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Seven habits of highly effective mobile ad campaigns in 2011

By Paul Cushman

Over the past few weeks, I have come across a gushing prediction or two about 2011 being the year for mobile advertising. 

In all seriousness though, where have these ?experts? been?  2010 was mobile advertising?s year. 

Faster network speeds, the growing penetration of smartphones and tablets, and the development of more engaging and relevant ad formats combined to drive growth in this space by as much 80 percent in 2010, according to industry research. 

Marketers paid attention too, reveling in apps, extending into Android and recognizing the need to maximize HTML5?s power. They know that brands need to be there to reach the consumers who are frequently turning to their devices to relieve what I like to call ?microboredom,? browsing the mobile Web while engaged with other media, and whose first connection to the Internet is now made in their kitchens two hours before work while drinking their morning coffee.

There?s no reason why mobile?s explosive growth should slow down this year and I wanted to share my suggestions on how marketers can more effectively integrate mobile into their advertising campaigns in 2011 to take the most advantage of its reach and capabilities. 

With a nod to Stephen R. Covey, here are the seven habits of highly effective mobile advertising campaigns:

1) Integrate: Mobile is a channel not a strategy.  Adding mobile into your online campaign as we?re seeing 59 percent of mobile Internet users sometimes visit a site on their mobile device and follow up on their PC.

2) Practice marketing basics: what?s the objective, the strategy, the audience, creative, success metrics and measurement and then think about channels and whether there is a fit for mobile.

Then consider what mobile can do (location!) instead of its perceived weaknesses (small screen!).

3) Build a mobile site. Seems obvious, but build a site before you build an app. And please, put device detection on your home page so that if they go there on their smartphone, you automatically deliver them a fast experience, designed specifically for mobile.

4) Start broad. Mobile brings new users in new ways, so open up and learn more. Mobile campaigns don?t necessarily mimic online campaigns so it?s important to cast a wide net and see what kinds of consumers are responding.

5) Use search and display correctly: 

   a. Search:  Keep it general, focusing on head and brand terms, since mobile searches are short.  Plan for typos, which are common in mobile.  Also, go big for the top position because most mobile search results pages have only one ad per page.

   b. Display: Provide a call to action since your potential customers are on the move.  Enable them to take an action by giving them the ability to place a call, locate a store, etc., and focus on impulse actions and put click actions on right of banner (people are more often right-handed).

6) Experiment, but know what it is you?re testing. A simple test matrix may teach you more, and cost you less than that way cool augmented reality pilot? unless your goal was a press release.

7) Keep it simple: at the end of the day, it?s a phone and you could always use more quality inbound traffic to call centers.

Paul Cushman is director of mobile sales strategy at Yahoo, Sunnyvale, CA. Reach him at .