In a world filled with so many forms of advertising, marketers are missing out by failing to invent engaging ways to activate consumers by enveloping diverse ad formats into one holistic campaign. It seems to me that mobile phones are being overlooked as a valuable component when, in fact, they’re the keystone in fitting together the many pieces of a holistic puzzle.
Just recently, I attended an outdoor sporting event and, as a marketer, I was compelled to evaluate the various digital advertising displays arranged around the field. My eyes fell upon one large digital marquee advertising a travel company: the digital banner ad displayed the company’s name, logo, but not much else. As we all basked in the neon light of the banner ad, I realized that the audience seemed oblivious to the ad. This suddenly struck me as a huge missed opportunity – a digital banner ad displaying a message to a massive captive audience, failing to capture their attention when, all along, the key to engaging with the audience was nestled in their pockets.
I’m talking about mobile devices, of course. Recent data  reveals that 91% of American adults have cell phones, and 56% have smartphones. In response, advertisers have become more and more invested in mobile advertising – The Search Agency’s 2013 Q2 report  reveals that mobile total spend and spend share has been on the rise over the past year. Google even updated AdWords to enhanced campaigns to make it easier for advertisers to manage their ads on multiple devices, with a specific focus on mobile devices! Now, mobile has become an essential piece of the puzzle in many advertising campaigns. An advertising campaign for any given business consists of a set of jumbled pieces that often don’t connect into a unified whole. Mobile, however, offers an opportunity to connect those pieces and engage with the brand.
So, how might the outdoor ad I saw that day be improved by this logic? For starters, try engaging your audience in the stands by including a call-to-action, such as asking them to send a text: “There’s more leg room on the beach! Text us your best relaxation photo to win $100 off your next trip with (brand name).” This is the perfect way to kill time during halftime or between innings and engage the large audience. The experience could even be customized, with a specialized landing page designed for that event or venue. At the end of the day, it’s about giving your outdoor campaign “wings” since mobile users abound. As a brand, if you’re already prepared to spend money on large-scale outdoor advertising, you should maximize the value of that space by getting consumers involved on their personal devices.
Let’s not forget, marketers: campaigns that are optimized for mobile users should try to collect bits of customer information in various ways; landing pages asking for an email in exchange for something of value to the user (downloadable coupons, maps, tips, guides etc.) or entering a phone number to receive push notifications on early deals before a sale opens to the public.
Potential consumers carry their mobile devices with them nearly all the time. This means that any advertisement they come across has an opportunity to extend brand engagement and sentiment onto their mobile devices. Outdoor banner ads should take advantage of their audiences and encourage them to engage with their brands using their respective mobile devices. Consumers armed with mobile devices are equipped to price compare, locate retail stores and more—don’t neglect an opportunity to empower a captive audience to interact with your brand.