Take Your Mobile Ads a Step Further: Tips to Create a Relevant Experience

How to find success by understanding French-speaking and English-speaking audiences

By Maude-Isabel Laferriere, AOL Canada

The extraordinary proliferation of smartphones over the past several years is leading us into a new generation of mobile advertising. For brands, it’s no longer enough to get people to see the ads they serve them on mobile devices. Rather, advertisers must focus on creating relevant experiences that people actually want to engage with. And the only way to accomplish this is by delivering creative messages that are tailored to the preferences of every single person who sees them.

At AOL Canada, relevant mobile advertising is a central part of our mission. While a great creative message remains a huge part of the equation, we know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all advertising strategy -- particularly in a country where brands must appeal to both French and English speakers. From our experience, marketers can have great success by understanding what drives their audiences to engage with content and by executing campaigns that take advantage of the unique environment of the mobile interface.

Here are a few tips we’ve learned from building relevant mobile ad experiences for some of the country’s biggest brands:

Understand the roots of engagement.

Before you can deliver relevant advertising, you need to understand why someone would want to engage with your ad in the first place. In our recent Content Moments study, we sampled more than 32,000 online consumers to uncover the circumstance in which people interact with content. What we found is that there are eight universal motivations for engaging with advertising content. If your mobile ad experience doesn’t help people meet at least one of the following needs, chances are that it won’t be very effective.

  1. Inspire: Looking for fresh ideas or something new.
  2. Be in the Know: Staying updated or finding relevant ideas.
  3. Find: Seeking answers or advice.
  4. Comfort: Seeking support or insight.
  5. Connect: Learning something new or being part of a community.
  6. Feel Good: Improving mood or feeling relaxed.
  7. Entertain: Looking for an escape or a mental break.
  8. Update Socially: Staying updated or taking a mental break.

Cater to your specific audience.

Of course, your mobile ad can’t just give someone a reason to engage with it -- it has to be the right reason, for the right user, at the right moment. For instance, a funny branded video might be the perfect thing to show someone who’s looking to be entertained, but it’s not going to land with a consumer who’s in the Find mindset seeking answers or advice. Part of matching the right message to the right content moment lies in understanding who your audience is and what their consumer habits are. This is especially important for Canadian advertisers hoping to communicate across French-speaking and English-speaking audiences.

For instance, our study revealed that French Canadians spend the most time in the Entertainment moment, as compared to English Canadians who are most likely to be in Inspire mode. Meanwhile, French Canadians are twice as likely to use tablet devices to consume content than their English speaking counterparts. Conversely, English Canadians are 14% more likely to use smartphones.

For brands, the key is to take these differences into account as they plan their campaigns. As an example, a sporting goods brand might show French Canadians a tablet ad containing an entertaining listicle about the worst hockey trades of all time. That same brand might then choose to show English Canadians a smartphone ad inspiring them to try out a new sport they’ve never played before. No matter what, a compelling experience requires brands to pinpoint who they’re talking to and what they want.

Mobile is your friend, especially when it comes to location data.

One of the most effective ways to create a relevant mobile ad experience is by taking advantage of the opportunities created by the mobile setting. Because people take their smartphones with them where they go, you can use geotargeting to show them a personalized ad based on where they are. In Quebec, we worked with a CPG company to serve mobile ads that presented users with a map pointing the way to the nearest store. What made this ad so relevant is that it combined mobile location technology with the consumer insight that French Canadians enjoy a particular product at a certain time of day. While these people were in a Find mindset in search of somewhere to purchase this information, our ads gave them the exact information they were seeking.

Beyond having a great idea, marketers need the right technology tools to build these kinds of location-based mobile experiences. One such technology is the iBeacon, an inexpensive transmitter that can detect nearby devices in order to show users targeted messaging inside merchandising areas and at point of sale displays and retail stores. Another is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), a small electronic device that helps marketers connect with people at events by providing a unique identifier for a specific tag, such as a wristband, card or app. And that’s just the beginning -- technologists around the world are hard at work building new tools to help advertisers create relevant connections with the public.

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Our new mobile-centric world is forcing brands to alter the formulas they’ve been using on desktop devices and traditional media channels. But at the end of the day, the rules for effective advertising are largely similar to what they’ve always been. In order to succeed, brands must work to understand the hopes, dreams, wants and needs of their target customer, and then deliver content that resonates with those desires.

By being respectful of the user’s best interests and intelligently implementing the right technology tools, marketers can rise above the mobile challenge and create lasting bonds with their target audiences. All it takes is a little bit of research and a willingness to put your consumer first.

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Tags: english, french, mobile, desktop, engagement, advertising, marketers