It used to be if you wanted consumer awareness you bought television; if you wanted conversions you invested in coupons. But with the ever-increasing popularity of mobile advertising, the entire 'funnel' of the consumer's purchasing process is changing. Tim Finn, Head of EMEA at StrikeAd, identifies four key stages in this funnel and examines the impact of mobile.
The phone has become an integral part of our daily lives. Consumers now browse for information, use price comparison sites, and involve friends and family in purchasing decisions – all from their mobile handset. As a result, mobile advertising is having a more and more serious impact on the entire purchasing process.
So just how can an advertiser make the most of the purchasing process and optimise mobile across all points in the 'funnel'?
First, you need awareness – the early consideration phase
Whether shopping from a smartphone or a tablet device, the purchasing funnel usually begins online as the consumer becomes aware of their need and starts looking for a product or service to satisfy that need. Using mobile display and rich media ads can help significantly to drive consumer awareness at this initial stage.
Second, consumers like to research
The next stage is the research phase. According to Google and Ipsos OTX MediaCT, smartphone users performing a search are more likely to be in the later stages of the purchase funnel, continuing their research or even going to see a product.
The research found that the most common single action after a smartphone search was to visit a store in person, which was completed by 55% of respondents.
Third, give the consumer time to consider
After the consumer is satisfied that they have done enough research around a given product, they enter the consideration phase. This often involves using a mobile device in store, comparing prices and looking at items on the move.
This presents a prime opportunity for mobile advertisers to use location-based advertising in real-time. On the PC you can target someone sitting at home or in the office, but on a mobile device you can target the right person at exactly the right time, who has the right intent and is in the place you want them to be.
Fourth, they make the purchase
Finally, the consumer enters the purchase stage, either in store or on the mobile. Stats from the IAB reveal that 24% of consumers have bought a product or service on their phone, with the average transaction increasing from £12.20 to £17.49 in 2011.
So whether the consumer is at home purchasing via their mobile, or physically in-store after considering their purchase, mobile advertising can be a great facilitator in this, regardless of location.
The complex journey
The customer journey is no longer linear. Complex relationships exist between all advertising channels, whether that's TV, digital or radio. But mobile is unique as an advertising channel: a recent presentation from O2 at the IAB Mobile Engage event showed that mobile was found to be 4.4x more efficient than TV, and 2.6x more efficient than digital advertising at driving incremental sales revenue.
The reason? Mobile enables advertisers to be with the consumer throughout the whole process, from initial awareness of a particular product or service, throughout the consideration phase, through to final purchase – and it's for this reason that mobile will continue to steal advertisers away from traditional media.