Mobile Badvertising - Part 2


It's been a while since I last wrote about Mobile Badvertising. Although we're constantly told that mobile advertising is going to be HUGE, you wouldn't know it from looking at the adverts on mobile sites.

Over this occasional series, I'll be picking examples from popular UK sites. I've tried to avoid naming the sites in question, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

The Lie

Is that too good to be true?
Is that too good to be true?

One of the reasons that advertising is dying is that we've become immune to its lies.  When we see a price on an advert, we know it's a lie.  Adverts are lies trying to trick us into buying something.  A flight may say £1. But we know when we add in taxes, booking fees, credit card surcharges and miscellaneous "extras" it will end up costing us a lot more.

At first glance this is a pretty good advert.  It reinforces the idea that it's a mobile specific advert - you aren't going to have to try and load a Flash heavy website on your phone.  While animation can be annoying, this advert keeps most of the image static and uses the animation to add more information - as well as catching our eye.

Let's click on it...

Bait and Switch
Bait and Switch

Bam! Now the price has jumped 90%. An extra £180. Now, that may be VAT and delivery... but I think that's unlikely.

I won't show you a screenshot from every bit of this microsite, but suffice to say - it's not good.

While it's formatted very well, it tells me nothing about the product, I can't order or buy it. All I can do is fill in a form to get a "sales rep" call me.  There isn't even a click to call link if I want to buy right now.

What To Do

  • Don't lie.  Hiding behind VAT, delivery and other charges may initially lure in customers; but you're always going to be rumbled.  Do you want an angry customer at your checkout?
  • Allow me to buy what you're selling.  Seems obvious, no?  The advert entices me with "Get Yours" but doesn't allow me to "get" anything.  £199 may be too much to charge via premium SMS, but I can type my credit card number into my phone.  (Mind you, it still bothers me that we can't buy plane and train tickets like Kenyans)
  • Put useful information on your site.  I've clicked because I'm interested.  Give me something to either hold my attention or sway my mind.  This isn't print. You're not paying per word, image or page. You can put as much information on your site as you want.
  • Make it timely.  I want to do something at my convenience - not yours.  Click to call would have allowed me to make direct contact with a "sales rep".  Or, I can wait until you call me back during a meeting.  By all means have both options - but why would you discourage potential customers from contacting you?
  • Take advantage of the medium.  Again, this is the mobile web.  Why isn't there a link to the YouTube advert showing how great this laptop is?  Why can't I download an MP3 of a review of the product?  Why isn't there a "Send this to a friend" link so I can say to my boss "Hey, we should buy some of these"?
  • What Else?

In short, if you want to make your mobile advert a success - put some effort into it and take advantage of the format.

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