Sunday, November 14th, 2010

A Lesson Learned in Mobile Marketing

—This post was originally removed as we worked on some things with an advertiser. It is now being re-posted for your learning pleasure. —
Over the past couple week I have had some opportunity to work closely with ECM provided me with a Pay-Per-Call offer that paid out $10 per phone call no matter the length. So… naturally I jumped on the opportunity to run traffic to the offer.

In the past I have marketed on mobile networks such as Admob, Inmobi, and Mojiva.  I knew for a fact that Admob offered a “click-to-call” function for their mobile advertisers (so does Inmobi, don’t know about Mojiva) so I chose to try out their traffic.  Basically what happens is when someone clicks on your advertisement they are shown a message that states “Are you sure you want to call XXXXXXXXXX” Then the person clicks call or cancel.  Now, the theory behind this is that if someone clicks the call button then they genuinely want to call your company.  At least that was my thought on this process.

Here was the first banner creative

This was the first creative that was used.  This was a text version of an Admob ad.  Originally the ad just said “Free Debt Elimination Kit – Call Now!”.  However, we noticed a terrible CTR for the offer.  Because we were sending traffic after business hours we assumed that people just weren’t clicking.  Most people know that if you call after business hours you will have to deal with an automated system instead of an actual phone operator. So to combat the issue we put on Call 24/7 to the ad to help ease people’s minds. 21k impressions, 130 clicks, 6 confirmed calls, $48.xx spend, average $0.30 a click. Not the best… so we moved to a banner ad approach so we could add more info to the creative.

Here was the second/final creative

This was an actual image instead of using the Admob default background and custom text.  Image ads on mobile networks allow you to add more content to the actual creative.  You can also see that we were pre-qualifying people by letting them know that if they click they will need to continue with a phone call to us. The creative also let the surfer know what they would be receiving for calling in.   1,316,753 impressions, 9,871 clicks, $1,353.50 spend (about $0.14 a click)… you ready for this?… 410 calls.  That’s $4,100.  AWESOME RIGHT?  Well… yes and no… The advertiser wasn’t too thrilled about the quality of traffic… Don’t worry… they’re going to pay up… but…

Here is what I learned

Mid day we received a report of the traffic quality.  Unfortunately it was quite low. And here’s why…

Any good marketer knows that they should always track their stats with a third party company. For this project I chose to go with (a phone number tracking service). Dynamicic also offers the option to record the phone call so that you can hear what exactly is going on. Out of my own curiousness for how the calls went I made sure to turn on the recording function from the beginning.  After we received the report from the advertiser I went back and listened to about 50 phone calls.  While some of them were indeed real people the majority were remnant noises of little kids… WHAT?  Yeah… little tykes making their little googoo gaga sounds.

So… While I did make a HUGE return for the investment, the quality of the actual phone call was utter $#!^ to say the least.  This venture in mobile marketing taught me that 85%+ clicks on the advertisement come from kids that are playing with their parents phone.  Now… Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but when you have an advertiser that is paying you for a phone call of ANY length then this is a critical matter that needs to be resolved.

That traffic was ran on Friday.  Right now the campaign is paused until I can get a full report as to the quality of the leads. If it’s extremely bad I’ll just ask for a pay decrease and hope that I can keep pushing traffic.  Even at a couple dollars a lead I’ll still be making oodles of dinero from this campaign.

Here’s some screen shots for you

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16 Responses

November 14, 2010

Very interesting.

Too bad the calls weren’t so crappy so you could just run this into the ground.

December 22, 2010

I had similar experince in a similar vertical. Branding wise tho – the amount of impressions would be a nice thing to throw into the mix. I just dont mobile display is ready for affiliate marketers.

December 23, 2010

Awesome case study! Thanks for posting this!

December 23, 2010

Thanks for that Kris. You are not the first person to experience this. I think it is very difficult to make affiliate money on mobile but ppcall is another story and needs more testing as you are doing.

Please keep us posted Kris

All the best

December 23, 2010

might make sense to add a kid proof type feature (whats 5+9+2?), before allowing the user to call;
kinda like a captcha for making a phone call

should filter out most of such clicks

December 24, 2010

You’ve uncovered a great way for Toys R’ Us affiliates to get mobile payment commissions. Thank you!

December 28, 2010

Today i learned very much from this article regarding Mobile Marketing. Thanks for sharing this vital info with your visitors.

January 10, 2011

Great case study man, thanks for sharing. Despite what some people are commenting here “Mobile will be HUGE for affiliates and marketers”, it’s just not all figured out just yet. Guys like you are actively trying different ways to monetize it and there is no doubt in my mind it will be HUGE very soon.

January 12, 2011

Thanks for this share. I’m very interested in what’s going on in the mobile space and I really appreciate your willingness to share actual numbers.

January 14, 2011

Thanks for sharing such insight of Mobile Marketing. It doesn’t matter what kind of tool you used to promote your product / services as far it generate leads.

January 24, 2011

Good article. I like the views and observation about ROI.

February 6, 2011

I bet that it is kids playing with their parents phones. I let my 2 year old play with a coloring program on my HTC Incredible. Funny thing is, there are ads running on that app. Technically, you wouldn’t think that they would be allowed to run ads on a program targeting 5 year olds. That is probably the problem here.

February 18, 2011

I guess I missed this when you first posted it. Great stuff here Kris. Really appreciate the case study.

February 18, 2011

Love the actual #’s. Thanks!

February 20, 2011

It’s an interesting case study, I’ve been considering moving into CPA and I guess this teaches us that the normal rules of ROI cannot be taken for granted if this is anything to go on

Thanks for sharing Tony

February 24, 2011

I think it is very difficult to make affiliate money on mobile but ppcall is another story and needs more testing as you are doing.