EXPERTS REVEAL: The 7 Biggest Mobile Marketing Mistakes You Can Make

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Photo: Martin Deutsch via Flickr

Money is pouring into mobile advertising—$5.3 billion last year—but much of it is wasted as advertisers make dumb mistakes. In advance of Business Insider’s Mobile Advertising Conference, we asked half a dozen prominent mobile ad execs to give us their advice on the common mistakes that clients and agencies make.Executives from Microsoft, Tribal DDB, Teen Vogue, Nexage, Joule, Mr Youth and FirstBorn all responded with stories of mobile campaigns gone wrong.

Some of them are hilarious—like ads that encourage use of mobile devices in places where there isn’t any wireless reception. But some pitfalls are less obvious—do you know what “showrooming” is, for instance? And if you do, how to prevent it?

Here are the answers.

Putting a QR code underground, or in any location where the user has no wireless access.

Michael Collins, CEO of Joule, the WPP Group-owned mobile ad agency, told us, 'I saw a bus with a QR code on it the other day.' How on earth is someone supposed to photograph a moving vehicle?

We've also seen QR codes in subway stations and other deep-interior structures where, obviously, customers can't get the reception they need to make the code take them to the advertiser's website.

This QR code (right) requires a consumer to risk death to activate it. (See more QR code fails here.)

Your mobile ad or app does only one thing: sends users to your regular web site.

Jason Wagenheim, publisher of Teen Vogue and the Teen Vogue Insider app, says mobile content should be new and exclusive to the app.

Users like discovering new content within the mobile environment. But if all your ad or app does is drive people to the regular website, you're setting consumers up to be disappointed.

Melissa Lentz, svp/account and strategy services for social media agency Mr Youth, told us that consumers use their phones as shopping search tools when they're inside your store.

They're often checking competitors' prices while they're looking at your shelves. This is called 'showrooming'--where consumers window-shop at your store but go elsewhere or online to actually buy something if they find it cheaper. (It's a huge problem for big-box retailers like Target and Best Buy.)

You can prevent showrooming by offering discount prices if the user checks-in at your store location to activate the offer.

Running a mobile campaign without a mobile-optimised web site.

Dave Snyder, creative director at FirstBorn, told us that 'pointing users to a Flash web site that isn't optimised for mobile' is a common mistake from rookie mobile marketers.

Snyder said he once saw a campaign for toilet paper that encouraged users to vote on whether they prefer to see TP hanging from under or over the roll, but the web site involved wasn't optimised for mobile.

Making your banner ads ugly.

Not making your campaign social, local AND mobile.

Buying your mobile ad media before you've approved the creative.

Dave Snyder, creative director at FirstBorn, says that too often mobile is an add-on buy, an afterthought to a campaign that's really designed for other, larger media.

Clients sometimes send creative briefs after the media schedule has already been bought, and so existing creative for the web ends up being repurposed inappropriately or ineffectively for mobile.

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