Mobile Marketing

Have you ever browsed online and later seen an advertisement related to what you've just searched? That's an example of targeted advertising, a branch of mobile marketing. Mobile marketing, in short, is a marketing strategy targeting users on mobile devices. However, there is more to it than just ad displays on web pages and social media. By the end of this explanation, you will learn what mobile marketing is and why it is important to a business. 

Mobile Marketing Mobile Marketing

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Table of contents

    Mobile Marketing Definition

    According to a report by Statista, mobile eCommerce reached $2.8 trillion in 2017 and would make up three-quarters of total e-commerce sales (72.9%) by the end of 2021.1

    To survive in the competitive market, companies have no choice but to invest in mobile marketing.

    Mobile marketing is digital marketing targeting users on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It's a subset of omnichannel marketing where companies promote products or services across channels, devices, and platforms.

    Mobile marketing is digital marketing on mobile devices.

    A major component of mobile marketing is data mining - sorting through an extensive database to spot trends and patterns. With this data, marketers can design messages tailored to each individual customer.

    There are many mobile marketing channels. They include email, SMS text, social media, and mobile apps. Mobile marketing techniques vary widely, from sending text messages to using augmented reality.

    Overall, it is an affordable and effective way to reach customers anywhere, anytime.

    Mobile Marketing Benefits

    When done right, mobile marketing can bring tremendous value to the company. Here are its three main benefits:

    Mobile marketing: cost-effectiveness

    The first benefit of mobile marketing is low costs.

    Booking an ad space on TV can cost you a fortune, but arranging a paid targeted ad campaign will cost you a few hundred dollars at most.

    With a social media account, you can quickly set up an ad campaign targeting people within the same demographic, location, or profession. The best part is you only pay when people click on the ad and can customise the content at any time during the campaign.

    The advertising strategy that directs the marketing message to a specific customer group based on age, location, or profession is called targeted advertising.

    Mobile marketing: wide audience reach

    Mobile marketing also helps companies to reach a broader audience.

    Take social media marketing, for example. Once a post is published, it can appear on the newsfeed of thousand, even million of users around the globe. All people need is a wifi connection to access the company's posts, images, stories, and videos at any time of the day.

    Mobile marketing removes the geographical constraint, making promoting a product more accessible, faster, and more convenient.

    Mobile marketing: personalised marketing message

    The final and biggest perk of mobile marketing is its ability to present customer marketing offers.

    Thanks to technology such as data mining, companies can sort and spot trends in customer behaviour and then come up with an offer relevant to their needs. Personalised marketing increases the chance of a product being sold and reduces marketing effort and costs.

    Mobile Marketing Strategy

    Mobile marketing strategies are diverse and can be conducted across devices, social media, and platforms. The four most common mobile marketing strategies are:

    Mobile marketing: social media marketing

    More than half of the world's population (4.62 billion people) are now on social media.2 Besides networking, people also use social media to research products, follow business pages and do their shopping.3

    For example, Instagram statistics reveal that 72% of young people purchase beauty products through Instagram, and as many as 130 people click on an Instagram shopping post every month.

    Social media is an effective tool for companies to reach a wider audience.

    Social media marketing uses social networking platforms to promote products and services.

    The first benefit of social media marketing is that it makes the marketing content more accessible. Instead of boring people with dry facts, companies can capture the audience's attention with catchy punchlines and stunning visuals.

    NASA's Instagram page is filled with captivating images of planets, stars, and galaxies. While most people will shy away from scientific content, they might be curious to click on the photos and learn the stories behind them.

    Social media is also a huge traffic driver. As most people are on one social network or another, publishing content on these platforms can increase the company's chance of being seen. Companies can reach out to influencers for product endorsements or reviews to increase brand authenticity and access more customers.

    Influencer marketing is booming today. More than 80% of marketers agree that influencer marketing benefits their business, and nearly 90% say it is as or more effective than other channels.5

    Mobile marketing: email marketing

    Another popular mobile marketing strategy is email marketing.

    As the name suggests, email marketing engages with users via email—for example, a welcome email, a promotional email, or a weekly newsletter.

    Email marketing includes two main components: an email list and an email provider.

    • An email list is a list of email addresses to which you will send the email. There are many ways to build an email list. For example, a business can include a pop-up or contact form on its website to collect customers' email addresses.

    • An email provider is a platform that assists the company in crafting and sending emails to multiple recipients. MailChimp is an example of an email service provider.

    Many people open their emails on mobile devices, so optimising emails for different screen sizes will increase the chance of them being read. When done right, email marketing can also strengthen the company's relationship with its customers and drive sales.

    Mobile marketing: SMS marketing

    SMS marketing is probably the oldest form of mobile marketing. It involves sending messages to customers via SMS text.

    SMS stands for short message service.

    You might have been exposed to SMS marketing on many occasions. For example, a tariff deal by your mobile phone contract provider, a link to an online survey of a service you use, or an account update from your bank.

    The messages sent via SMS should be short and to the point. It may cost money to send SMS texts, but customers can receive notifications without an Internet connection or logging into social media.

    Mobile marketing: mobile advertising

    Finally, there is mobile advertising. It is a form of advertising on mobile devices.

    Businesses can advertise their products or services via SMS text, social media, web pages, or mobile apps.

    There are many types of ad displays, for example:

    • Push notifications or pop-ups

    • Banner ads on websites

    • In-app advertisements

    • Social media and Google ads

    A typical KPI to measure mobile advertising effectiveness is CPI (Cost Per Install). This is the money you pay for the entire ad campaign divided by the number of downloads. For example, if you spend £200 on mobile advertising and acquire 150 new installs, the cost per install is 200 / 150 = £ 1.33.

    Mobile Marketing Channels

    There are many mobile marketing channels, including:

    • SMS - this is the oldest mobile marketing channel. It involves companies sending customers messages via mobile phones.

    • Email - Email marketing also goes back a long way. It involves sending emails to users who have opted in their contact information.

    • Social media - companies can design targeted ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    • Websites - both the company's and influencers' websites are a great place to promote the company service. Regarding mobile marketing, websites need to be responsive (mobile-friendly) to provide users with a more seamless experience.

    • Mobile apps - advertisers can purchase ad spots in mobile apps to promote their services or products.

    The methods to reach customers on these channels also vary widely. Here are some examples:

    • Location-based - for example, you can create ads that target customers within one mile of your store.

    • QR codes - these are barcodes that contain information. Users can scan the code to download the app or visit the company's landing page.

    • In-game advertising - showing banner or video ads while people use the app.

    • Voice marketing - automated phone calls to promote goods and services

    • Mobile wallet - send offers via mobile wallet apps and reward points on the purchase.

    Grab is a popular taxi-hailing service in Asia. Upon downloading the app, customers also receive countless deals and discounts for their trips. They can also load their money to Moca Wallet by Grab to spend on taxi booking and delivery. The trip's fee will be converted into reward points they can use later to exchange for gifts or discounts.

    mobile marketing grab example StudySmarterFig. 1 - Grab Delivery Driver in Bangkok

    Mobile Marketing Examples

    Now that you know what mobile marketing is let's check out a couple of mobile marketing examples.

    Mobile marketing: Ogilvy's "Scrabble Wifi"

    Ogilvy is an example of an agency that nails mobile marketing. In 2015, the company partnered with Scrabble in a mobile campaign to acquire more app users. They came up with a brilliant idea to provide people with free wifi in low-signal areas by scrabbling words.

    You need to compose as many words out of the seven letters as possible. The more words you add, the more minutes wifi you have. With more than 6,000 words played, you can get 110,000 minutes of free Wifi! 6

    The campaign was a huge success, acquiring a staggering number of new users.

    Mobile marketing: Burger King's "Burn That Ad"

    Another creative mobile marketing example comes from the fast food giant Burger King. "Burn that Ad" was available to all Burger King app users in Brazil. Every time they point their smartphone to its competitors' ads, they can enjoy the sight of it being burned up and revealing a free Burger King Whopper.7

    It was a genius campaign that not only put smiles on users' faces but also inspired the use of augmented reality in marketing and enhancing customer experience.

    Mobile marketing: Ikea Place App

    Another inspiring use of augmented reality in mobile marketing is IKEA Place App. Have you ever purchased an item online only to return it later since it didn't fit into your space? IKEA has a solution for that. After installing the IKEA Place App from Google Play or App Store, you can see what IKEA's 3D simulated furniture looks like in your home before buying.8

    Mobile Marketing - Key takeaways

    • Mobile marketing is digital marketing targeting users on mobile devices.
    • The main benefits of mobile marketing are cheap costs, broad audience reach, and personalised messages.
    • The most common mobile marketing strategies include Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, SMS Marketing, and Mobile Advertising.
    • Email, SMS, social media, websites, and mobile apps are popular mobile marketing channels.
    • Companies can include modern technology like QR codes, augmented reality, mobile wallet, etc., to make the mobile shopping experience more engaging to customers.


    1. Dyfed Loesche, Mobile E-commerce is up and Poised for Further Growth,, 2018.
    2. Simon Kemp, Digital 2022: Global Overview Report,, 2022.
    3. Jason Wise, Instagram Shopping Statistics,, 2022.
    4. Flori Needle, 80+ Essential Social Media Marketing Statistics for 2022, 2022.
    5. Neil Patel, What are Influencers: Types, Examples & How Much They Make,, 2022.
    6. Ogilvy, Scrabble Wifi,, 2015.
    7. David SP Agency, Burn That Ad,
    8. IKEA Place App,
    9. Fig. 1 - Grab Delivery Driver Bangkok ( is licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0 (
    Frequently Asked Questions about Mobile Marketing

    What is the meaning of mobile marketing?

    Mobile marketing is digital marketing targeting users on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is part of omnichannel marketing where companies engage customers via multiple platforms and channels. 

    What is mobile marketing examples?

    A mobile marketing example is a company using mobile apps to interact and engage with customers. For example, Grab is a taxi-hailing service that not only allows people to book cars on its mobile app but also earn reward points and exchange them for gifts and discounts. 

    What is the most common channel in mobile marketing?

    The most common channels in mobile marketing include SMS, email, social media, websites, and mobile apps. 

    What is a mobile marketing strategy?

    A mobile marketing strategy is a strategy to engage customers on mobile devices. Mobile advertising is an example of a mobile marketing strategy. 

    What are the benefits of mobile marketing?

    Mobile marketing has many benefits, including cost-effectiveness, broad audience reach, and opportunities to personalise content. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Mobile marketing is the same as mobile advertising. 

    SMS texts in mobile marketing can be as long as a blog post. 

    QR codes can be useful to promote a website or app. 


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