One or Many

Deploying the right mobile advertising techniques to put consumers on the path to conversion:

I am using my tablet or my smartphone. I am at home on the sofa or in transit. I have time for product research or am in the position to be inspired and make an immediate purchase.

These are just some of the options available to a marketer when considering the best way to communicate with a consumer on a mobile device. We should be paying special attention to how these mobile attributes interact with each other when campaign performance is tied to specific objectives. The concept of “One or Many” refers to a guiding principal that we often share with retailers based on what we have observed from mobile behaviors in the context of executing advertising campaigns. I’d like to share it with you.

An execution of “One or Many” requires that different offers and conversion methods are prepared for execution under each campaign umbrella. When deemed appropriate by the system’s real-time analysis, these will be applied automatically to maximize each consumer interaction.  Marketers should match the offer and conversion objective with a consumer based on understanding the interaction between device type, location, context, and engagement history. Showing a consumer using a larger device, when they likely have fewer distractions, “Many” products that can be viewed and compared to each other is often a good approach for leading someone to a higher priced purchase at greater margin. Conversely, if an engaged user is on a smaller screen device, with a likelihood of limited availability, he or she might be a good target for a single (“One”) discounted, lower margin product conversion if that offer were presented in the right context.

The art and science behind this approach of having alternatives for creative and offers prepared when purchasing media programmatically, using real-time bidding, can make sure that the decision to purchase access to the right consumer for a campaign is the right one. Identifying the right audience is just one step toward executing a successful campaign. It is just as important to match the right creative based on a variety of mobile-specific attributes to influence someone correctly. Making the decision to “convert” the right user for an email newsletter subscription after viewing a single product banner advertisement could actually be a good use of advertising spend even when compared to a product purchase.

As an industry we get excited about our ability to iterate and dynamically serve creative versions. Yet, the alternative of showing an entire catalog using rich media to someone who is on a small-screen device and not in position to evaluate the product options  is probably not the best use of resources. This will be the case, regardless if the consumer is presented products within context and is identified as someone who has engaged in this type of purchase path for similar products.

Given the intricacy we’ve come to understand about consumer behavior and paths, we as marketers are fortunate for the science as well as the automation. It’s essential that we focus our campaigns on productive, revenue generating conversion and not over-serve. And that means swiftly identifying the path a consumer is most likely to take for the most appropriate or valuable conversion, using discretion as we do so. This level of precise automated decisioning around how many and which options to serve will typically yield the best results. So, the discipline of One or Many is a good one to keep.

Aaron Epstein is the Vice President, Business Development at Voltari, a company that develops predictive analytical solutions for the mobile space. Voltari optimizes mobile advertising campaigns from the start, learns and improves automatically in real-time, and provides insights. Aaron oversees the introduction of new products to the marketplace — managing key relationships for the company, related to product development and new lines of business. Look for his post the fourth Wednesday of every month.