Part of a Series Featuring NAA's 2016 Accelerator Pitch Program Winners

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In 2016 the global mobile advertising market is projected to surpass $100 billion in spending and account for more than 50 percent of all digital ad expenditure for the first time, according to eMarketer. As engagement with mobile digital media and mobile-optimized websites is on the rise, it is pivotal that the newspaper industry delivers on the interactive mobile experience desired by its audience. Brand X Mobile, a 2016 Accelerator Pitch program winner, believes the newspaper industry has the strong reader engagement and the trusted, quality content needed to create successful mobile experiences and ad offerings.

Brand X Mobile provides easy-to-use tools that allow companies to build and enhance their mobile websites or launch successful mobile ad campaigns without a proficiency in coding. It offers a "non tech" dashboard with simple drop and drag tools and enables clients to easily build their own ads to enhance the overall mobile experience. Additionally, the startup offers assistance to a company's web, social and marketing endeavors to help companies best navigate their mobile space.

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"I actually started to do some research on the newspaper industry because it seems like a very natural place to have mobile communication tools," said Drake LaDue, CEO and co-founder of Brand X Mobile. "We think that our tool site can help get those ad buyers to really recognize newspapers as being a place where people can buy instantly once they see an ad."

LaDue believes these tools can directly benefit newspapers by allowing them to expand audiences and boost both their advertising performance and mobile experiences without requiring their current staff to master a new technology skill.

Newspaper's can, LaDue emphasizes, create digital ads from their print product; however, challenges may arise when these designs and mobile experiences are being produced from clients who may not be qualified ad or mobile designers, affecting the overall experience.

"What you end up with is an experience that makes the end user very frustrated," LaDue said.

Successfully implementing digital advertising strategies for mobile from the print product is essential to both the ad campaign and the user experience. And those dissatisfied with their mobile experience may never come back.

According to Google's "What Users Want Most from Mobile Sites Today" report, 52 percent of mobile users said that an unsatisfactory mobile experience made them less likely to engage with that company. Furthermore, 61 percent would move on to another site if they were unable to find what they were looking for right away, resulting in a negative first impression and the potential for other sites to receive their business.

With an already engaged audience that believes in their product, newspapers have the opportunity to capture more ad dollars from the mobile advertising space by creating a seamless transition from print campaigns to mobile results. By appropriately leveraging QR or text codes within newspaper ads, news organizations can gain more data and measurable results for clients when users click through for more information on a mobile device.

"We have to make sure that we are displaying QR codes and text codes so the consumer who is on mobile will start to use the tools and then we'll start to see numbers grow," said LaDue, who recognizes the value of QR codes in the future, but also sees the challenges. "People think that the QR code and text codes are kind of passé or old and they're really not. Their numbers are growing massively for a lot of reasons. I'm hoping I can get everybody else to recognize that."

To create a positive first impression and consistent user experience, Brand X Mobile monitors and guides their clients through the process. In addition, the startup only offers the tools that have proven to be most successful in creating positive mobile experiences and compelling advertising campaigns.

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Looking ahead to NAA's Accelerator Pitch program at mediaXchange, LaDue is excited for what Brand X Mobile can offer the newspaper industry.

"I'm hoping that we can demonstrate what can be done with the right tools in hand and it doesn't mean that they have to take on the burden of the technology platform," said LaDue. "This tool works with the publisher. It helps them help their client realize that outcome that they want, which is that sale [from advertising]."

First Published: March 23, 2016