Classic forms of media advertising intend to lay out their messages within a singular medium. We see a print ad while flipping through a magazine or a radio ad comes on between songs on our commute to work. While this singular strategy does deliver some important campaign objectives, in a world where a user’s path to purchase journey happens on multiple screens, starting a conversation on one of these platforms and then intentionally moving it to a user’s smartphone can unlock unprecedented opportunities.

Let’s face it, smartphones are an important part of our modern lives. Mobile devices are already overtaking and replacing other technologies like cameras, GPS devices, and remote controls. Video consumption on smartphones has increased by 55% and on tablets it has increased by 48% compared to 2015.

A typical American checks their smartphone every 6 ½ minutes or approximately 150 times every day. Smartphones are the only gadget that are always likely to be with us when we come across other media mediums. They travel everywhere we go. They are with us on our commute, at social gatherings and when we sit down to watch TV.

As advertisers, we must observe and understand the functional and emotional layers of this intimate relationship and use mobile’s unique power of connecting different touch points. We must build on this organic connection, be brave, and believe that if we do our job, our audience will embrace the path we lay for them between different media mediums and follow the conversation by activating their smartphones.

Mobile technologies and mechanics are there for us to inject interactivity into more traditional advertising mediums and leverage their value by building a dynamic, cross-media path to engage with our target audience.

So, how can we integrate mobile mechanics and solutions into a brand’s other media touch points to help them connect with their consumers?


First, we must study smartphone habits and the preferences of our target audience.

What are they doing on their mobile? When do they use it? How do they use it? What content are they consuming? For how long and how often do they engage with this content on a daily, weekly and monthly basis? Which apps are their favorite? What hardware and software functionalities do they use?

Understanding these habits and preferences will be essential when we are working on integrating mobile solutions to traditional advertising mediums. Knowing our consumer’s smartphone habits will help us to create organic, seamless conversations between different mediums.


We must think mobile from the early stages of strategic planning.

For some briefs, putting mobile at the center of our advertising and marketing strategy will easily deliver client’s objectives. For others, where using traditional media is necessary, mobile can still add a unique value by connecting and measuring these mediums. When deciding on our media touch points, think of how mobile can activate them; connect them with each other and measure them.

Parallel to this, we must also start contemplating our engagement solutions. How can we encourage people to interact with print, TV, radio, and OOH ads and then take the conversation to their mobile phones?

According to the nature and strategy of a campaign, we can add incentives to our call to action. This can be the promise of winning a big prize or grabbing a mobile coupon to redeem a discount. If it’s native advertising, it can be accessing more content on the topic.

Then comes time to add mobile mechanics. There are many ways to engage our audience. For example, by asking them to text a pre-defined number, we are able to respond with a mobile site link which drives the user to exclusive brand content. (More examples later in the article.)

Last but not least, we must remember, apart from connecting other mediums, mobile can also integrate and generate both 1st and 3rd party data for our campaign and client. It can leverage loyalty programs, aggregate sales data and can be enriched with live location information.


A good mobile destination is crucial for success.

This destination can be part of a client’s existing m-site; their Facebook page, an instant messenger Chabot or a mobile landing page designed and built specifically for the campaign.

This landing page can be accessed from mobile display advertising, beacons, NFC points and social media. SMS text/reply mechanics and QR codes that you can place on pretty much any medium.

Why is this mobile landing destination so important? Because we like good user experiences and looking at beautiful things. It’s also important to endorse the same look & feel and brand guidelines across traditional media ads and mobile landing pages to ease the transition. An interesting study shows that while banks and financial services are good at marketing their digital presence and products via online and offline media, drop off rates may reach up to 90% if the final destination is not designed for smartphones!

Let’s look at mobile opportunities for each traditional advertising medium:


Media: Magazines, newspapers, brochures, packaging, direct mail, invitations.

Mobile mechanics to use: SMS text/reply mechanic, QR codes, short URLs, gamification, custom mobile landing pages or connecting directly with the brand’s social media account, augmented reality, holograms.


Media: Broadcast, subscription, and online TV.

Mobile mechanics to use: SMS text/reply mechanic, short URLs, gamification, HARK, Shazam, custom mobile landing pages or connecting directly to the brand’s social media account.

Why not activate a live competition on a TVC? We can give the audience a challenge, an incentive and an easy mechanism for participation. E.g. “Send Q to 123 456 7890 to win free vouchers now!” On the reply message, we can send them to a mobile landing page where there is a multiple choice question about the content they are watching. For every correct answer, we can display a mobile coupon on their phone, which is great for collecting user data and encouraging (and measuring) footfall traffic to stores.


Media: Traditional radio broadcast, mobile apps of traditional broadcasters, podcasts, music streaming services.

Mobile mechanics to use: SMS text/reply mechanic, short URLs, gamification, HARK, Shazam, custom mobile landing pages or connecting directly to the brand’s social media account.

Let’s say our client’s branding message is to be fun and contemporary, their target market is stay-at-home parents and their brand promise is making life easier. As a solution, we can create an engaging morning-ride-to-school playlist on one of the popular music services and promote this sponsored/ad-free playlist on a radio ad. We can ask our audience to send the name of the playlist as a keyword to a mobile number and put the link of the playlist on our reply message.


Media: Desktop publications – from global brands to blogs, online and console multiplayer games.

Mobile mechanics to use: SMS text/reply mechanic, short URLs, QR codes, 2nd screen gamification.

How about entering a short URL on your phone’s browser, connecting it with your desktop and playing an action game with a stranger?


Media: Posters, street furniture, digital panels, in-store screens, billboards, point of purchase displays, transport, workplaces, shopping malls, stadiums giant screens.

Mobile mechanics to use: SMS text/reply mechanic, short URLs, gamification, HARK, Shazam, custom mobile landing pages or connecting directly to the brand’s social media account.

Newly digitized, internet connected, beacon-NFC-WiFi enabled digital OOH panels and smartphones are a perfect couple to engage your brand directly with consumers and passersby’s. Invite them to play a game, enter a survey, send their content to the panel, and then reward them with a mobile coupon and a map with directions to your retail store!


Media: As this medium uses unusual places, unconventional ways and unusual items in its craft, it can be pretty much anywhere and everywhere: one off builds, installations, and experimental media, 3D printed objects in any size, petrol pumps, street and sidewalk art, public toilets, floor media, ticket barriers, coasters and so on.

Mobile mechanics to use: This is an area where you can have a lot of fun and you can use every mobile solution imaginable.

Here are a few personal favorite concept examples:
Music Man! Print small 3D objects and, working with street artists, spread them around in your target neighborhood: on street corners, coffee shops, bookshops, random public places. Then use mobile image recognition technology to take users to different sponsored playlists on a music streaming service!

Drone selfies at music festivals! Imagine you are a 20-year-old at a music festival. You take your smartphone out of your pocket, open a branded app, enter the code you received earlier when entering the festival and call a drone (with a fisheye camera on) to your present location. Once this branded drone is hovering on top of you, you are taking snaps of yourself and your mates and pretty much the whole festival ground! Once you are done, photos are emailed to you and published in your Facebook feed! How awesome would that be!

So what are we waiting for? Let’s get out there and play!

By Jem Reis – Mobile Media Director, Ansible Australia