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Top 10 mobile advertising campaigns of 2013

This year, Macy?s, Ford and McDonald?s led the pack in big brands leveraging new types of mobile advertising that up the ante in mobile?s potential to propel brand awareness and revenue streams.

The most innovative uses of mobile advertising in 2013 centered around add-ons or alternatives to banners, signaling a significant drop-off in brands solely allocating budgets towards standard display ads. In particular, marketers stepped up their campaigns in the second half of the year with new forms of rich media, social media integration and behavioral data.

Here are the top 10 mobile advertising campaigns of 2013, in alphabetical order.

Campbell Soup Co. ties personalized ad buys to in-store sales lift in new pilot
Consumer packaged good brands kickstarted mobile efforts this year after being seen as a slow-moving industry in the past. 

One of the main goals behind the increase in mobile spend from CPG brands is to tie a mobile advertisement to a consumer?s past purchasing behavior, which Campbell?s did in March for its Pace brand.

Campbell?s used a new mobile advertising platform with Catalina Marketing to examine how brand advertising translates into in-store sales. The initiative leveraged shopper data to work around the lack of a mobile cookie and deliver personalized mobile ads.

The Campbell?s campaign highlights the efforts that many CPG brands may put into motion in 2014 to measure mobile?s impact in driving sales and influencing a shopper in real-time while in a grocery store.

Fiat sees 80pc completion rate for video in rich media ad
Fiat was one of many brands that harnessed video and rich media this year for a campaign that supported the launch of the four-door Fiat 500L.

The automaker worked with Jumptap to run interstitial ads for both smartphones and tablets. The ad included a photo gallery, a 360-degree view of the car, a feature that swapped out the color of the car, a video and a location-based dealership finder.

To unlock the ad, consumers had to drag the car across the screen with their finger.

Jumptap claims that the 80 percent completion rate of the Fiat campaign is double the industry average.

The increase in short-form video from apps such as Instagram and Vine this year is fueling consumers? appetite for video content, and Fiat?s campaign is an example of how marketers are increasingly making video a core part of mobile campaigns.

Ford Fiesta sees 8.76 CTR with CAPTCHA alternative campaign
Ford spiced up its mobile advertising this year with a campaign that played off the traditional CAPTCHA verifications that publishers and Web sites use to check if a user is a human.

The campaign is running through 2013 on 3,200 of Are You Human?s sites. In November, the campaign was generating an average interaction time of 8.2 seconds.

Ford?s mobile CAPTCHA ads ask consumers to pack up a Ford Fiesta or drive the car by dragging it with a finger.

As mobile traffic continues to grow for publishers, an alternative to the typical CAPTCHA is an interesting way for Ford to engage with consumers.

Hershey?s Scharffen Berger tests homescreen mobile ads for brand-building
Hershey?s Scharffen Berger was one a few different brands to test a new type of ad unit this year that takes over a mobile device?s homescreen.

Scharffen Berger worked with mobile application Locket to promote a wine and chocolate tasting with 12 different ads. Each time that a consumer opened up their mobile device, they were served a different ad.

Consumers who downloaded the Locket app could make the app their default lock screen and then choose to interact with ads or swipe them away.

Homescreen ads played a big role for marketers this year in grabbing consumers? attention outside of basic banner ads that only take up a portion of the screen. Although these types of ads are difficult to scale, they can be an effective alternative for brand advertisers looking to run full-page creative.

JackThreads ramps up mobile retargeting strategy to capture holiday sales
Daily deal site JackThreads ran a mobile retargeting advertising campaign this fall that targeted consumers who had downloaded the retailer?s app.

The retailer followed users that browsed, searched or added an item to a shopping cart but did not checkout.

Consumers were then served mobile ads within apps such as Pandora and The Weather Channel with creative relative to their in-app activity.

JackThreads worked with ActionX on the campaign. ActionX claims that click-through rates on these types of ads are two to three times higher than a typical mobile ad. With marketers increasingly looking to make the most of a banner ad, pushing personalized offers through creative is an creative way for retailers to drive app retention and ultimately sales.

JetBlue differentiates mobile ad efforts via voice recognition
JetBlue was the first brand in the United States to leverage a new voice-activated ad this year.

The airline and mediahub/Mullen partnered with Mobile Theory on the ads, which appeared as collapsed ads within mobile sites and apps.

When consumers clicked on the ads, they were prompted to learn how to speak like a pigeon, and they could speak a sentence into the microphone of their mobile device. Once two full sentences were completed, a virtual medal was given to consumers and they had the option to replay the game.

Up until recently, the focus on alternatives to banner ads has focused on playing up touch interactions such as rich media. However, voice can also be appealing for marketers that want to make mobile ads more interactive.

Macy?s nails interactive ad campaign to strengthen mcommerce strategy
Macy?s continually tests new ad units to drive in-store traffic and online sales, and in September the retailer ran an interactive mobile game that incorporated word recognition to promote a one-day sale.

The retailer?s ad included a built-in game that asked consumers to type in words such as ?bag? and ?shoes? that were associated with Macy's merchandise. 

When consumers clicked on the ad, they were directed to Macy?s mobile site where the sale was promoted.

By mixing a game into its ad, the goal behind the campaign was to ultimately drive traffic to and sales from Macy?s mobile site by first building brand awareness through word association.

McDonald's beefs up mobile social ads on Facebook with rich media
Similar to Macy?s, McDonald?s is a brand to constantly watch in the mobile advertising space since the QSR regularly taps mobile to get the word out about promotions and new products.

In October, McDonald?s launched its first mobile ad campaign that marries rich media and social media. Rich media mobile ads were placed in Facebook and Twitter mobile apps and the National Football League mobile site.

A bigger campaign around the launch of McDonald?s Mighty Wings featured NFL quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick as culprits who may have stolen the wings. Via the mobile ad, consumers could learn more about the seven suspects who were accused of stealing the wings.

The ad also pulled in a store locator feature so that consumers could find a restaurant to try the Mighty Wings.

Now that QSRs have established a solid presence in using mobile advertising to drive foot traffic, the next big push for many of these companies is to pump up the creativity around store locators with fun and interactive ads.

Pinkberry drives in-store product launch trial via mobile advertising
Frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry launched a location-based ad campaign that served up mobile coupons to lure nearby consumers into stores in April.

The ads ran within the Pandora iPhone app with creative that showed consumers how many miles away they were from a Pinkberry location.

When clicked on, a landing page presented an offer for $1 off of a greek yogurt product. The landing page also included directions and a click-to-call option.

The coupon was redeemable by showing a screen grab of the ad at the point-of-sale.

As marketers increasingly look to make mobile ads more contextual and relevant to consumers, location and targeted data has been one of the biggest growth areas in the industry this year.

Taco Bell flaunts Happier Hour campaign through interactive iAd push
Taco Bell betted big on mobile advertising to drive in-store traffic this year with a campaign to promote drink discounts.

In April, Taco Bell ran an iAd as part of the marketing push behind Happier Hour when consumers could buy Mountain Dew Baja Blast Freeze drinks for $1 from 2 to 5 p.m.

The brand?s interactive advertising campaign included location and time-targeted calendar reminders and the ability to send animated emails that reminded consumers about the promotion.

Driving traffic to a location is the ultimate goal of all QSRs, and Taco Bell?s campaign with multiple calls-to-action shows the variety of options that marketers have in helping pushing a consumer into a store.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York