Even the most experienced advertiser can make a slip up which costs them visibility and consumers. The common saying is “learn from your mistakes” – but it’s a bit more fun to learn from someone else’s.

So while you are asking yourself the highly valuable question: What did they do that worked? You need to equally question and analyze: What did they do that didn’t work?

Advertisers are jumping right into mobile this year, and with that comes a wealth of slip ups. Let’s take a look at 3 lessons we can learn from these failed Mobile campaigns…

1) Don’t Apply Desktop-Oriented Creative to Mobile Screens

It seems obvious, but it’s surprising the amount of jam-packed mobile display ads we still see. With a screen size about 1/5th (smartphone) or 1/3rd (tablet) the size of a normal desktop, advertisers have to prioritize what they put in an ad.

In these KFC ads, there is an image, message, hashtag, CTA button, social media buttons AND a deal. An average desktop ad can maybe fit all of that, but on mobile? Yeah right. The ad becomes overwhelming, distracting and doesn’t exactly entice a customer to visit your store.



Less is more! Your banner should highlight ONE feature and everything else (CTA, image, etc.) should be relevant to that key message – whether it’s promoting a deal, engaging in social media or announcing a new product.

2) Make Sure Your Local Content Shows Local Content

One of the main benefits of mobile advertising is being able to take advantage of geo-targeting, and directing content to where your customers are. Geo-targeting benefits especially apply to retailers with walk-in stores.

CVS heavily promotes their deals. They use enticing messages, but wouldn’t it be even more effective if the consumer knew there was a CVS around the corner?



If you’re an advertiser that relies on people coming to your location, make sure they know where the closest location is – especially when you have the technology to do so!

3) Avoid Sending Users On A Tapping Obstacle Course

Don’t have a consumer go through too many apps, browsers, and landing pages to get to where they want to be. General rule of thumb is no more than 2 taps or swipes!

Converse highlights their All Star Riff Sneaker in their display ad. However, when tapped, it just leads to the Converse homepage with no mention of this product. To find this shoe again, the consumer has to tap a subsequent 3 times and scroll. Chances are they would have dropped off and gone to a competitor’s site to get what they need.



It can be easy to get swept into all of the great campaigns that other brands are putting out there. And with a development as influential as mobile, many advertisers look to each other for inspiration. However, it’s valuable to take a step back and see what’s also gone wrong for others. After all, the more that you learn from others’ mistakes, the less you have to make them yourself.

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