Mobile is different. The mobile advertising companies that are the most successful realize that people use their mobile devices differently than they use their notebook and laptop computers. Exploiting those differences has generated significant buzz, fans and revenue for a handful of innovative companies.
When coffee giant Starbucks says it’s all about the line, they’re not talking just about the bottom line: they mean the line their customers stand in to buy coffee. People will wait only so long for a $4 coffee purchase, and the company’s mobile payment apps are designed to keep the coffee queue moving. Starbucks uses time- and location-based technology to integrate such apps as Square Wallet and Passbook with the lock screen on their customers’ smartphones and tablets. Cutting-edge developments such as digital tipping, available this summer, explain Starbucks’ success as a mobile leader, with mobile payment transactions topping 70 million since January 2011.
American icon Buick didn’t rely on users to download its mobile scholarship program app, “Buick Achievers.” The automaker partnered with Verizon and other content publishers to run on their mobile sites. Thanks to a partnership with Verizon, which preloaded the scholarship app on new iPhones, the scholarship program was one of the first ads consumers saw when they powered up their new devices. Buick also advertised with such publishers as Words with Friends and Pro Football Weekly to raise awareness of the brand and the program, which offers scholarships of up to $25,000 per year to college students.
Most New Yorkers get around on foot, and they rely on hourly weather forecasts when deciding whether to take the subway or stay above ground. Tiffany jewelers leveraged Gotham City’s obsession with walking and weather by partnering with the Weather Channel’s mobile site to create a marketing campaign that displayed a SoHo logo made up of Tiffany jewelry. Users tapped the logo to get location-based walking directions to the nearest Tiffany store using Google maps.
Snacking while watching TV is a great American pastime that this casual dining chain took advantage of by running promotions for its frozen snack food line on the TV Guide mobile app. While consumers use the TV Guide app to set watch lists and alerts for their favorite programs, T.G.I. Friday’s encourages them to “be a star” and pick up frozen buffalo wings and cheese sticks. The campaign raised awareness for the chain’s casual dining restaurants and its heat-at-home products.
According to Google, 50 percent of mobile users using search on their tablets and phones are looking for local businesses. While big business is capitalizing on mobile usage, local restaurants and shops are leveraging opportunities to harvest the low-hanging fruit and bring consumers in from the sidewalk to the store. It’s easy to click the “skip this ad” link on laptop and notebook screens, but mobile users on the go may be more likely to view content from mobile advertising companies because it’s easier to watch an ad than it is to close it.