How to Take Advantage of 2016 Mobile Opportunities (Spoiler: Track Calls)

hand grabbing digitized money symbols
If you don't read anything else in this post, read this: To take advantage of mobile opportunities this year, you need to track your calls. Trying to take advantage of mobile opportunities without tracking calls is like trying to take a selfie without a selfie stick. It can be done, but it takes more work.

We've always said that tracking calls is important, but this year, it's more urgent than ever. This year, calls from both smartphones and landlines will be influencing more than $1 trillion in consumer spending. At least, that's what BIA/Kelsey analysts have predicted. To put that in perspective, that's about 15 percent of the total amount spent on offline products and services.

Now listen up, advertisers. Mobile is where you want to focus your advertising dollars. According to BIA/Kelsey's predictions, there will be more than 100 billion phone calls to businesses from mobile devices this year. If you don't already have a call tracking and analytics platform in place, get one now! If you do use call tracking, here's what you need to focus on.

Online-to-Offline Conversion Attribution

When someone finds your business online and places a call, you need to be able to figure out what advertising source generated the call to get a complete picture of your advertising. That's where an online-to-offline conversion comes in handy. One of the best ways to see this type of conversion is to use Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) technology, which automatically assigns a unique toll-free number to a guest when they click through an ad to your website. That unique number is displayed on your website, so when the visitor calls it, you'll know immediately what ad source generated the call. (You can read a little bit more about how DNI works here.)

Side note: If you're nervous about the negative impact to your local search rankings on Google when using different phone numbers on your website, don't be! The numbers aren't hard coded into your site but rather automatically generated by a snippet of JavaScript code, which Google doesn’t crawl.

Local Targeting

BIA/Kelsey also predicts local advertising will be a huge opportunity this year. Of the total mobile ad spend, 38 percent of advertising will be location-targeted. By 2020, that number could be as high as 43 percent! That's not surprising. With smartphones offering location services, it's easier than ever for consumers to perform a search on their phone and quickly pull up a list of local businesses that can meet whatever need (or want) they have.

Operational Improvements

Call tracking and analytics will not only help marketers with attribution but also with improving operations. By tying in leads to a CRM, for example, marketers can see which types of advertising are leading to customers. They can then cut out ads that aren't effective, decrease wasted ad spend and increase ROI. In the call center, call recording functionality will help managers review agents' customer service skills (or lack thereof), and intelligent speech-recognition technology will scan calls for important keywords (e.g., product names, cuss words) that can help identify areas for improvement.

Don't miss out on your piece of that $1 trillion pie. Track your calls and make the most of mobile advertising.

What's your mobile advertising strategy this year?

Three Great Marketing Tips from These Ads for the Big Game

It's easy to see why marketing teams put so much effort into their commercials for the biggest football game every year. After all, you have millions of eyes watching, and many of them care more about the commercials than they do the game.

From humorous to emotional to just plain weird — Puppymonkeybaby anyone? — this year's commercials had a little bit of everything. Here are some of our favorite ads from the big game and what we can learn from them.

Pantene's Heartwarming Dad-'Dos

Girl rocking her Dad-'Do
Image courtesy YouTube

Football players are tough, but that doesn't mean those big, burly athletes can't give their daughters precious hairdos. Pantene rounded up several NFL players to show off their "Dad-'Do" skills — that is, how they do their daughters' hair — and to send a deeper message about the importance of being a good father.

Pantene didn't directly feature its products in the ad, but instead focused on the message "Strong Is Beautiful" and directed viewers to its YouTube channel to see separate videos of each dad. This approach makes the company's ad more memorable because it focuses on the message rather than one of thousands of hair care products. Using a strong, emotional message in your campaigns can get more attention than generic product advertisements.

Amazon Crashes Alec Baldwin's Party

Dan Marino, Alec Baldwin and Missy Elliott walk through a house party
Image courtesy YouTube

Who knew Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino was such a rude party guest? Well that's nothing Alec Baldwin's Amazon Echo can't handle. The voice-activated device helped Marino and Baldwin take jabs at each other's career and helped rapper Missy Elliott "release" a new song during Amazon's first-ever big game commercial.

Amazon made its big game debut memorable with Baldwin's star-studded party, but it's really aiming to shake up the way people live with its new device. If you're bringing something new to the market — something that will change the way people operate on a day-to-day basis — you have to really get your audience's attention. Seeing Jason Schwartzman lob an empanada at Marino got our attention. And had us rolling on the floor.

Heinz Gets Cute With Stampeding Hot Dogs

Dachshund dressed as a hot dog
Image courtesy Heinz

Did you think we forgot about the dogs? We LOVE dog commercials. Though Budweiser didn't bring back those adorable puppies from years past, Heinz gave us some puppies that ranked high up on the cuteness scale. How can you forget the image of a herd of Dachshunds dressed as hot dogs galloping through a field?

These hot dogs were so adorable and memorable that the commercial was ranked the second-best big game ad by USA Today readers. It might not have been a tear-jerker like Budweiser's recent puppy commercials, but it still elicited a mass "awww" from us. However we know this cuteness might not be for everyone. When it comes to planning your campaigns, be sure you know what emotions you want to evoke and that your audience will respond favorably. Otherwise a cute ad for a serious product could fall flat.

What were your favorite commercials? Let us know in the comments.