Smart and Streamlined: Are Mobile Social Ads Right for B2B?

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Twitter and Facebook seem to have struck gold with their mobile ad strategies “by offering up their content streams to mobile advertisers through sponsored content,” writes BtoB Magazine. The numbers are indeed startling: according to TechCrunch, 75% of Twitter’s “monthly active users are accessing the site from mobile devices . . . and mobile accounts for 65% of all its ad revenues” and “Facebook reported that mobile ads now make up a staggering 41 percent of its total ad revenue.”

So, are B2B advertisers using these new social mobile advertising platforms? BtoB Magazine recently asked us to weigh in on this: with caution, we say. Like social media before it, marketers are hesitant to jump into any platform just because it’s new. Novelty is not how B2B marketers make channel decisions, nor how they decide their marketing mix. Rather, B2B marketers prefer to make more of a considered decision. Marketers, though mindful that they need to better adapt to mobile, are hesitant with mobile social as an advertising channel: “with everything in the social mobile realm, B2B marketers will probably wait a little before jumping in. They’ll want to see how B2C is using it and how to test it and measure it.”

Already, “marketers are spending more than twice as much on mobile this year [in 2013] than in 2011” according to an Interactive Advertising Bureau study, writes AdAge. So the question B2B marketers should be asking themselves: is mobile social where my audience is?

The answer is, probably. Smartphone users reach for their phones 150 times a day, and the average American carries three devices on them at all times. And 79% of B2B buyers are active on social networking sites, according to Forrester’s “The Social Behaviors of Your B2B Customers” report. So if a prospect was to reach you via a mobile social ad, consider where that click would take them: is your website optimized for those mobile visitors? As the hub of your firm’s digital experience, your website should be functional and accessible no matter what device your visitor is coming from. One smart solution is responsive web design. If your website is responsive to the device that a visitor is using, it will smoothly adapt to their screen – with no need for a dedicated mobile site. And because you cannot control how someone is reaching you, responsive web design offers a streamlined experience: one site, optimized for all devices.

With the vast explosion of device usage, chances are that yes, there’s an untapped market waiting for you on mobile social platforms. So if you decide to reach your audience via mobile social ads, make sure that the experience you provide for them via smartphone or tablet is just as resonant as it would be on their desktop.

Wherever the chips fall with mobile social advertising for B2B, it’s important to remember that this channel should be viewed as just one part of a synchronized marketing program. As we examine in our whitepaper, “Integrated Marketing is No Longer Enough: Why B2B Brands Need to be Synchronized,” when marketing is synchronized and built on a solid brand foundation, all touch points feed off of each other, empowering the voice of the brand to speak to every target, through every relevant discipline. Mobile social media is one touch point, and potentially, an increasingly important one.

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