Mobile advertising companies: how to choose the best one

Mobile advertising companies: how to choose the best one

It seems that mobile advertising companies are everywhere. From the established offerings of Google to small start-up app developers, everyone wants to cash in on the popularity of mobile. As of January 2018, 77% of adults in the U.S. have a smartphone, making this an advertising market with massive reach and a major impact. However, the skills that mobile advertising companies offer can vary quite a bit. Finding the best mobile advertising companies is about looking for the five factors that set them apart from the rest: a strong user experience, innovative features, anti-fraud compliance, detailed analytics, and an established reputation.

Those five factors ensure a mobile advertising company has the technology, clout, and dedication to service and customer experience that a brand needs to boost sales through mobile marketing. Mobile advertising is competitive but very lucrative for the brands that manage their campaigns effectively. Brands should partner with companies that offer the features consumers demand along with the technology, experience, and reputation a brand needs to pull market share from their competitors.

Giving Customers What They Want With a Strong User Experience

Consumers have already voted for the kinds of apps they appreciate, and companies should take note. The top downloaded apps in both the App Store and Google Play offer similar sets of features: they provide a fun experience, incentivize activity, and engage consumers with video. As such, a good digital advertising company will offer the following options:

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Gamification takes a regular, mundane event and makes it fun. It’s a proven method for gaining consumer attention. Gamification can be taken very literally, in that brands create a mobile game based on their product, or it can be a strategy based around gaming, one that’s designed to incorporate something else. Popular fitness trackers that offer users challenges for meeting certain exercise milestones are a prime example of this form of gamification.

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Rewards often go hand-in-hand with a gamification strategy, as they recognize a user’s accomplishment. Consider Shopkick, which takes consumers on a digital scavenger hunt to find products and locations. When those consumers go to certain locations or interact with participating products, they receive point rewards—known as kicks—which can later be redeemed for gift cards. Such rewards are often viewed as being more valuable than their face value amount, thanks to the embedded emotional reward the consumer receives in earning the reward and again when collecting on it later.

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Of all the digital advertising channels, video is the most powerful at converting passive viewers into active shoppers. In one study, it was noted that adding a video to an email marketing message increased click-through rates by as much as 300%. Using video ads in a mobile advertising campaign isn’t just an option, it’s a necessity. Consumers prefer video to both text and image-based advertising, and it’s capable of reaching active and passive audiences. When working with a mobile advertising agency, look for companies that offer video platforms.

The best mobile advertising company will provide the features users demand. Working with them, you can offer consumers a better customer experience, while also staying ahead of the competition. Offering advanced tech features that other companies haven’t yet adopted is also a good way to stand out.

Adding Advanced Tech to Gain Consumer Awareness

Being among the first companies to deliver innovation is always a good way to excite the consumer. Some newer marketing options out there haven’t yet found digital advertising market saturation, which gives early adopters an edge due to the limited pool of competitors. A few emerging technologies to consider include:

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While beacon technology has been around for a few years, companies are finding more precise methods of geotracking in apps to pinpoint a consumer to their location within a store. This allows for better, more accurate mobile advertisements that reach consumers at that all important moment when they’re in the shopping aisle.

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Augmented Reality:

A few companies have rolled out their own augmented reality (AR) apps as a means of tying the digital and physical worlds together. Because AR is in high demand, the best mobile advertising companies are seeking out ways to leverage AR to engage with consumers.

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Voice-based Assistants:

Smart home devices, like smart speakers and wearables, primarily rely on voice to allow users to work with them. Companies planning marketing campaigns in the future may need to look for ways to offer voice integration.

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Mobile Pay:

Consumers are shifting their payment methods to the digital universe with mobile wallets. As the technology becomes more widespread, expect consumers to want more mobile payment options. Mobile payment options are also a good time for upsell opportunities since additional products and services can be recommended to the consumer based on what is in their shopping basket.

Adopting advanced tech—like any of these four features—will help a brand stand out. Moreover, integrating them into your mobile strategy could help improve the adoption and retention of your branded app. A publisher offering these services is one that’s clearly at the forefront of trends. However, remember that all the high-tech features in the world won’t mean a thing if that company can’t provide high-quality traffic.

Seeking Out Companies That Combat Ad Fraud

Any company engaging in a mobile marketing campaign needs to work with those who combat ad fraud. Ad fraud associated with pay-per-impression and pay-per-click campaigns can vary  but typically uses false traffic—which appears to be coming from real users—to collect revenue from a company that has paid to display an ad. To avoid the possibility of this kind of fraud, work with a company with a proven track record of combatting ad fraud, seek out industry recognized anti-fraud credentials from respected organizations, and ensure the company you choose has policies that protect both the users of the program and the clients they partner with. To verify this, look for:

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Partnerships with the Trustworthy Accountability Group:

This group provides a TAG Certified Against Fraud Program certification badge for publishers that meet certain guidelines in actively preventing fraud.

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Audits from the Media Rating Council:

MRC compliance covers the proper measuring of traffic. To be considered MRC compliant, a company needs to pass an audit of their prior traffic and measuring processes.  

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Clear User Terms:

When working with a mobile app, you should carefully review the terms of service users of their service sign to ensure that data is stored carefully and collected legally. Consumers must give retail mobile apps permission to access user information and the permission type should be clearly stated in the user agreement, so the company ensures they’re only accessing data that the consumer agreed to release.

Companies that have these certifications and protocols in place are ones that are prepared to offer real, relevant traffic for your mobile app marketing strategy, which provides a greater impact for marketing budgets while also giving relevant information to marketers. The data required to validate traffic is the same data needed to advise on marketing campaigns.

Gaining Detailed Analytics Through Mobile Marketing Moments

A good mobile marketing platform doesn’t just offer impactful campaigns, it also gives the data needed to create better campaigns in the future. The data a mobile platform can gather through customer permission can be used to gain valuable insight on clear purchase indicators. This data can give information on:

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Incremental Sales ROI:

With the right data, brands can see exactly how marketing impacts a customer through all parts of the purchase journey. This allows brands to adjust or expand strategies as needed.

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New Customer Acquisitions:

Companies should be able to see how many individuals who purchased something through the campaign are new—versus returning—customers. New customers are necessary for gaining market share. Data that shows how effectively a campaign converts new customers into buyers will directly impact the company’s bottom line.

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Ad Impressions and Completed Views:

These metrics offer  insight particularly on video ads, which can be expensive to produce and roll out on a mass scale. This data informs brands how long users are watching videos, the completion rate as well as the actions taken afterward. Such information helps determine the level of brand awareness created by running mobile ads and whether the ad is worth rolling out on other mediums.

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In-store Product Engagement:

Getting consumers to engage with products in the store is often the first step on the path to purchase. In-store product engagement, whether it’s obtained through geotracking-based data or barcode scans, shows a brand how often consumers are seeing their product in-store as well as how often those consumers make a purchase afterward.

These are only a few of the insights that are available through a well-managed mobile marketing campaign. Platforms providing this data use it to both show the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and to give advertisers insight into consumer behaviors. This goes a long way towards helping a brand build the reputation it needs to gain attention in the crowded marketplace.

Vetting the Reputation of Mobile Advertising Companies

Attracting the best user base means working with the best companies. Mobile advertising platforms are only as good as their reputation, so you want to thoroughly vet the mobile advertising company you’re considering. The best way to do that is online.

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Look for testimonials and case studies:

Brands with proven experience share that experience via their client testimonials. However, when looking at these testimonials, you need to look for real numbers that discuss incremental sale lifts and new customers acquisitions. This will provide the real data needed to determine if a company can deliver impact.

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Seek out online reviews:

Consider looking for online reviews in places like Google and on industry-specific sites. These can provide the customer’s perspective and will help you determine if the firm is a good fit for your brand.

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Find company leaders in the news:

Often, when a company is particularly promising, information about them is available from interviews the leadership team has completed in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Business Journal, and more. Such stories are typically a good sign that the company has come up with an innovative idea or product and can give you the edge you need. Just be careful of “advertorials,” which is an article that a company has paid to have placed in a magazine. (Most are identified as such.) While the company may still have a strong base of industry knowledge, the article is not unbiased like a regular article in the business or marketing news section.

A little reputation research will help you differentiate experienced mobile advertising companies from those that may not have the clout your brand needs to stand out. Read all the reviews, good and the bad, to make a determination about the company before you enter a contract. After checking the company’s reputation, you can then move on to vetting their features, certifications, and advantages.

Hiring a mobile advertising company is essentially about establishing a partnership: You want any company your brand associates with to reflect well on you. By thoroughly vetting and evaluating mobile advertising companies, and by hiring only the highest rated that can deliver emerging tech, you can see a strong ROI on sales, new customer conversions, and market share growth.

Shopkick is a mobile app offers real marketing insight and ROI to our partners. For more information, contact us.



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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.