Mobile Marketing: What, Why & How

Topics: Marketing Toolkit, Digital Media

Posted by: Marketing

Mobile marketing (which began with SMS text messaging in the early 2000’s) continues to expand in methodology, functionality, reach, and popularity. Join us for an overview of this extensive sector of the marketing industry. We’ll answer three important questions:

  1. What is mobile marketing?
  2. Why should you utilize mobile marketing?
  3. How can you incorporate mobile marketing into your campaign efforts?



What is mobile marketing?

Investopedia defines mobile marketing as “any advertising activity that promotes products and services via mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.” Modern mobile technology offers many different options for advertising to consumers, especially younger generations. These include promotions via text message and push notification, in-app targeting, search and display ads on mobile websites, location based marketing, QR codes, and personalized ad campaigns. Let’s examine each of these in a bit more detail.

Promotions via Text Messages and Notifications 

Advertisements can be sent to mobile phone users through text messages (both SMS and MMS) and push notifications. While SMS messages are limited to 160 characters of text only, MMS messages can include a variety of media (videos, pictures, audio clips, GIFs etc.) and up to 1600 characters of text. Most cell phones produced today can send and receive MMS messages.

Some Exciting SMS Messaging Stats:

  • On average, SMS messages have a 98% open rate, and are read within 3 minutes.
  • SMS messages can be delivered to almost any mobile phone, and can be accessed without a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection.
  • As of 2017, there are over 5 billion unique mobile phone subscribers worldwide.

Push notifications look similar to SMS messages, but they’re delivered by specific mobile applications only to those users who have the app in question installed.

In-App Targeting

Mobile applications (or apps) are software platforms developed specifically for use on mobile devices. According to Statista, there were 218 billion mobile app downloads worldwide in 2018. Mobile in-app targeting uses advertising or notifications within an app to reach the app’s users. This allows marketers to reach audiences with specific interests or demographic markers. In-app targeting can also be location specific, when mobile geofencing is applied.

Search and Display Ads on Mobile Websites

Mobile search and display ads utilize mobile internet browsers to reach users. Search engine advertising allows advertisers to bid for ad placement in a search engine's sponsored links. These links appear at the top of the results list when someone searches for a keyword that is related to the advertiser’s business offering. Display ads utilize static images, GIFs, or video. These banner advertisements are served to the audience of your choice on the search engine’s web pages.

CaseStudies_NYARNG (2)


Location-Based Marketing (Geofencing & Geotargeting)

Geofencing allows messages to be broadcast to all mobile users in a specified geographical area (or geofence). Advertisements and promotions can be sent via text message or displayed within a variety of apps when a user’s mobile phone data indicates that they’ve entered the virtual boundary line. 

MSS Media, Inc.’s geofencing platform can deliver mobile ads to over 100,000 apps, desktop publishers, and CTV/OTT publishers, including Pandora, Weather Channel, ESPN, and CNBC. 



Geotargeted advertising campaigns target specific audiences in specific locations with campaign messaging. The granular specificity marketers can apply to this endeavor diminishes wasted ad spend significantly. After all, using location and audience specific advertisements ensures that the digital impressions you’re paying for reach precisely the candidates you’re pursuing.

Here are a few examples of ways organizations can use location-based marketing to their advantage:

  • A retailer could send a text message offering a discount to any customer in their database who enters a specific radius around their store. 
  • A university could use geotargeted display advertising to reach young people within major metropolitan areas surrounding campus. 
  • A student housing property could use geotargeted display advertising to capture the attention of prospects searching for rental options in their area.
  • A military agency could use geotargeted display advertising to reach qualified recruitment prospects located within a certain number of miles from their base.

+ Amplify your campus marketing campaign with mobile apps.

QR Codes

QR codes are a type of barcode that contains more information than conventional barcodes. They can be placed on a variety of physical media (postcards, newspapers, magazines, signage, packaging, etc.). Viewers can scan QR codes using their mobile phone and are then directed to an internet landing page, website, or app download link, or are given other important information (such as a company’s email address). QR code scanning apps come pre-installed on most smartphones.

Personalized Ad Campaigns 

Between GPS-based location data and the user information provided by many apps, mobile marketing offers wide scope for personalized ad campaigns. Customized marketing efforts are well known to be highly effective in increasing engagement when set up properly. 

In addition to targeting users by location, marketers can select specific audiences by a variety of demographic or behavioral attributes. Ads and other mobile communications can be personalized in a variety of ways, including addressing a user by name, sending messages at the most appropriate times, and addressing events that are currently happening in the local area.


Why is mobile marketing important?

We’ve touched on several reasons why mobile marketing is so important today. Here are some additional things to keep in mind.



“The adoption rate of mobile is twice that of the internet, three times that of social media, and 10 times faster than PCs."” 



  • Mobile devices have become ubiquitous. The vast majority of teenagers and adults own cell phones, and most of us carry them almost everywhere we go. The time we spend on our mobile devices continues to increase year-over-year. This makes for many more points of contact for marketers.

MSSmedia Mobile Activities


  • It’s much easier to measure the success of mobile marketing campaigns than of traditional media campaigns. Contemporary software capabilities allow for precise tracking of impressions, clicks, and other actions. These can be broken out by website, advertisement, user, and more. With these metrics, campaigns can be optimized on the fly for maximum effect and ROI.
  • Mobile advertising campaigns can be extremely cost-effective in comparison to radio or TV advertising. There are options available for every budget.

CPC for Facebook




How can you get started with mobile marketing?

From formatting your website properly for mobile viewing, to adding QR codes to your traditional marketing media, to setting up a mobile ad campaign, there are many options for mobile marketing. Before rushing in, it’s important to consider your goals, the preferences and behaviors of your target audience, and the resources you have at your disposal. If you have a clear picture of where you’re starting from, where you would like to go, and the best way to reach your target, your efforts will be more successful. 


+ Develop marketing goals that increase campaign effectiveness


If you’re looking for an experienced mobile marketing campaign partner to optimize your advertising efforts, we’ve got you covered. We provide clients with creative digital media management and optimization services that provide real results, relevant to your specific business goals. Acquire an impressive return on investment by displaying mobile ads when, where, and how they are most relevant to your target market. 


Here at MSS Media, Inc., we’ve been providing Education, Government, Real Estate & Lifestyle clients with succinct, optimized, and successful marketing solutions for more than 15 years. Consider MSS Media, Inc. a full-service, one-stop shop for all your Media and Public Relations needs. Your goals are our motivation. And our mission is to propel your message, further and faster, to achieve the outcomes you’re looking for. If you found this blog post helpful, please share!

+ Search

We deliver the latest media tips + insider marketing advice straight to your inbox.