What's a mobile sales platform?

What are the best mobile revenue opportunities?

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We've all seen the numbers. Mobile is a particularly bright spot on the digital landscape. National mobile advertising is expected to increase 64 percent this year. Local mobile ad spending is on track to triple over the next five years. (Source: BIA/Kelsey)

As publishers explore digital strategies, mobile can't be ignored. The mobile sales platform recently emerged as an efficient, affordable revenue generator.

When many publishers hear "mobile" they think "app." What's the difference? An app (or native application) is freestanding software that must be downloaded to the user's device. A mobile sales platform is a website designed to be quickly and easily viewed on any smart phone or tablet.

Apps are appropriate for streaming content, but the mobile sales platform has many advantages as a revenue generator:

  • Mobile platforms are turnkey services that publications administer in-house. They are completely separate from the publication's desktop site. A mobile platform includes a drag and drop editor where publications can generate mobile coupons, banner ads, loyalty programs and more. Apps require professional programming and can be expensive to create, customize and update. A mobile sales platform requires no IT support or technical expertise.
  • Changes made on a mobile platform are instantly available for users. When an app is updated, the user must download and install the new version. Updating is an annoyance and contributes to the high rate of app abandonment. A 2013 study by Localytics revealed that 22 percent of apps are used only once.
  • Unlike apps, mobile platform sites can be found by search engines and tracked with Google Analytics.
  • A mobile sales platform works on any modern smart phone or tablet. Apps require separate versions for iPhone and Android.

What are the best mobile revenue opportunities?

  • Coupons – Mobile coupon redemptions in the U.S. will exceed 53 million this year. The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smart phone and tablet adoption. (Source: Business Insider 2014)
  • Geo-Locators Maps, navigation and "nearest me" features are used by over 80 percent of smart phone owners (Source: Mobile Marketer 2013).
  • Loyalty Programs Consumers expect to be rewarded for brand loyalty, particularly Millennials. A 2014 poll by Bond Brand Loyalty indicates that six in 10 Millennial respondents would switch the brands they buy and two-thirds would change when and where they shop if it meant getting a better loyalty program.

Coupons, Geo-Locators and Loyalty Programs can be offered, tracked and monetized with a mobile sales platform. Additional revenue opportunities include banner ads, sponsored RSS feeds, mobile directories and texting campaigns.

Leveraging your desktop website traffic:
One of the benefits of a mobile sales platform is its ability to integrate seamlessly with an existing digital strategy. Here's a typical sales scenario:

  • An advertiser buys a mobile coupon campaign along with a print ad schedule.
  • A trackable coupon is published with the mobile sales platform's drag and drop editor. The platform generates all the interactivity, barcodes, redemption dates and store locations. Graphics and photos may be imported into the platform. The coupon is immediately available.
  • The publication puts a simple HTML link to the coupon on its desktop site. Users are invited to: "Visit our site on a mobile device and click the advertiser's link." The coupon may also be linked to the publication with a QR code.
  • Users can then save the coupon to their phone, email it to a friend or share it on Twitter and Facebook.
  • The platform tracks coupon redemptions in real time. Salespeople can update advertisers on coupon performance and export redemption data to a spreadsheet at the end of the campaign.

Media outlets are quickly discovering the benefits of the mobile sales platform: Low cost of entry, quick ROI, ease of use, fast implementation and, most important, advertiser demand for mobile marketing options.

With local mobile ad spending tripling over the next five years, publications have a clear path to dramatically increase their digital revenue. But, as with all opportunities, the first to market will claim the territory.

Andrea Bergero is a partner in i To Eye, a full-service advertising agency in Atlanta. Andrea co-founded i To Eye after a decade in media sales and management. The agency's experience in digital marketing, particularly since the explosion in smartphone technology, generated the idea to create simple tools to help local media profit from the mobile revolution. In 2013, the agency released ScoreboardMobile, a platform that lets media outlets publish sports scores to mobile devices in real time. Mobile for Media, released in 2014, is a turnkey mobile sales platform that generates trackable coupons, geo-locators, loyalty programs and much more. Mobile for Media is currently offering discounted pricing for SNPA members.

She can be reached at abergero@mobileformedia.com or (678) 932-8698.

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