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Paul Childs, chief marketing officer, Adfonic

Daily online traffic levels are known to follow a typical pattern, with activity peaking at lunchtime before tailing off during the afternoon. It shouldn’t be a surprise that mobile activity follows a very different pattern, yet advertisers aren’t taking full advantage of this.

Through our reporting of real-time clicks within the Adfonic mobile ad marketplace, we’ve noticed that many advertisers are missing out on a growing mobile audience during the evening, at a time when online audience numbers are falling.

Detailed hourly click patterns reveal that mobile traffic starts to build from around 6pm and continues to rise to a peak at midnight.

This growth in surfing from the sofa and bed among iPhone, iPad and other smartphone traffic is increasing as users switch from TV watching to mobile browsing during commercial breaks.

Many people also seem to prefer their smartphone to a good book when they go to bed, to engage with social media or to download apps, for example.

The early morning is another potential hotspot for mobile advertisers, with an increasing number of people waking up and reaching for their smartphones, or using them while commuting.

Importantly, both of these traffic peaks coincide with periods that are traditionally seen as dead times for online advertising. There’s a clear opportunity for advertisers to reach incremental audiences through mobile. If brands are to get the most out of their digital advertising, they need to integrate mobile with their online campaigns as the two channels have great capacity to complement each other.

Most brands, ad agencies and content owners haven’t started to exploit this opportunity and are yet to tap into the full advertising potential of mobile. As people switch off from TV advertising and spend less time in front of a PC in the evening, smartphones and tablet devices are becoming the devices of choice for spontaneous internet access. They also open up opportunities to cross-link TV and online campaigns with mobile devices and content, and the possibility to engage more effectively with consumers through richer mobile ad units.

One thing is clear: smartphone and tablet devices are changing the habits of the digital audience. Immediate and constant online access, along with ways to interact with and entertain consumers that go above and beyond what’s possible through other channels, enables brands to reach out to new audiences. It’s a huge opportunity and one advertisers can’t afford to miss out on.

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Published 25 November, 2010 by NMA Staff

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