What Companies Must do to Prepare for Mobile Ads In 2017 Mobile marketing will be about connecting with your consumers on an interpersonal level.

By AJ Agrawal

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Petri Artturi Asikainen | Getty Images

When was the last time you checked your phone? When was the last time you looked at social media or an app on your phone? I'm guessing you answered with "a few minutes ago," or maybe at most, an hour ago. If so -- you're not alone. Americans spend over 10 hours a day on screens and about five of those hours are spent on their smartphones. Is your brand where your consumers are looking?

Related: Top 7 Reasons You Should Make Mobile Marketing a Priority

Marketers are definitely taking note of the shift in consumer habits, which has resulted in mobile advertising spending increasing a whopping 40 percent for 2017 (it increased 38 percent from 2015 to 2016). Those dollars are being wisely invested -- ecommerce is expected to make up 45 percent of online shopping by 2020, which justifies the shift in spending and labels it a requirement, not an extravagance.

But throwing money at mobile advertising isn't enough. It's important that, as a brand manager, you understand how mobile advertising works and what you can do to master it. Here are the main points you need to know to master mobile advertising in 2017:

Spray and pray is not acceptable

There's something so much more personal about a smartphone than a personal computer. We keep our smartphones on us at all times. We go to sleep with them and we wake up with them in the morning. Because of this, we think of our smartphones as a sort of extension of ourselves, which makes untargeted, impersonal advertisements for products we aren't interested in all the more repulsive.

The public has been desensitized to advertising on websites because of the disaster that was early-2000s online marketing. It's critical that we as marketers work together to make sure that those mistakes aren't repeated. Respect your audience's' time. Invest in making your ads relevant, valuable and interesting to consumers, instead of bombarding them with quantity and flashiness.

Related: Planning Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

Personalization is now easier than ever though, so don't be afraid. In fact, marketers are now able to reach their intended audience on mobile 60 percent of the time. That percentage seems impossible on desktop or traditional advertising, but is the norm for mobile advertising.

Create unique campaigns for your audience

As stated above, personalization takes on a whole new meaning when you start advertising on mobile. No only do you retain the control you see in Google Ads and Facebook Ads, but you add up-to-the-second locational data, which enables hyper-local outreach. While this benefit is obvious if you're, say, a local pizza restaurant or clothing store, it can be an asset to every business, as it lends context. For example, if you're an enterprise software company, you should probably avoid showing your advertisements to someone who is on the Las Vegas Strip on a Saturday night (unless there's a relevant conference being held there).

Save that campaign (and the click-through budget) for the next morning, perhaps when they're approaching a Starbucks.

Design advertisements for small screens

Being proud of saying you're "mobile friendly" is quickly approaching the equivalence of hotels that advertise that they have cable -- of course you are. If you aren't, why aren't you?

Besides making sure that your website is mobile friendly, it's important that you also design you advertisements to be viewed on small screens. That doesn't just mean shrinking down the ones you already have. Make sure the advertisements are still legible and clickable. An ad that looked beautiful on a full website or digital magazine spread will be completely illegible as an in-feed square piece.

Go native

The best kind of advertisements are, I think we can all agree, the ones that don't seem like advertisements. This is usually manifested as native advertisements, which are ads that are published on platforms and publications in the same format as the rest of their content.

However, it takes more than just buying the native ad placement. You must make it convincing. This means the advertisement needs to add value, aside from educating the consumer about a product. Pique their interest with beautiful pictures, offer free information and entice them. Highly valuable ads result in highly valuable customers.

Related: 3 Ways to Use Mobile Marketing to Keep Customers Coming Back

The core message I hope you take away from this piece is that in 2017, mobile marketing will be about connecting with your consumers on an interpersonal level. Your audience has no patience for excessive banner ads, flashy images or repetitive statements. Customers are looking for respectful, valuable and entertaining content, that looks great on every screen size. While this seems a bit daunting, know that it's worth the budget. Consumers are itching to buy, you just need to give them a reason to.

AJ Agrawal

Founder of Verma Media

AJ Agrawal is the founder of Verma Media, a marketing agency that focuses on emerging tech, like blockchain and AI, and on cannabis companies.

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