Adding Affiliate Marketing to Mobile Strategy


ADOTAS – With the continued growth of smart phone uptake, a number of opportunities are opening up for advertisers within m-commerce. According to Nielsen’s latest data, 38% of all U.S. mobile phone owners now have a smart phone, with Apple’s iPhone showing the most growth in recent months. Given the expansion of this market, affiliate marketing can and should play a pivotal role within any mobile advertising strategy.

The rise in smart phone usage has coincided with a shift in how consumers view information. In many cases, the convenience and timeliness of a handheld device is preferable to sitting in front of a computer.

A new study by ExactTarget found that more than half of U.S. consumers who made at least one purchase on their smart phone have done so based on a marketing message delivered via mobile email. In addition, data shows that messages received through a mobile device can lead consumers to an in-store purchase.

Beyond the “on the go” convenience of mobile devices, they are also widely used when consuming other media. A recent study by Performics revealed that 66% of mobile internet users reported at least occasional use of mobile search while watching TV.

Advertisers can use this to their advantage to engage consumers in a multichannel advertising experience. By providing a URL at the end of a TV ad, advertisers can drive TV viewers to a dedicated landing page. In addition, advertisers could increase their bids for mobile search brand terms and generic terms related to the ad for a period immediately after it airs on television.

With the rise in smart phone usage, a number of high profile advertisers are engaging with mobile commerce. For example, eBay generated $2 billion in mobile sales in 2010, outstripping their projected total of $1.5 billion. With applications for a number of devices including the iPhone and iPad, a purchase is made every second through their mobile apps, with 94 bids every minute coming through mobile devices.

So how does the growth of mobile tie in with the affiliate channel?

Affiliates are often the first to embrace new technologies and the advancement of mobile advertising is enticing a number of affiliates to enter this market. As part of this movement, more affiliates are developing sites that are fully optimized for mobile.

Even if an affiliate does not own a dedicated mobile site, consumers are still browsing affiliate sites through mobile devices — therefore encouraging affiliates to optimize sites for mobile to enhance the user experience. Further, companies such as mShopper are offering advertisers an easy-to-use software solution to create a custom-branded mStore.

In addition, a number of affiliates are building their own mobile applications that their loyal customer base will regularly use. Rather than serving as an afterthought in the purchase funnel, many large affiliates are major brands in their own right and become the first stop for a consumer who is ready to make a purchase.

Additional technologies such as QR codes and location based services are further enabling affiliates to deliver additional value. Aside from serving as a pure acquisition channel, affiliates are able to combine location based offers to drive in-store traffic.

For example, advertisers can work with affiliates to accomplish the following:

  • Design a promotion that encourages  visitors to redeem a specific offer sent directly to a mobile device
  • Offer incentivized check-ins  to drive visitors to their store
  • Provide in-store customers with additional incentives and discounts

Mobile Driving Social

The growth of mobile commerce has also seen a rise in the consumption of social media through mobile devices.  Research undertaken by comScore highlights that social media has grown 45.7% year on year – the greatest growth area of mobile usage.

Additional stats indicate that consumers spend more time on Twitter through a mobile device than they do on PCs. This is relevant for affiliates as they are able to send timely deals to their followers and capitalize on the increased mobile usage.

Similarly, consumers spend a considerable amount of time on Facebook through mobile devices, although this is not as high as PC usage. Again this is a useful medium to send out offers to an engaged user base.

Executives at T- Mobile are also reviewing a number of mobile trends and reported the number of cell phone users connecting to Facebook through a mobile device grew by 112% from a year ago, while Twitter experienced a 347% jump. In addition, they saw 60% of all traffic to their YouTube page delivered by mobile devices.

More and more advertisers are embracing the growth of m-commerce and putting comprehensive strategies in place. With an increasing number of affiliates designing their own mobile apps and dedicated mobile sites, they should be considered an integral part of mobile strategies.

In order to engage with affiliates through mobile, it is essential to ensure that affiliate tracking is added to mobile sites. Without this, advertisers could be missing out on a wealth of additional opportunities.


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