top of page

A mobile first state of advertising

Where’s your phone?

It’s the question I like to ask everyone when trying to make a point about mobile usage, consumption, and the attachment that we as Canadians have to our smart phones.

Our mobile devices are the gatekeepers to who we are, what we like and where we go. Heck, I’ve even heard someone say, “My phone knows me better than my wife does.” It’s a funny thing to think about but the truth is that 85% of Canadians experience nomophobia*, which is the feeling of stress or panic experienced when we can’t access our phones. Why the fear? Because it holds everything dear about us and it is the gateway to staying connected with the rest of the world.

Our mobile phones are with us when we go to sleep, when we wake up and when we experience some of our most intimate and precious moments in life. The mobile phone has become a one stop convenient device for us all. It has eliminated the need to carry a camera, a memory card, a portable gaming system, a newspaper, an mp3 player, a flashlight, coupons, a map, and the list goes on. With 25.5 million people in Canada now using smart phones** it’s pretty clear to see that Canadians are living in a mobile first state of mind, making mobile the preferred way that we connect with the world.

This growth in mobile usage provides brands with an opportunity to reach people around the clock like never before. However, the increase of mobile consumption does mean that the average person’s attention span has shortened; making it even more important for brands to deliver their message effectively.

So how do you build an effective mobile first ad campaign that engages Canadians today? Here are my tips:

1. Simple is better

A clean and simple ad means a clearer message that loads fast and is easy to retain. Make your brand easy to identify, message easy to understand, and call to action simple to act on.

2. Provide an incentive

Who doesn’t like free stuff? A special offer or promotion works effectively for getting users to engage with your ad. When providing an incentive, remember step 1 above: keep it simple. A known detractor about incentives is that users find them hard to claim. So, keep it simple when possible, and try and stay back from a CTA that opens a new page or redirects. Ad’s today can include opt-in forms, store locators, tap-to-call and more.

3. Personal and customized delivery is key

No matter where your ad shows up, mobile users have a no tolerance policy for ads that are irrelevant. Think about who your target is, when they use their phone and where they use it. Too much time, money and energy are being put into the creative side of advertising and not into the intelligence behind the audience being targeted. Access to Geo-location, demographic grouping (gender, age, socioeconomic status, etc.), audience affinity, type of device being used, and other sets of data are the key to your ad success.

4. Measure engagement and not CTR’s

Here’s what I believe, CTR (Click Through Rates) is something that no one will care about in the future. This metric does not provide an honest representation of intent to purchase or conversion. In today’s omni-channel world there are too many touch points for your audience to engage with. For example, your in-app ad may cause your target to do more research online on a desktop, and then convert to a sale. Time to rethink the way you measure the success of your mobile ad.

Finally, be where your audience is. Sure, mobile is where your audience is, however Canadian audiences are actually spending 87% of their time in-app***. I invite you to further your learning by reading our recently released white paper on mobile in-app advertising and how it engages where your audience is.


Carlos Guevara is the Marketing Manager at APEX Mobile Media, previous host of the podcast "In Search of Good Data" and has helped various organizations in the private and non-profit sector to become more customer-centric with the use of enriched data.


*CIRA: Canadas internet factbook 2019

** Research by Amsterdam-based firm Newzoo

*** Research by Amsterdam-based firm Newzoo



bottom of page