Over the last two years, much has been devoted to the importance of mobile trading for brokers. Covered much less has been mobile advertising. With estimates from brokers suggesting up to 50% of their customers use tablets or smartphones to check on prices or place trades, it would make sense that targeting these same traders through mobile advertising would yield positive results. Despite the synergies though, mobile-based advertising is rarely cited by firms as a source of lead generation. However, with conversion costs estimated at 25% to 50% lower than that of regular display advertising, Forex Magnates has been hearing more talk from brokers and app developers about the potential of mobile-based advertising.
For advertisers, using mobile advertising to bring visitors to a website works like any other display banner. The trick part is how and what to sell them. Unlike typical landing pages that are optimized for signups, mobile users tend to shy away from long contact forms and are more likely to be engaged with a site when it quickly provides relevant information.
To create a solution, mobile marketing experts have focused initiatives that take users directly to apps which can be downloaded instantly, or to landing pages which are optimized for mobile, such as those which provide a free product in return for a verifiable cell phone number. Early examples of having success with generating mobile leads have been app developers such as Trade Interceptor and NetDania.
Slower to adopt customized mobile advertising though have been Forex brokers. However, during 2014, there has been an increase of firms dipping their toes into mobile campaigns. A recent example was IG Markets, which has been sourced to actively purchase mobile ads to target iOS users to download its trading app.
Explaining the shift in focus towards mobile advertising, Ron Brightman, CEO of Performance Revenues, operator of a performance-based mobile advertising network, cited costs as the main reason brokers are beginning to embrace it. Brightman described saying,“In Forex there is an opportunity for brokers to advertise in mobile. Where costs of leads can be as high as $50 in affiliates or traditional display networks, it is around $10-$30 in mobile because currently there is almost no competition in this vertical.”
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Brightman mentioned that the main benefits versus display are cost, and this is what brings attention to mobile advertising, but he added, “Quality of leads is better on mobile.” Brightman explained that with mobile, the “journey to becoming a lead is longer,” meaning a user needs to click a banner to reach an iTunes or Google Play download page. They then have to decide to make the download. After downloading, installing and opening the app, a registration should appear in the form of a popup or link. Brightman summarized the result as “more friction taking place before registration, so leads become more qualified.” According to Brightman, brokers using mobile advertising and funneling users to an iOS or Android app have seen about a 20% registration mark. With an average cost of $1.5 to $6 per download, this converts to cost of leads between $10 to $30.
Even with the expected cost savings, optimization plays a large part in the process. Brightman explained, “With brokers, this means working with them to push them to promote via apps instead of landing pages.” As opposed to display advertising which is priced in costs per clicks or thousands of impressions, app-based campaigns on mobile-based networks are often calculated on a cost per download basis. For publishers, this means that over the longer-term they will migrate towards only offering mobile ads of apps with high download rates and increased payouts for the mobile traffic.
On the broker side, this causes a direct need to optimize their iTunes and Google Play pages for maximum effectiveness to trigger downloads. Brokers also have to take into account the post-download process till registration, as the process is filled with friction, with users needing to create and confirm their accounts either via emails or entering a code from an SMS. But once users pass the registration process, an added benefit to app users is the ability to send alerts directly to their smartphones and tablets, thus providing a lower barrier for engagement when compared to desktops and laptops.
One drawback of mobile apps is the availability of deposits. Very few brokers provide users the ability to deposit directly from their mobile devices. In an ideal world, app users would deposit directly with their connected iTunes or Google Play account. However, with Google and Apple taking 30% of the transaction, that method is out of the question.
One solution for mobile that is emerging, are synced accounts. Once a deposit method becomes verified in a trader’s client portal page, brokers typically don’t require users to re-enter details to issue additional deposits. As a result, apps can be customized to connect with web-based client deposit pages to provide in-app funding. An example was the release of in-app deposits on FXCM’s TradingStation mobile platform.
On the whole, mobile continues to provide an opportunity for brokers. With apps there is the potential for decreased costs of user acquisitions, increasing user activity with higher engagement, and potentially for in-app funding. But, succeeding with mobile also requires using a different strategy for optimizing client acquisitions, educating new customers and keeping them engaged.