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In 2011, smartphones for the first time outsold desktop computers globally, which was a significant milestone in the digital era. And we have noted the trend recently with mobile app engagement, but it is worth repeating given its fundamental effect to the way all brands and those that manage their advertising and communications should be directing their efforts.

sources: IAB & Flurry

Already this year about 72% of a US smartphone owner's overall time was spent engaging with mobile apps versus the mobile web. So while smartphones were beginning to assert their dominance in the personal computing realm, apps had already well and truly established their dominance as our preferred means of consuming content and performing actions on these devices.

This trend has only grown in subsequent years, and now, according to the recent IAB "State of Advertising" report, we spend 86% of our time with mobile apps as opposed to the mobile web. The overall time we spend with mobile devices has increased as well each year, as it was up 115% year over year across all apps, only magnifying the importance of the app.

If you look at these three consumer behavior trends;

  • 72% of consumers have a more positive view of a company if it provides a customer service app (Nuance)
  • 96% of consumers have reasearched a product or service on their phone (Google)
  • Over one billion of Facebook's 1.3 Billion users access their accounts via mobile each month (Facebook)

A brand that is looking to reach their target audience and customers in 2014 must be incorporating mobile app advertising into their advertising mix in a significant way. For additional perspective, the IAB reported that Q4 2013 in the US was also the first time that proportionately across all digital ad spend, mobile was equivalent to the grandfather of online advertising, display ads.

If an agency or advertiser is then looking as to where to direct these ad dollars and what form of advertising is most effective, they need not look further than native advertising across networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Native advertising via avenues like Facebook Mobile App Install Ads, Twitter's Promoted Tweets, and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates are some of the best ways to get targeted reach to achieve a business goal in your overall marketing and media plan.

Sophisticated agencies and brand customers at Social.com have already recognized these trends and are taking full advantage with:

  • Doubling advertising spend on mobile app install ads on Facebook in Q4 vs. Q3 2013
  • Achieving CTRs that are 13-24x higher on average with mobile feed ads vs. right hand side display ad units

What are 3 things an advertising manager can do today to enhance and scale their efforts?

One of our most sophisticated customers and also one of the largest Social and Mobile gaming companies in the world, Peak Games, has been extremely successful using Social.com to improve their creative optimization to dramatically increase mobile ad spend performance. Three of their key findings include:

  1. Creative reporting insights are being constantly fed to designers to iterate on imagery used in ads to further optimize performance with ongoing testing of variations. This often results in over 100 image variations tested in a campaign lifecyle to achieve optimal results.
  2. Although more flashy attractive image creatives yielded best initial results with click thru rates (CTRs), the less attractive but more relevant creatives produced the best overall ROI consistently.
  3. Female conversion rates are higher image creatives with brighter visuals and less detail, where as male conversion rates are higher where there is more detail in the image in relation to the end product.

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What is Social.com?
A true self-service platform, that's powerful but easy-to-use and helps run efficient and effective social ad campaigns at scale. It powers the largest agencies and advertisers globally including the biggest social media advertisers in gaming, retail, CPG and entertainment.

Who uses Social.com?

What is Active Audiences
Active Audiences allows marketers to securely match their data within ExactTarget Marketing Cloud to a Facebook Custom Audience. Active Audiences provides automation, ensures the customer isn't required to share raw data files outside of a trusted infrastructure, and has built-in use cases proven to drive value.

Why use it?
Agencies and advertisers can build highly targeted campaigns quickly and easily, with sophisticated tools to optimize and automate every dollar invested. Teams can share and collaborate around campaign assets, to allow scalability across social media ad buying and strategy.