Direct-to-consumer eCommerce app marketing (D2C) is a strategy in which a company promotes and sells a product or service directly to consumers, cutting out the need for any intermediaries. The number of businesses that independently manufacture, promote, sell, and ship their own products is rising, and the growing popularity of this strategy is rapidly changing the business landscape overall.
D2C differs from traditional B2C (business to consumer) in that manufacturers sell directly to consumers in D2C, while B2C usually relies on a retailer stepping in between a manufacturer and customers. In standard B2C models, intermediary retailers (think Nordstrom or Walmart) typically sell products of several manufacturers. Customers are faced with several options, so an individual manufacturer cannot control whether their product is chosen over a competitor’s. This lack of control extends to the overall customer experience, engagement, and brand positioning, which retailers instead handle.
Therefore, so many manufacturers are turning to develop their own D2C eCommerce app to reach and retain customers. D2C eCommerce app marketing covers every customer interaction from the moment they first learn about the app to when they make their first purchase to when they become a loyal repeat customer. Marketing a D2C eCommerce app effectively involves defining a target audience, learning how to reach them, how to communicate with them, and analyzing their in-app behavior to make continuous improvements as customers move through the acquisition funnel. Ultimately, the goal of a D2C eCommerce app marketing strategy should be to acquire customers that continue engaging with the app as well as become brand advocates and drive word of mouth.
The following is a guide to one of the most effective ways to drive effective D2C eCommerce app marketing via mobile app advertising.
Mobile app advertising refers to ads and ad campaigns expressly designed for mobile devices. In this context, “Mobile devices” include smartphones, tablets, or wearable devices. Mobile ads can appear within apps, on websites viewed from mobile devices, or on social media platforms viewed through mobile devices.
Mobile app advertising is fast becoming the dominant tool for marketers to reach customers. In 2020, eMarketer estimated that mobile app advertising would beat TV advertising, handily posting $113 billion in revenues versus $69.52 billion for TV. US consumers will continue spending more time on their smartphones than they will spend watching TV.
And yet…. how much of your app advertising budget is focused on mobile users and devices? What proportion of your advertising is mobile? Are you investing in mobile-first creative at the same level you are investing in television ads?
At least some of your competitors are. Research from eMarketer shows that mobile ad spending exceeded TV ad spend last year.
Advantages for Marketing Your D2C eCommerce App
There are several advantages to mobile app advertising, including:
Increased Time Spent on Mobile Devices by Consumers
According to the World Advertising Research Center, two billion people already access the internet via only their smartphone. That is the equivalent of 51 percent of all mobile users worldwide. In just six short years, 72% of all internet users will access the internet exclusively via mobile devices.
Mobile Ads Reach a Broader Market
Internet traffic via mobile devices exceeds traffic via desktop devices, and that has been true for several years.
Mobile App Advertising is More Cost-Effective
Phone-based CPCs cost 24% less than desktop clicks. Phone-based ads have a 40% higher CTR. And do not say mobile users do not make purchases: 35% of mobile and tablet shoppers buy products at least once a week, compared to only 15% of desktop users.
Mobile also enables location marketing in a way that desktops cannot match. And, because consumers have their mobile devices with them more often than they are with their desktops, advertisers have more opportunities to reach them.
Check Out Our Blockbuster Creative!
Types of Mobile App Advertising
It is impossible to talk about mobile use without talking about apps. And so, if you are going to test mobile app advertising, you owe it to yourself to test app advertising. After all, it is not like there is a shortage of apps. If you can pick the right apps and show the right creative, in-app advertising can work really, well.
Mobile Video Advertising
Mobile videos work– if you can develop enough creative and test it fast enough before ad creative starts to fatigue. Check out our guide to ensuring your testing of video advertising is effective.
Mobile users have their devices with them almost all the time. That opens a world of opportunities if you have got a local business or a business with brick-and-mortar locations.
Yes, even the much-maligned banner ad has a place in mobile app advertising. There is plenty of inventory for mobile banner ads, and so if you can cherry-pick where these ads appear and pair that with great creative, mobile banner ads can work.
These are just like the pop-ups (aka “overlays”) you have been seeing on webpages for years. They are just smaller and designed for mobile screens.
Native ads are published either in social media feeds or on websites. They are called “native” because they look like the content surrounding them. Native ads must use high-quality content. They also tend to “soft sell” advertisers’ products if they overtly mention them at all.
Voice search is not just coming – it is here. And while paid voice search has not really taken hold yet, it will not take long.
Do not overlook mobile app advertising channels, either. Almost all the types of mobile app advertising mentioned above can run on social media, display ad networks, search ads, and more.
So, if you’ve tried just one channel or mobile ad format and it didn’t work, keep testing.
Planning a Mobile App Advertising Campaign for Your D2C Ecommerce App
Mobile app advertising campaigns work much like any other advertising campaign, with a few key differences.
Know your audience.
Mobile interfaces may be simplified compared to desktops, but they have got just as many (if not more) distractions. If you want your message to get through all the noise, you will need to know what type of messaging will appeal to your ideal customers. You will also need to know which channels and publishers your ideal customers flock to.
Find out which channels and ad formats fit your budget.
Do not blow your budget on a display ad on The New York Times if a few in-app ads will work.
Get your tracking and reporting dialed in.
Data-driven marketers love mobile app advertising. It is a blend of art and science, with the art driving the creative development and the science requiring a lot of number crunching. While it’s rare to find someone, who can manage both aspects, we have tools that can make up for any shortcomings in your teams’ skillset.
Develop great creative. A lot of it.
Creative is your most effective lever to improve performance. Especially now that Facebook and Google have effectively taken over intraday bidding and budgeting. We also simplified media buying with improved machine learning algorithms. As a result, advertisers need superior creative to achieve breakthroughs and experienced Facebook and Google partners can provide it.
The problem, until now, has been the expense of creating enough high-quality ads to produce runaway successes (i.e., 5% of ads capable of beating previous high performers) and manage creative fatigue.
A 5% success rate means 19 out of 20 ads will fail along the way. That is a lot of creative. Without human talent driving the process, social advertisers stand to lose a lot of money in their efforts to strike gold.
Use Optimization Algorithms to Their Advantage.
Facebook Ads and Google App Campaigns have improved their optimization algorithms so much in recent months that advertisers of all sizes can access sophisticated optimization algorithms without becoming social advertising experts. Both new and established companies can automate the most repetitive aspects of campaign management and achieve comparable financial results.
This means social advertisers are now free to focus on what really counts: creative development, creative testing, and audience selection.
But in each of these areas, there is still a big service gap for startups and SMBs. It is difficult to find agencies offering experienced, affordable, robust creative, and rigorous testing in-house—the exact capabilities you need to ensure efficient advertising spend.
To help close the service gap and allow marketers to compete more effectively, we recently began offering three tiers of managed user acquisition and creative services. All mobile app developers and lead generators, regardless of budget size, now have the means to get profitable and scale their user acquisition on Facebook Ads and Google App Campaigns.
If you have not allocated a significant slice of your D2C eCommerce app advertising budget to mobile ads, you are missing out on a lucrative traffic stream. That is true whether your audience is Baby Boomers or GenX, Millennials or Gen Z. Everyone is on their phones these days. Your ads should be there, too.
Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.