April 09, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

An advertiser on the BuzzCity Mobile Network recently launched a campaign to promote a free music service. “Free MP3 Downloads” read the banner, which attracted 150,000 views a day and a 1.89 percent click-through rate. At first glance, these are great numbers. But the campaign experienced only a 5 – 7 percent conversion rate. Out of 20 people clicking on the FREE MUSIC! banner, up to 19 were walking away without closing the deal.

What went wrong?

Well, let's take a look at what happened after you clicked the ad banner.

  • First, users were asked to answer a long series of questions. That's turn-off #1.
  • Second, after answering the questionnaire, users were told to download an application. Not music, but an application. That's turn-off #2.
  • Third, users now had to log off the internet, then launch the application and finally they could click on a link to download music.
So, of course, it's not going to work well. First the banner created a false expectation that you could download music right away. And second, the user experience was just too unfriendly, too many steps involved.

Yet there are also several positive lessons that we can take from this example. Afterall, the campaign attracted a lot of eyeballs. So what did the brand do right?

  1. They launched both graphic banners and text ads. It's a best practice to do both because some publishers only take graphics, while others only accept text. (Some sites publish both text and graphic banners.)
  2. They bid high. Advertisers bid on the price-per-click that they are willing to pay. The higher your bid, the more frequently your campaign banners will be shown. But they also didn't bid too high. BuzzCity publishes a table in our online system with recommended bids, based on current supply and demand. (Currently, in South Africa, a high bid is about 30 – 40 cents per click. But South Africa is expensive relative to other markets due to high advertiser demand. An good bid in Asia Pacific might be 10 cents per click.)
  3. They checked the campaign settings regularly and kept an eye on the Recommended Bid in the market where they were running the ads. At one point, the recommended price per click dropped quite a bit due to a fluctuating market situation (other advertisers must have changed their bids). So the brand in this case was able to lower their bid, save money and still get the same good exposure.
  4. The campaign message was attractive. (Unfortunately, as we saw above, the user experience did not match expectations.)
In an example like this, there are three parameters for mobile advertisers to track:

  • exposure
  • clickthrough
  • conversions
Let's suppose for a moment that the campaign was not getting good exposure. What to do?

Return to the auction page and raise your bid. Keep in mind that you can set your daily budget as well in order to keep expenses in check.

Second, examine your target audience. It could be too narrow. As Hisham described last month, there are a number of parameters that you can fine tune, such as content channels, time targets and phone type. If your target is too selective, you could be slashing the number of interested prospective viewers.

Now, let's suppose that you're getting good exposure, but not enough click-throughs. What to do?

First, take a look at your messaging. Is it attractive? This is not simply a subjective question. You can test multiple banners in the initial stages of a campaign and then weed out the low-performers.

Second, examine your target audience. (Sound familiar? : ) It could be too broad. If your ads appear everywhere (a broad audience), they might attract a lot of eyeballs, but not a high enough percentage of the right ones.


1. Double-check your campaign settings to make sure everything is set up correctly.

I know a client who meant to bid 11 cents per click, but accidentally bid $11. (Fortunately, their daily budget was low, so they didn't lose a lot of money.)

Sometimes advertisers also screw up when they are launching several campaigns simultaneously. They link up banners with the wrong re-direct urls.

To help you sort out mistakes like these, the online advertiser interface shows you a summary of all settings after each submission. This way, if there is an error, you can correct it within seconds.

2. Test, Test, Test. It's the best way to get a campaign right. And don't be scared to make mid-course corrections. By the way, BuzzCity's analytics – which can help guide you as you make adjustments -- just got a great review on the MsearchGroove portal (a site that tracks mobile advertising, search and social networks).

Remember, optimising a mobile campaign is all about getting the most number of clicks for the least amount of money.