to get the best possible results. In order to get the best options possible, you will need to take some time to make sure you are using the best demand side platform for mobile ad networks possible based on your specific needs.

DSP’s for Mobile Networks

The following are some of the top demand side platforms that specifically target mobile advertising. There are others available, and many of them do a good job. The important thing is to understand your goals, and determine which platforms are able to provide you with all the tools, information and other resources to accomplish those goals.

  • – One of the favorite Mobile DSP ad network for affiliates. Decisive is a self-serve mobile advertising platform that makes reaching customers on mobile devices simple.
  • SMAATO – Smaato is a global advertising company that bought out the popular AdsMobi platform back in 2013. This quickly allowed them to become a leading DSP for mobile advertising. They have successfully been growing that platform ever since.
  • Phunware – Like Smaato, Phunware has grown their DSP through acquisition. They acquired TapIt back in early 2013 for $23 million.
  • HumanDemand – This is one of the largest and fastest growing mobile demand side platforms. They work with hundreds of app developers and advertisers to provide a massive platform for their users.
  • StrikeAd – StrikeAd is a leader in programmatic advertising, and has been an innovator when it comes to mobile demand side platforms.

As mentioned above, there are many other demand side platforms that are either exclusively dedicated to mobile, or include mobile in their platform. The four listed above are among the largest and most popular, however, and are an excellent place to start for anyone who hasn’t yet taken advantage of this popular advertising option.