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Walmart's take on mobile video ads increases in-store sales

NEW YORK ? A Marketing Evolution executive at the Mobile Marketing Association's Mobile Location Leadership Forum emphasized why marketers need to think local, pointing to a video campaign from Walmart that was two times more effective on mobile than average as an example of how to successfully leverage location. 

During the ?Why All Marketing Is Inherently Local? session, the executive detailed how Walmart saw success through a video ad during which the brand shared a campaign airing on television and mobile, but altered the content for a native experience on the various platforms. The retailer focused on serving mobile users located nearby store locations through a sequence of videos instead of the same ad multiple times. 

"With Walmart we wanted to understand what drive foot traffic through mobile advertising," said Rex Briggs, founder and CEO of marketing evolution. "We were thinking about it in terms of marketing. 

"We know that these consumers have visited Walmart before," he said. "They are not at Walmart now, they are probably at home. 

"Can we deliver advertising to them to get them back into the Walmart store?"

Driving foot traffic 
Walmart was able to drive in-store traffic as well as sales by recognizing the differences between television and mobile in terms of how ad formatting should be. For instance, the video advertisement aired nationally on television and the same ad appeared frequently in the same places. 

However, on mobile instead of the entire video running again and again, it ran in segments with each sequence telling another piece of the story every time the user viewed it. This method is much more effective on mobile, as users are more focused and tuned in to their experiences rather than on television, where consumers are likely to leave the room or fast forward during commercial. 

Television viewing habits make higher ad frequency more effective, but user behavior on mobile means that the same strategy can cause negative sentiment. 

Mobile effectiveness
Mr. Briggs also detailed how with Coca-Cola, it saw that mobile video was 6.5 times more effective than mobile display ads. While these advertising rates are more expensive, the rise of mobile video viewing is proving that it is worth it. 

Brands should be thinking about marketing on a local level rather than national. If a marketer shares a mobile ad with consumers in area that shows it is more likely to purchase at a specific retailer such as Walmart, it makes much more sense to target ads towards them. 

"For television the odds are that the first time the advertisement is playing, even though that person may be in the room they might not be paying attention to it," Mr. Briggs said "So we relay the message a second time and a fourth time, and so you can repeat frequency. 

"But for mobile devices, because we pay more attention and it is more on-demand, we are much more focused and we are paying much more attention to it," he said. "Therefore is has a much more of an impact and it is also means that we do not need to repeat it. 

"When we do repeat it, people already saw it that message and they already have it. We should be leveraging it by changing the message for the digital frequency, and that is going to be more effective."