Mobile Targeting

Mobile targeting involves addressing certain target groups on mobile devices. The ads are based on user-oriented criteria and are adapted to the technical requirements of smartphones and tablets.

Purpose of Mobile Targeting

Today, mobile ads reach people via their smartphone at any time, anywhere. However, users want to see as little advertising as possible on their mobile devices - they are annoying and get in the way of other content due to the smaller displays. This is all the more reason for mobile advertising to be geared to the user's context and needs so that they perceive it as added value and not as a disruption. This is where mobile targeting comes in. User data is transmitted via their mobile devices. In this way, their current context can be determined, and advertising content can be placed according to this context. This ultimately increases the relevance for the user.

Types of Mobile Targeting

There are different types of mobile targeting depending on which user data you want to target the contents of the ads on:

  • Geo-targeting - refers to the location of the user
  • Weekday/time targeting - refers to time-dependent user behavior
  • WLAN/3G targeting - refers to the Internet connection
  • Terminal device targeting - refers to the device type of the user
  • Operating system targeting - refers to the respective operating system such as iOS, Android
  • Provider targeting - refers to the network radio operator of the user
  • Category targeting - refers to fields of interest of the user

So far, geo-targeting and heading targeting have been used primarily for retargeting purposes.


Geo-targeting is the most commonly used method. GPS and Bluetooth enable the exact location of the user. Contextual information is linked to the user's location, such as weather conditions, time zone or nearby shops. Through mobile targeting, context-dependent advertising can now be placed in a targeted manner based on the customer journey and played out to the user, such as displaying local dealers or event tips from the surrounding area. This real-time advertising has the advantage of being more precisely tailored to the individual needs of the customer.

Mobile Retargeting

A special form of mobile targeting is mobile retargeting. This works according to the same principles as tracking and retargeting on a stationary computer: users are marked and then shown ads for products or services in which they are already interested. This increases the likelihood of purchase. According to studies, mobile retargeting already increases sales in the double-digit percentage range, whereby these are usually made via other channels (stationary Internet, local business).

Challenges of Mobile Targeting

Mobile targeting is still early in its development. Challenges include the different operating systems (iOS, Android), restrictions on advertising space (no autoplay video ads) or non-overarching tracking methods. For example, cookies can only be set on mobile websites and not in apps. These track via a device ID (e.g. Apple: IDFA, Google: Advertising ID). Tracking from website to app or from app to app is not yet possible, but would contribute significantly to optimizing relevance and performance.

Benefits of Mobile Marketing

US studies predict an increase in mobile video ad sales of 73 percent within the next five years[1]. The expected growth rate for desktop online ads in the same period is compared to just 15 percent[2]. This opens up enormous potential for mobile marketing. By including the current context and the individual needs of the user, mobile targeting opens up the added value of mobile ads for them. The increasing relevance for the user results in less wastage and higher performance for the advertiser. Mobile targeting is therefore an effective and efficient optimization measure for mobile marketing.


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