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Can mobile ads drive mobile payment adoption?

Feb 05, 2014 Dave King

Mobile payments have been labeled as the next big thing in electronic payments for several years, however, the concept has failed to reach the mainstream. Despite the promise of convenience that the technology offers, it's still very much a niche system of paying for items.

One of the often cited reasons for this lack of use is the fact that the market is extremely fragmented. While many vendors and businesses are keen to get involved in mobile transactions, the sheer number of payment portals and technologies available to retailers means no single solution will give them access to a large segment of consumers.

In fact, many outlets have found that investing in expensive mobile payment hardware can be a drain on finances rather than a boost to the bottom line.

Despite these growing pains, mobile transactions are still very much the wave of the future according to many payment industry leaders. However, the task for the sector is to find unique ways to promote the technology and get users more comfortable accessing mobile portals.

As with many things, advertising is becoming one of the best ways to grab the attention of the mobile consumer. More companies are starting to enter the smartphone ad sphere, but there are still many question marks that accompany the trend. Most notably, marketers are considering which technologies offer the best medium for engaging consumers.

Consumers want deals, simplicity
According to data from SessionM and Millward Brown, deals and coupons are more likely to pique a mobile users' interests than other tactics commonly used to reach consumers via ads, such as free tools or product news.

With this data, companies may be able to better tailor their mobile ad strategy to interact with more consumers, which could translate in a spike in mobile payments.

Another strategy that outlets are using to harness mobile payment is offering more simplicity to consumers. When a smartphone user is required to fill in long credit card form or personal information, it can make them think twice about purchasing from a mobile device that features long load times and small keys.

This is precisely the issue Facebook tried to solve when it entered the mobile payment game last years. GigaOM reported that the social media giant did not actually conduct mobile transactions, it only provided a way for users to automatically input their personal information into payment fields via Facebook.

Doing so gave their ad partners more visibility and boosted the Facebook brand. This simplicity could go a long way to increasing mobile transactions and engagement.