Say you are in a strange city and need a hotel for the night. You pull out your phone, search for hotels on Google and see a nearby one listed at the top of the rankings, with a little phone icon that says, “Call.” You tap it, reach the hotel and ask for a room.
And just like that, Google made money. That icon was a so-called click-to-call ad, and the hotel paid Google for it when you called.
As more of us have access to the Internet and apps through our cellphones and tablets, advertisers are looking for new ways to reach us there.
Some mobile ads remain just miniature versions of ads on Web sites, an echo of the early days of the Internet, when advertisers essentially slapped print ads online. But increasingly, advertisers are tailoring ads to phones by taking advantage of elements like their ability to track location, make a call, show maps with directions and add calendar alerts.
The stakes are significant for an industry that is still finding its way in the mobile world. Advertisers will spend a relatively small amount of money on ads on phones and tablets this year — $2.6 billion, according to eMarketer, less than 2 percent of the amount they will spend over all. Yet that is more than triple what they spent in 2010.
“An ever-growing percentage of our ad buy is mobile because that’s where the consumer is,” said Chris McCann, president of 1-800-Flowers.com, which has run mobile ads urging people to call or walk into a nearby store. “It’s the future for us.”
Coming up with ads that exploit the smaller mobile screen requires inventiveness from many parties — advertisers; digital publishers like Google, Apple and Facebook that sell ad space; and mobile ad networks like Millennial Media.
Via Brian Yanish - MarketingHits.com, Tami Cannizzaro