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Do Mobile Ads Work? | Paid Media Expertise

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With an increasing number of people shopping, using apps, or browsing the web from their smartphones, mobile advertising is on the rise. If you haven’t already delved into mobile advertising, now might be the time. Read on to learn more about mobile ads, how they’re different from traditional online advertising, and whether they might be a good choice for you.

Does Mobile Advertising Work?


Mobile advertising comes in several forms. Choosing which types work for your business depends on your audience, location, budget, and the products or services you offer.

Web Mobile Advertising

Mobile web ads are takeovers – either banners or embedded – and they’re the most prevalent type of mobile advertising. While easy to serve, web ads are very ineffective over time, not very targeted, and mostly ignored and loathed by mobile users.

In-App Ads

These ads exist in the client’s currently developed apps. They allow for collection of valuable customer information via social authentication or sign-up forms. Over time, in-app ads should prove most effective. This is because access to customer information can really increase the likelihood that customers will interact with the ad. Here is a list of all of the advantages that come with mobile apps!


Voiceover ads are essentially “radio” advertisements that you hear when listening to the non-premium versions of Pandora or Spotify. They also appear on fitness apps like RunKeeper. Because they’re embedded into the medium, users are forced to listen to voiceover ads. In the case of fitness apps, the user hears ads at milestones, such as the 1-mile mark of a run.

This type of advertising is targeted to location and usually fairly relevant to users, though not as relevant as an in-app ad. Since they are unavoidable, they prove to be an effective form of mobile advertising.

Mobile Video

Video on smartphones and tablets is one of the fastest-growing sub-categories of mobile advertising, owning over 10% of all online video. It’s no secret that people love watching and sharing videos. Video ads are more engaging and better geared toward telling a story. When creating video ads, brevity is key. Platforms like Vine and Instagram have strict time limits (6.5 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively), and that has proven to be vital to their success. Capturing a user’s attention within the first few seconds of a short video is the best way to encourage conversions.


Text/SMS is one of the only mobile advertising types that reaches ALL mobile phone users and not just those with access to smartphones. Because of this, it still remains a very powerful way to reach an audience, even though the technology has been around for 20 years.

The expected value from the end user is often much higher with text thank with other forms of mobvile advertising. This type of ad is best when used in conjunction with mobile social or in-app advertising in order to drive further engagement.

Social Networking

68% of Facebook use, 86% of Twitter use, and 98% of Instagram use takes place on mobile devices. Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, and Snapchat are almost all mobile now as well. Social network advertising allows for more discrete targeting (especially on Facebook). Plus, it places more responsibility on advertisers to have more relevant and creative ads (particularly on Twitter and Instagram) that users will engage with.


Discovery tools like Google Places, Yelp, and Foursquare have become critical to both business travelers and regular travelers alike. Yelp has 53 million reviews and 120 million unique monthly visitors, and Foursquare has 45 million users and one of the largest databases of user-generated geo-location in the world. Because of these large bases of users, as well as the ability to track a user within a 5-yard radius, mobile advertising using location-based apps is a tremendous asset to the mobile advertiser.

Mobile devices and usage have grown exponentially in the past few years, and mobile advertising is beginning to proliferate across several different channels. Mobile offers more opportunities to reach audiences in a meaningful way by offering more discrete targeting, a more personal advertiser-user experience, and an ability to know the location of a user and what time they are there.

Advertisers need to have a heightened awareness that this is a more personal experience, so customers’ privacy and delivering highly relevant ads are especially important. Mobile advertising should in no way be treated like traditional advertising. The stakes are higher in mobile, since there is far less real estate and because factors such as battery life must be considered as well.  If done correctly, with these considerations at the forefront of your mind, mobile advertising could be a path to success for your business.

If you are looking for an agency to help you get started with mobile advertising, download our ebook,and learn how to properly find and evaluate the right paid media agency for your business!