Three Freaky Mobile Mistakes You Must Avoid


It’s Halloween, and things are getting a little creepy.

This year, the scares are not all related to costumed trick-or-treaters or haunted houses. We’ll tell you about the three spookiest mistakes companies make in their mobile marketing that you should definitely avoid.


Wildly Inappropriate Ads

Let’s say your kid is playing a harmless game on your iPad. There is a stream of ads, but who cares, the game is free right? Plus it’s a children’s game. It’s not like there’s gonna be anything too bad.

Wait, is that an ad for e-cigarettes? In the kid’s game?

We wish we could say this didn’t happen. But it did, and recently. British American Tobacco ran an ad for their e-cigarette in a kids mobile game. Fortunately they responded quickly and pulled the ad, but the fact that the ad appeared at all was no bueno. While the company claims that they are unsure how the ad ran, the lesson here is to make sure that you are targeting your ads carefully to make sure they don’t appear in front of an inappropriate audience.


Spam That Won’t Die

Mobile spam is becoming a big deal. Customers who haven’t opted in to messaging programs, SMS-type services being the biggest offender are frustrated when they continuously receive annoying messages without the ability to opt out. In fact, people have gotten so frustrated that they have successfully filed and won lawsuits against companies that send them spam without an opt-in. Turns out, its pretty illegal.

That being said, while safer message systems like push notification allow for opt out, you should still avoid spamming customers all the time. After all, you want customers to have the ability to opt out. You don’t want them to feel the need to use it!


Horrible Value Props

So you’ve got a mobile app? Good for you.

Now answer this: what does it do for your customers?

If you have trouble answering, or if the “value” is of a pretty dubious nature, then you should probably reevaluate your strategy. Makeup brand Lancome recently came under fire from Forbes for introducing a mobile app that provided only token benefit for customers while serving as a thinly veiled advertising medium.

Failure to provide value to customers will make them feel betrayed, and can quickly result in your app being blacklisted and abandoned.

SMS Vs. Push Notifications


Cell phones have given digital marketers a direct link to their customers in the way that email and traditional advertising methods never could. When a customer can send a message, deal, etc. to a customer and have it show up directly on a smartphone home screen, visibility goes way up. Currently, there are two methods for a company to send a message to customer smartphones: SMS and push notifications. While these may appear relatively similar at surface level, they actually have significant differences that must be observed.

SMS messages have been around for quite some time, predating even the earliest smartphone platforms. In short, SMS messages are essentially text messages sent from a company or application to a user or customer. They behave for all intents and purposes as a text message from a customer perspective. However, they have more in common with email marketing than smart messaging technologies. The biggest problem with SMS really lies in perception and permissions.

While by law customers are required to opt-in to SMS messaging, it is not uncommon for lists of customers to be shared between companies or sold, precisely in the same manner as email lists. In addition to increasing the perception that SMS messages in general are spam, misuse of SMS have actually led to lawsuits, perhaps most significantly the recent spam lawsuit against Viacom which was settled out of court. Issues such as these are exacerbated by the fact that customers can not directly opt-out of SMS marketing. Again, like email marketing, they are forced to request to be taken off of the list, which in the case of negligent companies can turn into a hassle. Of course, this also requires more careful list management for companies who do make a point to adhere to the letter of the law.

Push notifications offer similar functionality from a customer perspective. Again, a company or application can send a message directly to a customer’s phone, and it will appear on their home screen. The difference is that push notifications are clearly sent from an app (the app icon will show up beside the notification when it is sent). In addition, customers have complete control on their end over which applications can send them push notifications at any given time. This is beneficial for both customers and companies. Customers can opt in or out of messaging at their leisure, while companies can be sure that any messages they send are received by customers who have already expressed a direct interest in their offering, increasing the value of those messages significantly.