Facebook has announced that usage of its mobile app has increased 22% in the last 12 months. The social media giant said that an average user will check in 10-15 times a day. With the weather being so unusually hot at the moment it is likely that the mobile usage figure will be even higher as we spend more time outside and away from our PC’s and laptops. It is a sign of how much our society is being shaped by smartphones that we are prepared to drive for a couple of hours to “get away from it all” out in the country and then when we get there start posting pictures and tweeting about it.
Mobile advertising has yet to produce a clearly defined business model that is successful with click through rates on mobile being lower than those on desktops. One problem that I see with mobile advertising is that generally users are more concerned with bandwidth usage than they are on desktops. The user often has a particular intention when using the mobile internet and they have little interest in being distracted by an ad that will often lead to a page that has not been optimised for mobile use.
A mobile user is often out when they are using the internet and those users have a reason that they are out, be it work, social or sporting activity. This is their primary interest at that time, they are using social media to add to the occasion, thus an ad has to distract the user not just from their online activity but also the user’s offline activity at that moment. This means that an ad is going to have to offer something really compelling to draw the user to it.
So who could run a compelling ad? Local businesses could possibly take the best advantage of this kind of advertising. Let’s say that I visit a friend on the other side of Blackburn for a barbeque and when I get there I decide to take a photo of the fun and upload it to Facebook. When I open Facebook I might be interested in a butchers that has a special offer on barbeque foods. Or how about a local shop that is selling discounted ice cream? These are the sort of impulse buys that might tempt me.
One of the beauties of social media advertising is that you can create a campaign in a matter of minutes and generally it will be running within 24 hours. So there is nothing to stop a company that is on the coast in Blackpool, Lancashire running an ad saying that they sell buckets and spades and are right on the sea front. All those users that are updating Facebook to say they are at the beach would see the ad. They could even put a special offer that would help them track how many customers had been tempted by the Facebook ad such as “buy four ice creams and get a free drink when you mention Facebook”.
The future of mobile advertising through social media has yet to really be defined, one of the factors that will define this future will be location based services. Online marketing for local businesses could become a compelling medium for many local businesses. They need to look at what they have to offer and when they can take advantage of particular events or occurrences to promote themselves.