Mobile Targeting

By Jason Hawkins on October 8, 2013

mobile targeting ecommerce seo ppc

The ever-expanding usage of smart phones and mobile devices continues to create demand for more effective mobile marketing. Mobile users, who are far more likely to follow through on web searches, are more apt to use their phone to find information about a business, service, or location that they are interested in, making them a prime target audience for those and other related businesses or services. While circulating ads to as wide a population as possible will, in theory, bring some level of success in attracting curious consumers, more deliberate user targeting can help increase the efficiency of advertising. Using the right combination of mobile targeting and advertising methods, most businesses can gain a remarkable advantage.


How Mobile Targeting Works For SEO

Cookies have long been essential to internet marketing. By collecting and saving user data, HTTP cookies help webmasters and advertisers track and record information about site visitors, presenting great advantages in targeting certain ads to users based on their browsing activities. However, they are not compatible with mobile devices—meaning that targeting the growing percentage of mobile web users is a unique challenge.

Because webmasters cannot use cookies to track and target mobile users, other techniques and marketing practices have been developed to do so instead. Multiple methods of tracking and targeting the mobile user base have come into use, including behavioral targeting, location targeting, and device tracking, each of which has their own purpose.

Behavioral targeting entails displaying advertisements in specific apps or websites dedicated to a particular subject. Google Adwords allows you to create ads for Mobile based devices so that you can separate data and see how the mobile campaigns performed when compared to your traditional campaigns. This is done with the belief that the ad will be in a place where people who view it have already established themselves as being interested in something relevant—i.e. the app or the website that has the advertisement. For example, a puzzle game app might have ads for another game that target users based on the specific behavior of playing a mobile game.

Different methods of location-based tracking also exist. Using GPS tracking, users can be targeted as an audience for advertising local businesses or ads that are relevant to a specific local population. Some advertisers that practice mobile targeting work to reach an audience of people within a certain established area or within a certain range of the business or storefront.

Tracking specific devices is generally done with the intention of profiling individual users in order to advertise to them specifically based on their browsing preferences. Similar to behavior targeting, device tracking utilizes information about user’s browsing behavior or app usage but stores information about each visit over time. By collecting and amassing as more relevant data about a user, ads that those users see can be tailored more specifically to individual mobile users.

Mobile targeting has lagged behind the growing mobile user base, leaving open the opportunity for quick, substantial payoff for those who have the best targeting campaigns. The current high demand for more specialized and successful advertising is due to the boom of web access on almost all kinds of modern cell phones. Mobile-friendly content and advertising are predicted to grow further and become commonplace quickly, meaning that mobile targeting is clearly the way of the future.


Methods of Mobile Marketing and Advertising


The techniques with which advertisers reach out to mobile users also vary in methodology. Ads can be placed on mobile websites, in apps, via SMS or MMS messaging, as push notifications, in games, as QR codes and more. Using the information gathered by mobile targeting practices, advertisers and web managers can reach specific audiences to increase the overall efficiency of their marketing efforts.  Depending on the advertising material and the target audience, some ways of getting those messages across are better than others.

Marketing on mobile websites and in apps have the advantage of being able to reach a large number of users. Websites and apps are two of the most popular ways that consumers utilize their phone’s data capabilities, meaning that ads placed on a website or in an app are able to be seen by even more potentially interested consumers. Where they are displayed specifically is generally based on user data gleaned by behavioral targeting or device tracking.

SMS and MMS marketing are a popular way to reach consumers because, on average, SMS messages are read within four minutes, making them a highly effective way of guaranteeing that the ad’s message is seen. Cell phone users are used to skimming over advertisements on the web, but receiving specialized communication via text messaging garners far more of a user’s attention, thus increasing the chances of capturing interest.

QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are matrix barcodes that smartphone users can scan and which then will bring them to a website on their device. QR codes target people most frequently via location—by placing advertisements with QR codes throughout in-person communication, the chosen audience becomes those who are specifically in the same real-world location as the advertisement itself. Though originally designed for use within the Japanese automotive industry, QR codes quickly became popular elsewhere due to their quick, easy readability and convenience.

Combining the right targeting techniques with the best advertising methods is an essential way of increasing success in marketing. For local businesses that do not offer online shops or depend upon in-person patronage, targeting mobile users by their zip code or proximity to the establishment in question is ideal—and advertising via SMS messaging may make less sense for those businesses. For businesses that operate online or have internet storefronts, advertising on mobile websites, in apps, or via QR codes would all likely be beneficial.

By creating a cohesive marketing plan that utilizes mobile targeting and chooses its advertisement methods wisely, businesses can benefit enormously from the practically untapped mobile user population. With successful mobile marketing in high demand, specialized marketing techniques for mobile users are quickly becoming crucial in advertising. Mobile web is the wave of the future, and advertisers looking to stay relevant will soon have no choice but to focus on mobile targeting and mobile advertisement.

About The Author

Jason Hawkins
Jason Hawkins /

Jason Hawkins is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Miami SEO Company. He has over ten years of experience in search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization and lead generation. His core responsibilities include identifying ways to increase value of services rendered, training staff on advanced SEO topics, and A/B testing internal processes to consistently improve client return on investment.