What is mobile advertising, and how can it help your business?

Pair of hands using a mobile phone

Mobile devices have become a critical part of many consumers’ lives. More than 5 billion people use mobile devices daily, according to GSMA Intelligence, which specializes in mobile industry insights, forecasts, and research.1 Usage is also increasing with the number of mobile devices in operation worldwide expected to reach 18.22 billion by 2025, which is an increase of 4.2 billion devices compared to 2020 levels, according to Statista.2

Knowing that mobile devices are an important part of consumers’ lives, this is an opportunity for marketers to learn about mobile advertising and how it can help brands grow their businesses and reach potential customers. In this educational guide, you’ll learn what mobile marketing is and some ways brands are using it to connect with audiences.

What is mobile marketing and advertising?

Mobile advertising is a multichannel marketing strategy to help marketers reach audiences on their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. As more consumers rely on mobile devices for their daily needs, they’ve started using their devices in recent years for activities beyond communication.

Nowadays, consumers are using their smartphones and mobile devices to shop for groceries, stream videos, listen to podcasts, and play games. In an effort to be where audiences already are, marketers are also thinking holistically about their advertising strategies and creating omnichannel engagement by developing mobile strategies to help them reach and engage mobile users.

At its core, mobile advertising helps brands deliver messaging in real time to audiences through mobile ads. These mobile ads allow brands to help customers discover things like new product launches, deals, and promotions.

What are the advantages of mobile marketing?

An increase in mobile device usage has contributed to audience fragmentation as more people spend time across different digital channels. This means that many marketers need to develop advertisements that perform on mobile devices by engaging customers. By creating mobile-specific campaigns, brands have an opportunity of reaching audiences who engage in mobile activities in real time.

What are the benefits of mobile advertising?

Mobile advertising has some advantages that can help marketers. From timeliness for delivering brand marketing to connecting with a wider and more fragmented audience, here are a few benefits marketers can gain from developing a mobile advertising strategy.

Increaseing reach

1. Mobile advertising can help increase reach in real time

One of the advantages to mobile advertising is that it allows your brand to connect with your audience in real time. That’s because many consumers use their mobile devices on a day-to-day basis to interact with ad-enabled experiences such as shopping for groceries, livestreaming videos, listening to podcasts, or playing games.

According to a Statista survey conducted in February 2021, about half of US respondents said they spend five to six hours on their phone daily, not including work-related smartphone use.3 And 22% of respondents said they spend three to four hours on average on their phone daily.4 Mobile advertising can help your brand reach audiences where they already are and through devices they are already using.

Easy transaction

2. Mobile advertising makes transacting easier for shoppers

Thanks to advancements in the mobile shopping experience, mobile payments are now used by more than 1 billion customers, and that number is expected to climb to1.3 billion in 2023, according to Statista.5 And with mobile advertising, your brand may be able to reach these shoppers, helping them discover your product offerings and even potentially guiding them to a purchase straight from their mobile device.

With mobile ads, such as banner ads, in-app ads, video ads, you can help stay top of mind with your audience, you also can help remove the friction to purchase if customers want to use mobile payment options to make purchases.

Reaching audience

3. Mobile advertising helps create multiple touchpoints with audiences

Mobile advertising campaigns can allow your brand to reach audiences in a seamless way and help reach relevant audiences, no matter how they chose to engage with you.

Why are mobile advertising campaigns becoming more popular?

Mobile advertising campaigns are becoming increasingly popular because consumers are using mobile devices frequently. In 2021, mobile advertising spending reached a record $288 billion worldwide.6 This is an increase of 27% compared to 2020, according Statista.7 Based on their latest reporting and insights, Statista projects that mobile ad spending will be about $413 billion by 2024.8

How much does mobile device advertising cost?

There’s no clear answer for mobile device advertising costs because it can vary based on the type of campaign and mobile advertising you want to run, the format of the campaign, how it is delivered, and what audience you’re trying to reach. There are a few different pricing models that brands and their advertising partners can choose from when it comes to mobile device advertising. Some of these models include the following:

Cost per mille (CPM), a common way of paying for mobile ads, is the cost of 1,000 impressions for an ad. Popular social media companies use CPM pricing for their advertising model.

Another pricing model is cost per click (CPC), where the advertiser only pays when their ad creative is clicked. This model helps brands feel like they are paying for active engagement on their ad. For example, CPC ads are commonly seen on traditional search engine result pages.

Cost per action (CPA) is a third pricing model that goes deeper into the marketing funnel. This is when customers not only click on an ad, but they also take a desired action like downloading an app, registering for a newsletter, or purchasing a product. When customers take a desired action, the advertiser is charged.

Types of mobile ads

Mobile advertising provides a path for your brand to reach audiences who engage in ad-enabled activities through their mobile devices. It’s projected that global mobile advertising spending will reach $339 billion in 2023, according to Statista.9 Here are some popular mobile ad types that brands can use to reach and engage with audiences.

Banner ads

1. Banner ads

Banner ads use text like a headline and copy, and typically will appear at the top or bottom of web apps or mobile apps. This is a common type of advertising because it is cost-effective, simple to launch, and supported across multiple mobile devices.

In-app ads

2. In-app ads

In-app ads can be dynamic in nature, featuring animations and interactive capabilities. This can help your brand increase engagement with audiences. Brands pay to have their in-app ads featured in other mobile apps, and by doing this, they leverage the real estate of that mobile app. This can help increase the exposure of their brand message to a wider audience. Ultimately, ad buyers pay to display their ads within an app.

Native ads

3. Native ads

Native ads do not look and feel like traditional mobile advertising. Rather, they attempt to create an organic experience for audiences through design and functionality. These types of ads are designed to limit disruption for audiences and enhance their ad experience. This type of advertising can help promote more click-throughs and deliver a seamless experience for audiences.

Playable ads

4. Playable ads

Playable ads are commonly used for in-game apps. Users can interact briefly with a mobile app through this ad type. This type of advertising is growing in popularity because it helps users feel like they can play a game while interacting with an ad, thus extending the interaction period users have with an ad. Additionally, brands can use playable ads to help drive to a call to action (CTA), such as purchasing a game or subscribing to a newsletter.

Video ads

5. Video ads

Video is a powerful medium on mobile devices. In a 2020 survey, Statista found that 43% of US respondents watched video content on their mobile devices.10 Additionally, US adults spend about 15 minutes per day assessing video apps on their smartphone.11 As video content grows in popularity across mobile devices, brands are turning to video ads as a part of their mobile advertising strategy. Mobile video ads deliver video ads to users’ phones or other mobile devices. These videos ads include the following:

  • Instream video ads: These ads play before, during, and after audiences watch an online video.
  • Interstitial video ads: These video ads are like pop-up ads that appear as a short video clip that may cover the entire mobile screen of a user. Advertisers use this ad type to monetize on free-to-use apps.
  • In-app video ads: This ad type is like a native video ad that promotes your brand using in-feed videos on various social media. They can appear before sponsored videos as users are scrolling through their content feeds on social media apps.
  • Gamified video ads: These ads offer an interactive mobile experience, which can allow users to engage with an ad through a mini-game. These ads can lead to a high conversion rate, especially when the ad is entertaining or educational.

Examples of mobile advertising

Now that you’ve seen the ways mobile advertising could potentially help your brand, see how Amazon Ads has helped brands use mobile advertising strategies to grow their businesses.

Brita water

Brita campaign helps drive sales and increase mobile success on Amazon

Brita, a popular manufacturer of water filtration systems, worked with Amazon Ads to help drive awareness and sales of their pitchers with a cross-screen campaign in the Amazon store. Brita and Amazon Ads crafted a campaign, spanning onsite and mobile, that aimed to reach the pitcher’s most relevant audience. The campaign saw mobile metric success with enhanced cost-per-click (eCPCs) for mobile placements being extremely efficient for this campaign—66% less than eCPCs benchmarks for Home & Kitchen products on Amazon.12

Men, women in bed smiling at a dog

GhostBed builds business on and off Amazon using mobile advertising strategies

GhostBed—which specializes in luxury mattresses, bed frames, sheets, and pillows—worked with Amazon Ads to develop an awareness campaign to help introduce more shoppers to the brand and product offerings, and to help drive sales to GhostBed’s top-rated mattress in a box. The Amazon Ads team created a strategy to reach new audiences across multiple touchpoints like mobile devices and desktop by using a combination of Amazon Ads solutions like Sponsored Products, programmatic ads, and display ads on Amazon’s mobile app and Fire tablet.

Amazon Ads can help your brand create an enhanced mobile advertising experience for shoppers

Mobile advertising can be a powerful way to reach and engage audiences through their mobile devices. By using Amazon Ads solutions like Sponsored Brands, your business has the opportunity to connect with audiences by delivering a quality mobile advertising experience. In our testing, we found that on average, campaigns that used longer Sponsored Brands ads on mobile saw a 13% increase in click-through rate.13 Using solutions that are optimized for mobile devices can help you deliver the best advertising experience for your customers.

1 “The state of mobile internet connectivity report,” GSMA Intelligence, Global, 2021
2 “Number of mobile devices worldwide 2020-2025,” Statista, Global, 2021
3-4 “Average time spent daily on a smartphone in the United States 2021,” Statista, US, 2021
5 “Mobile payments worldwide: Statistics & facts,” Statista, Global, 2021
6-8 “Mobile advertising spending worldwide 2007-2024,” Statista, Global, 2022
9 Mobile advertising spending, Statista, Global, 2021
10-11 “Mobile video in the United States,” Statistics, US, 2021
12 Amazon internal data, US, 2021
13 Amazon internal data, US, 2019