Are cross-media strategies such as featuring QR code or apps in print media effective?
Digital marketing aficionados believe that conversion is a definition of advertising success. This word suggests that a customer has responded to an ad, thereby demonstrating the return-on-investment (ROI) of the digital initiative.
Mobile marketing is no different. For mobile ad networks, conversion could simply mean the act of online users clicking on the ad banner (on the application) that triggers a redirection to the advertiser's landing page (formatted for major smartphones such as iPhones and Andriods). This re-direction can be considered as a conversion.
Other advertisers may be less sanguine to this approach. They may insist on having tangible results such as the filling up of user information or responding to a survey to qualify as successful conversions. In order to meet these needs, the mobile marketing agency will need to co-ordinate the tagging of unique codes on the advertiser's page to confirm the successful submission of data by the user (according to the suggested call-to-action articulated in banners published by mobile ad networks). These codes allow the tracking of referring traffic (from the mobile ad networks) to the confirmation page (hosted by the advertiser via a HTML page or on its mobile application), thereby closing the loop that defines the conversion process. Invariably, this will require the advertiser to have a direct relationship with the mobile ad network so as to co-ordinate the tagging process to measure conversion rate. Indeed, the advertiser could work with network operators on alternative pricing models such as cost per acquisition (CPA) that assigns a price for every user that completes the conversion requirements stipulated by the advertiser.
Interestingly, there are advertisers that use newspapers to promote their mobile apps.
Source: Today Newspaper, Singapore (September 16, 2011)
Inevitably, these advertisers will use conversion as a success metric as they believe strongly in the newspaper as an effective ad medium. In this instance, advertisers should consider using mobile barcodes such as QR codes that are actively used in Asia and Europe as an alternative means to get mobile call-to-action in print ads. They are subtly added into the visual creative of the print ad so as to retain almost the entire visual message the print ad intended to deliver.
More importantly, there is now a rising user acceptance in Asian countries to use their handsets to "scan" the barcode to discover the message behind the code. If that "call-to-action" is linked to an online mobile site which is formatted for the mobile handset, it will then allow the advertiser to track and measure the conversion rate of the printed ad used to promote the mobile app or service. For instance, advertisers can link a specific URL to the QR code that will trigger a re-direction once it is activated by the newspaper reader scanning the code. Accordingly, the advertiser can use different QR codes for a variety of print mediums such as magazines to attribute effectiveness of each medium to convert readers.
However, I am uncertain if it is effective as a tool to promote mobile apps for brands. Firstly, the path to conversion from the print ad to the mobile handset (e.g. smartphones) faces significant resistance from readers (of the print ad) as it involves a transition from one medium type (print) to another (mobile). The ease of this transition is dependent on the proximity of these independent mediums (which promotes the readers' spontaneous response reach for their mobile handset) and the value of the call-to-action that compels the reader to respond by transitioning from print to mobile Internet.
As a result of these considerations, I am hard pressed to support such cross-medium conversion strategies, especially if the intent of the print ad can be replicated easily on the online medium, thereby reducing the path to resistance from online users whom advertisers wish to convert in the advertising message.
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With more than 16 years of experience in mobile, digital media/advertising, and e-commerce, Darren has successfully developed and launched pioneering mobile Internet initiatives such as subscription-based mobile news services, location-based advertising, behavioral targeting using consumer analytics in Singapore Press Holdings, SingTel, Cisco Systems, and DBS.
At InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Darren will serve as the regional subject matter expert on mobile and drive overall utilization of mobile to increase revenue and engagement in Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA). His mandate includes developing, implementing, and managing mobile marketing strategies to generate greater brand awareness and revenue through owned, paid, and earned media.
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