Your Ultimate Mobile Advertising Guide in 2024: The Do’s and Don’ts

ultimate advertising guide

Internet users spend 57.1% of their time browsing the internet on mobile devices. That’s how much the mobile market has grown in recent years. 

So, if a good chunk of your advertising budget isn’t already dedicated to mobile advertising, then it’s time to rethink your strategy.

This guide focuses on the big four mobile advertising platforms: Google Mobile Ads, Facebook Mobile Ads, Instagram Mobile Ads, and Twitter Mobile Ads.

We’ll start with stats and then zero in on strategies, tips, best practices, and examples from successful brands.

But first, for the uninitiated, let’s quickly go over what mobile advertising is and how it works:

What’s Mobile advertising?

It’s all in the name – mobile advertising is simply the process of creating ads that are specific to mobile users. 

The ads can include banner ads, video ads, native ads, interstitials, and more. These advertisements are then displayed on mobile apps or websites that users access through their phones or tablets.

YouTube video

Why is it Important?

As mentioned earlier, there’s a surge in mobile internet usage. 

That means that users spend most of their online time browsing their phones and tablets, which presents a massive opportunity for businesses to reach their target audience.

How Does It Work?

Mobile and desktop advertising are different in a few keyways. 

Firstly, mobile ads are specifically designed for smaller screens and touch interactions. That means the creative elements, such as images and text, must be optimized for smaller sizes.

Secondly, targeting options for mobile advertising can be more specific than desktop advertising because of the wealth of data available from mobile devices. Advertisers can target users based on location, demographics, interests, and even specific app usage.

Thirdly, mobile users have different intentions from desktop users. They are often on the go, multitasking and looking for quick information or entertainment. Therefore, their ads must be attention-grabbing and convey a clear message in a short amount of time.

Research also shows that about 92% of users who search Google through their mobile devices end up purchasing or visiting a physical store within 24 hours. So, it’s safe to say that mobile searches come with high intent and potential for conversions.

The Six Major Mobile Ad Platforms

As mentioned, we’ll focus on Google Mobile Ads, Facebook Mobile Ads, TikTok Mobile Ads, Instagram Mobile Ads, and Twitter Mobile Ads.

1. Google Mobile Search Ads

It’s no hard science: when someone wants to buy something, they often turn to Google for answers. 

First, they’ll research the product or service as they try to figure out their way through the buying process. 

Once they know what they want, they’ll compare prices and features using Google again. 

Finally, when they’re ready to make a purchase, they’ll go to Google for the last time, this time to find a store. 

website design banner

Doing the bare minimum (setting up an ad campaign with automatic bidding and targeting) may get you some results, but to truly succeed in Google Mobile Search Ads, you need to optimize and tailor your ads for mobile users.

Here are a few strategies that can help:

Create a Sense of Urgency

You must consider the immediate need of the user and respond with a relevant call to action. 

For example, the customer could be out shopping for a TV and want to know which store has the best deal. 

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If your ad copy conveys that there’s a limited-time offer or low stock, it can prompt them to make a purchase decision faster.

What’s your unique selling proposition? What sets you apart from your competitors? Are you the most affordable option? Do you offer free shipping or a special deal? Whatever it may be, it helps to highlight it in your ad.

Utilize Responsive Search Ads

Google has discontinued ad customizers in favour of responsive search ads (RSAs). 

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RSAs are a great way to automatically test different ad combinations and let Google’s machine-learning algorithms determine the best-performing versions depending on the user’s search query.

You enter multiple headlines, descriptions, and paths, and Google combines them in different ways to serve an ad that best matches the user’s intent.

Google allows you to add up to 15 headlines and four descriptions for a single RSA. 

You can only have three headlines and two descriptions in regular search ads. 

So, RSAs provide more space for ad text and, therefore, more opportunities to grab the user’s attention.

The Ad Should Take the User to a Mobile-optimized Landing Page

Once you’ve managed to get the user’s attention with your ad, you don’t want to lose them because of a poorly optimized landing page. 

Consider the user’s intention and ensure the landing page is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and has a clear call to action.

Whatever the user has in mind, be it buying a product, downloading an app, or signing up for a service, the landing page should make it easy and quick for them to do so.

Don’t take them through unnecessary hoops like filling out long forms or pinching and zooming to view the page.

Utilize Ad Extensions

Ad extensions are a great way to provide additional information directly in your ad, such as location, phone number, reviews, and more. 

They not only make your ads more informative but also take up more space on the search results page, increasing visibility and click-through rates.

Plus, ad extensions are free to use and easy to set up.

Location extensions will show your store’s address and a map with directions to users who are located nearby, making it easier for them to visit your physical store.

Call extensions allow users to call you directly from the ad, saving them time and effort in finding your contact information.

Sitelink extensions can direct users to specific pages on your website, highlighting different products or services.

These are just a few ad extensions available. You want to review them, see which ones are most relevant to your business, and add them to your campaigns for maximum impact.

2. Facebook and Instagram Mobile Ads

Whether or not you should advertise on Facebook and Instagram depends on your target audience. 

It also depends on the intentions you have for the campaign.

If you are targeting a younger audience, Instagram may be more effective as it has a higher percentage of younger users than Facebook.

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Also, if you plan to use the ads to create a direct relationship with your target audience, we’re sorry to tell you you might end up disappointed. 

Both Facebook and Instagram ads are excellent for brand awareness, user engagement, and driving traffic to your website or app.

Different studies have also found that desktop users on Facebook are more likely to purchase than mobile users. They have a 24% higher conversion rate.

So, should you avoid mobile ads on Facebook and Instagram? Not necessarily. 

Mobile still has a significant share of Facebook’s ad revenue, so it’s not something you want to ignore completely.

Here are some strategies to make sure your Facebook and Instagram mobile ads are effective:

Target Users Who Specifically Search for Your Site or Business

Facebook and Instagram allow you to target users who have previously searched for your website or business.

It would help if you first understood who your target audience is.

You can do this by first logging into your Google Analytics account and going to Report > Examine User Behaviour > Overview > View Platforms (Under New Users by Platform). 

If the bulk of your website traffic comes from mobile, then you know that’s where the majority of your audience is.

Once you have a clear idea of your mobile audience demographics, you can use this information to target them on Facebook and Instagram.

How About Instagram Mobile Ads

Instagram ads have a lot in common with Facebook ads.

First, they’re managed by the same ad platform and offer the same targeting options.

Second, your Instagram ads may also appear on Facebook’s mobile app. 

So, by running ads on Instagram, you’re essentially getting two platforms for the price of one.

However, there are a few key differences to keep in mind when creating Instagram ads:

First, Instagram users tend to be younger, with the majority falling into the 18-24 (16.9%) and 25-34 (16.4%) age range.

Second, Instagram is a visual platform, so your ads should be visually appealing and eye-catching. 

Utilize high-quality images or videos that showcase your product or service in action.

You can also use Instagram’s filters and editing tools to make your ad stand out.

So, if you’re still torn on whether to run your ad on Instagram, ask yourself if your audience consists of younger users and if your product or service lends itself well to visual representation.

If the answer is yes, then go for it! Instagram ads can be a valuable addition to your mobile advertising strategy. 

Remember to use relevant hashtags and engage with your audience through comments and messages for even better results.

3. TikTok Ads

A few years ago, nobody could have predicted the explosive growth of TikTok.

Launched in 2016, TikTok’s popularity skyrocketed in 2019 and 2020, hitting over 1 billion users and 3.5 billion downloads worldwide.

Unsurprisingly, marketers have taken notice and are now incorporating TikTok into their mobile advertising strategies.

But does it make sense for your business?

The short answer is it depends.

TikTok has a primarily younger audience, with 40.32% of users between 18 and 24.

If this is your target demographic, TikTok ads may be worth considering.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to TikTok advertising:

First, TikTok Ads Are Still New

TikTok only recently launched its advertising platform, and it’s still relatively new compared to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

However, it has the highest engagement rate among all social media platforms, making it an attractive option for businesses.

Second, TikTok Ads Are Expensive

TikTok ads are currently more expensive than other social media platforms, with a minimum spend of $500 per campaign.

Their ads start at $10 per CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions), which can add up quickly if you’re not careful.

So, if you have a limited budget, TikTok ads may not be the best choice for your business.

Facebook and Instagram mobile ads remain the top choices for businesses looking to expand their reach and connect with potential customers on mobile devices.

So, What Are the Best Practices for TikTok Advertising?

Pipiad ran a 600K ad campaign on TikTok, and he’s a few takeaways he was generous enough to share with the rest of us who aren’t ready to risk 600K on something we’re not sure about:

TikTok Mobile Ads Best Practises:

Videos with a 21 to 34-second duration have a 280% higher CTR (click-through rate) than longer or shorter videos.

9:16 videos (vertical format) work best. They have better conversions than 1:1 square video.

720p and above HD quality videos had 312% more conversions

4. User Generated Content (UGC) Ads

TikTok is all about user-generated content, and brands that embrace this concept tend to have better results with their ads.

Here’s Pipiad’s advice:

Use raw, authentic user-generated content (UGC) in your ads for better engagement and conversions.

Find creators who fit your brand and work with them to create UGC ads that feel like genuine TikTok videos.

Spark ads are one form of UGC ads that allow you to collaborate with top creators on TikTok. The creator creates an ad using their unique style, and brands run it using an authorization code.

What Works on Facebook Won’t Necessarily Work on TikTok

Remember that what works on Facebook or Instagram may not work on TikTok.

TikTok is a unique platform, and the content that performs well there may not perform as well on other social media platforms.

So, don’t make the mistake of repurposing your existing ads for TikTok without making the necessary adjustments.

Take the time to understand the platform and its audience, and create tailored content for TikTok.

TikTok Ad Timelines

TikTok ads take time to adjust and find their groove.

You might want to start small. To avoid budget wastage, spend at least $20 on each audience daily for testing before scaling.

It’s important to note that TikTok ads take time to adjust and find their groove.

Don’t expect immediate results, and be patient with your campaigns.

You might want to start small, spending at least $20 on each audience daily for testing before scaling up.

Give it at least a week or two before making any significant changes to your campaigns.

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Get Your Spins Ready

Start with at least three audiences per ad group to test different targeting options.

Use interest, behaviour, and demographic targeting to narrow down your audience and find the one that works best for your campaign.

If the ads aren’t delivering, adjust your targeting options and continue testing until you find the sweet spot.

Remember to test different ad creatives, such as videos with different lengths or user-generated content, versus professionally-made ads.

Types of TikTok Mobile Ads You Can Run

Not all mobile ads on TikTok are created equal. You can run different types of ads depending on your campaign objectives and budget.

In-Feed Ads:

These ads appear in users’ “For You” page feed, similar to regular TikTok videos.

They can be up to 60 seconds long and include a call-to-action button for users to click. 

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Brand Takeovers:

These ads are full-screen vertical ads that instantly appear when a user opens the app.

They can be images, GIFs, or videos up to 5 seconds long and include a call-to-action button.

Hashtag Challenges:

Hashtag challenges are another popular form of advertising on TikTok.

Brands can create their own unique hashtags and challenge users to create and share content using that hashtag.

This type of ad can generate a lot of user-generated content and engagement, but it can also be costly.

Branded Effects:

Branded effects allow brands to create custom stickers, filters, lenses, etc., for users to use in their videos. 

These ads can be highly engaging but require a higher budget and may not be suitable for all businesses.

Spark Ads:

As mentioned earlier, spark ads are a form of user-generated content where brands collaborate with creators to create authentic TikTok-style ads.

With this ad format, advertisers can create ads from existing videos, making the process more cost-effective and efficient.

Carousel Ads:

Carousel ads appear in the user’s feed and can showcase up to ten products or services in a single ad.

This type of ad is ideal for e-commerce businesses looking to showcase multiple products at once.

5. Snapchat Mobile Ads

Snapchat might still not be as popular as Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, but it’s still a viable platform for mobile advertising.

With over 406 million daily active users, Snapchat still commands a significant fanbase.

87% of Snapchat’s users are 35 or younger, making it an excellent platform for reaching more youthful demographics.

68% say they use the platform daily, making it a prime opportunity for consistent brand exposure. 

Snapchat offers a variety of ad formats, including Snap Ads, Story Ads, Collection Ads, and Filters and Lenses.

Each format has its own unique features and advantages, allowing businesses to choose the one that best fits their campaign objectives and target audience.

Best Practises for Running Snapchat Mobile Ads

So, what are the best practices for running Snapchat Mobile Ads? 

Generate Geofilters with Event-based Advertising

Snapchat’s geo-filters allow businesses to create unique filters that users can apply to their snaps within a specific location.

When you’re hosting an event or have a physical store, creating a geofilter can help increase brand awareness and engagement from attendees.

It’s an excellent strategy to advertise an event or encourage customers to visit your store.

Use Sponsored Lenses to Increase Engagement

Sponsored lenses are 3D objects, or animations users can add to their snaps.

These highly interactive and engaging ads make them perfect for promoting brand awareness and generating user-generated content.

Michael Kors has been doing this with their sunglasses filter. They let users try on their sunglasses through the lens and promote it on their Snapchat account.

Run Product Launches with Collection Ads

Collection ads allow businesses to showcase multiple products in a single ad, making it perfect for promoting new product launches or sales.

These ads can include up to four mini videos that users can swipe through, with each video linking directly to the product’s landing page. 

That makes it easier for users to browse and make a purchase, increasing the chances of conversion.

6. X (Formerly Twitter) Mobile Ads

It would be unfair to discuss mobile ads without mentioning one of the biggest players in the game: X.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, there isn’t a specific ad format or placement for mobile ads on X.

The same ads that appear on desktop also appear on mobile, making it essential to optimize your ad creatives for both platforms.

First, 80% of X users access the platform through their mobile devices, so ensuring your ads are visually appealing and easy to navigate on a smaller screen is crucial.

Second, use Twitter’s advanced targeting options to reach specific audiences more likely to engage with your ad.

That includes targeting based on keywords, interests, behaviours, and events or TV programming. 

Lastly, over 60% of Twitter users are between 18 and 49 years old, making it an excellent platform for reaching a younger demographic. 

The Best Practises for Twitter Mobile Advertising

Use Videos to Capture Attention

Twitter is a fast-paced platform, and videos are fast becoming the preferred content format for users.

Twitter users watch more than 2 billion videos per day, making it a highly engaging ad format for businesses.

Use short and attention-grabbing videos in your mobile ads to capture the scrolling user’s attention and encourage them to engage with your brand.

Select Your Ad Audience Carefully

As mentioned earlier, Twitter’s advanced targeting options allow businesses to reach specific audiences based on their interests, behaviours, and more.

Learn to filter out your audience based on gender, location, age, language, technology, and even their mobile network.

That will ensure that your ads are shown to the right audience, increasing the chances of conversion and engagement.

Mobile Advertising

Mobile ads are becoming the go-to advertising strategy for businesses seeking to reach their target audience effectively.

From TikTok and Snapchat to Twitter, each platform offers unique features and ad formats that can help businesses achieve their campaign objectives.

By following these best practices for running mobile ads on these platforms, businesses can create successful and engaging campaigns that drive conversions, increase brand awareness, and reach their desired audience. 

So, don’t shy away from experimenting with mobile ads and tapping into the vast potential of these platforms for your business’s growth.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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