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Target Your Social Ads by Device or You May Be Wasting Money

Phillip Reinhardt

You may not realize it, but you consume different types of content on different devices. When you stop to think about it, it makes sense. When you want to read for an hour or so, you likely grab a Kindle or even a book and settle in. If you’re in the doctor’s office or in line somewhere you may idly scroll through Facebook with no real intention to get involved in anything. When you’re watching television in the evenings and get engrossed in a show, you may still have a screen open in front of you — a tablet or your phone — and half-heartedly check your social accounts. During your lunch hour at work, you may be on Facebook on a desktop or laptop computer as you take a few extra minutes to catch up with your best friends and their kids or cats.

Social Interaction is Different on Mobile

Lean In or Lean Back Media

These are all different types of content consumption. As an advertiser, you need to know when (and how!) to best reach your audience when they’re leaning in, or in a mood to take action. Someone checking Facebook on their mobile while they’re in traffic is highly unlikely to click your ad and make a purchase, but the same person may be interested enough to take a minute during their lunch break to engage more deeply with the more immersive desktop experience. Other ads may be more conducive to a quick purchase or signup during the evening scrolling sessions (leaning back) from a mobile phone or tablet. How you can be most effective depends on several factors, most importantly your audience and your message.

Know Your Message

There are (unfortunately) way too many ways to do mobile marketing poorly. Ads that are disruptive, unattractive, boring . . . the list is virtually endless. What you can do is attempt to get inside the mind of your consumer and what they are likely to be doing during the time you are targeting for your ad. You may want to take advantage of some of Facebook or Instagram’s killer targeting strategies, creating granular audiences that are more likely to accept and appreciate your message. If your message is one that takes a few minutes to consider (making a high-dollar purchase) versus simply something that requires a quick sign-up, you have to consider additional factors, including:

  • Is your audience likely commuting at the time your ad is targeting?
  • Will your audience likely have access to a computer or tablet and have the time to engage with your message?
  • Demographics of your audience: will they be at work or school, or are you targeting stay-at-home moms and dads?

The data available on audiences today is highly detailed, so if you are not taking advantage of it, you are doing your brand a disservice.

Following the Lead

Facebook and Google are working hard to be able to track people across devices, but it still is not perfect. While you are targeting your advertising, always keep the needs of the browsing public in mind and don’t block out their core content. Having a (relevant!) ad show up while they’re skipping merrily through their favorite site is fine, but overshadowing the main content in a “PICK ME!” moment can create a really poor user experience. If you’re creating a single ad for mobile and also using it on a desktop, you’re almost guaranteed to lose half of your audience — or all of it if you’re making compromises about the message or the design!

What it all comes down to is being considerate and being consistent. You want your ad to be considered a valuable insight for the reader and not a distraction. Once you cross that line, your ad will continue costing you money but will not be providing the ROI that you need. Be a smart marketer and think like your audience!