4 Challenges of Using Mobile Advertising in Your Local Media Mix

local media mobile strategy

The challenges you should consider before placing your next local mobile campaign.

Usage of mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, continues to grow, and many advertisers are struggling to find a way to include the tactic in the mix.  Some try to re-purpose their online strategy, but mobile brings its own set of marketing challenges.

1. Unable to Include Behavioral Targeting

Data collected by third-party cookies is critical to serve a behaviorally targeted campaign, which has become an important targeting option for local advertisers.

The ability to serve an ad to someone in the market, for your product, reduces the amount of wasted impressions and increases the click-through rates, thus, increases ROI of the campaign.

Unfortunately, third-party cookies are not allowed on most mobile devices, eliminating the opportunity to serve a campaign based on behavior.

2. No Consistent Measurement

Not having a standard metric in place, to gauge the success of mobile, makes buying the medium very difficult.  Some buyers and publishers are still focusing on the click-through rate, like they would for an online campaign; however, reports show this metric is not accurate.

According to a study by Trademob, 40% of mobile ad clicks are either accidental or fraudulent.  These clicks also yielded a conversion rate for click-to-download of below 0.1%.

3. Unable to Include Rich Media

Online advertising is supposed to be all about engagement.  And, thanks to rich media units, you can focus on the time spent with the ad or give the user the ability to convert right in the ad unit, eliminating the need to click-through.  These units depend on a stable Internet connection.

When advertising on a desktop platform, it is assumed a user has a reliable and steady connection.  Unfortunately, those on a mobile device could be using anything from Wi-Fi, 4G or 3G, which all vary in speed and quality.  This creates an issue using rich media in mobile.

The inability to include rich media in the campaign is a step back for advertisers, especially for those advertising in the mobile version of a print publication.  Tablets were supposed to take print ads to the next level.

However, most people are downloading the publication, in order to consume the content without a data connection, which yields your interactive ad useless.

4. More Users Rely on Apps

According to a recent report by Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in mid-2011, for the first time consumers began spending more time on mobile apps, which is great for makers of apps, but another challenge for advertisers.

This fragmented mobile environment makes it more difficult for advertisers to reach their target audience.  Instead of identifying a publisher that fits the campaign and the demo, advertisers need to evaluate if the budget is better spent on ads in the branded app or on mobile web.

If you choose to purchase inventory in a publisher’s app, like the local newspaper or television station, you will likely find long-term sponsorship packages.   There are mobile ad networks that will sell app inventory similar to those selling online or display impressions, but without the ability to behaviorally target, it is difficult to make an effective buy and increase the campaign ROI.


Shelby Nichols

About Shelby Nichols

Shelby is Director of Digital Media at Sheehy, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. With close to 15 years in the industry she has planned and purchased a wide range of media and has a passion for all things digital.


  1. Piyush Aggarwal says:

    Couldn’t agree more with all the points above regarding mobile media marketing. these are arguably some of the challenges we are facing on a daily basis while interacting with all the global brands.

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