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Personalized mobile banner ads: Does less mean more?

October 5, 2012


Although mobile banner ad personalization is important for luxury marketers, too much could be seen as invasive by affluent consumers. Therefore, using specific calls-to-action in mobile banner ads that allow opt-in engagement can help brands personalize future efforts.

Focusing on the correct time, place and environment in which to reach a target customer is of the utmost importance for luxury marketers. There is a correct usage of personal information that brands can use to drive clicks, transactions and engagement.

“There's a fine balance, not to mention technical challenges, when it comes to mobile personalization between privacy and relevance,” said Jarvis Mak, vice president of analytics at Rocket Fuel, Redwood Shores, CA.

“With a device as personal as a mobile device, location and the operating system/device is about specific as you want to get without crossing lines,” he said. “Beyond that, as a marketer, I recommend opt-in strategies for personalization.”

The best fit
There are a few ways that marketers can personalize their ads without going over the line.

For example, jeweler Tiffany & Co. used geo-targeted mobile banner ads in the Weather Channel mobile application to drive consumers to its new store in New York’s SoHo district.

Tiffany gives directions/distance to nearest store

Tiffany used the devices’ platform and GPS to determine how far away the actual store was from where consumers were at that moment (see story).

Also, Fontainebleau Miami Beach looked to engage mobile users and possibly scoop up a few mobile bookings with banner advertisements on The New York Times application for the iPhone. The summer-themed ad was released in July (see story).

However, some brands are not using enough personalization. In fact, the first step of banner ad personalization is optimizing for that specific device or channel and most brands do not do this.

For example, Salvatore Ferragamo did not personalize its mobile banner ad from a campaign last year.

Ferragamo ad was not optimized for mobile

The brand placed ads in the New York Times mobile app for the iPhone, but the ads used Flash to run. Flash cannot be seen on Apple devices (see story).

Banner act
Affluent consumers do enjoy a personal connection with luxury brands since they like feeling close to marketers and as if they are part of the brand.

That said, using names or other personal information in banner ads could be seen as too invasive. Brands should stick to opt-in channels such as SMS to drive personalization.

“I don't know that personalization is more important for luxury marketers than other marketers,” Mr. Mak said. “However, I do believe that luxury marketers have to be more careful with how they implement personalization since there is the potential for more back lash depending on perception of invasiveness.

“With a smaller, more loyal customer base, luxury brands are obviously keen not to alienate their customer bases,” he said.

Also, consumers react to specific calls-to-action. For example, Corcoran realty, Tiffany and Shangri-La used mobile banner ads on Apple devices that prompted users to download their respective apps through the App Store (see story).

Call-to-action to download the app

Marketers can use mobile banner ads as an excuse to build their email databases, learn more about consumers or share exclusive content.

Also, mobile commerce is at a high point.

According to comScore, 38 percent of U.S. smartphone owners made a purchase through their phones. Optimizing ads for mobile will increase the chance that users will enjoy the experience and, more likely, buy online or visit a store.

“Every brand knows there is value to building their database of customer email addresses,” Mr. Mak said. “So a luxury brand can also have a direct-response goal in mobile to gather phone numbers for texts, collect email addresses or download the lifestyle/content app.

“One way to personalize without crossing the line of invasiveness is using the location almost as an excuse to show an ad,” he said. “The best places for ads vary drastically by person, based on browsing behavior, time of day, message receptivity and a whole host of other factors.”

Final Take

Rachel Lamb, associate reporter on Luxury Daily, New York