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March 16, 2015

Mobile Advertising vs. TV Commercials

It used to be when a company wanted to advertise its products to prospective buyers, the go-to medium was television to spread the word. But with the tremendous growth in the use of smartphones and tablets, mobile advertising has become an incredibly powerful strategy, generating $7.1 billion in revenue in 2013. Through mobile advertising on media such as Google and Facebook (the two most popular platforms), companies can engage with customers and influence buying behavior. They can also turn that advertising into sales by enabling click-to-purchase options on the mobile devices. Let’s look at how digital screens have the power to reach and engage audiences in a way television does not.

Demographic Targeting

One way to reach customers in a way television can’t is through demographic targeting, a process by which mobile companies identify users’ demographic information (i.e. gender, age, geographic location, etc.) in order to reach them. The demographics and preferences are acquired when consumers download and use data services like games, apps, or ring tones. For example, let’s say a business is trying to reach female mothers between the ages of 24 and 39 in California. The company may place an ad in Facebook that reaches this subset of the platform’s user population. This is powerful because the people being targeted are more likely to buy the product. Whereas with television advertising, there is no guarantee who will actually see the advertising. It could be a 25-year-old female or a 50-year-old male.


Another way mobile advertising is surpassing television is through remarketing strategies. This very powerful strategy allows you to place targeted ads in front of individuals that previously visited your website as they browse other sites on the Internet. For example, a user goes to to look at a pair of shoes. She then leaves the website and goes to a news site. Through remarketing, can place an ad on the news site that features the exact pair of shoes the user was previously browsing. This type of direct marketing to specific customers cannot be accomplished through television ads that appeal to a broad audience.

The Audience is Larger in Mobile

While there are still many people watching television on a screen in their living room, it’s not nearly as large as the audience viewing programs on mobile devices. In addition, the people watching on mobile differs greatly from those viewing on television, with the younger generations consuming programming via their tablets and smartphones. This is significant because it allows companies to use mobile advertising to directly target those Millennial viewers. Let’s look at how Netflix has become a competitor to cable television and how that is crucial to mobile advertising. In 2014, cable subscriptions among 18- to 24-year-olds dropped to 71% in 2014 (down 6% from the year before), and 71% of pay TV subscribers ages 25-34 also had Netflix (up from 51%). Companies can reach those younger Netflix subscribers by placing targeted mobile ads in front of them, which you can’t do with television. It’s clear the shift in advertising is moving more toward mobile and away from television commercials. If your company doesn’t have a mobile strategy in place yet, start looking at ways to reach prospective customers through demographic targeting and remarketing. This will assure you’re part of the upward trend and revenue won’t be lost. To learn more about implementing mobile analytics, and then advertisements, find out about, here.