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Mobile Marketing vs Mobile Advertising: Definitions, Examples, and Applications

Businesses of all sizes are in constant competition with one another to gain the attention of their target audience. Without a doubt, using digital marketing and advertising is a necessary way to do that. And with the increase in smartphone usage around the world, mobile marketing methods are also evolving to help businesses reach more people.

Mobile marketing, mobile advertising, and digital marketing. All these concepts go hand in hand. While mobile marketing and advertising are examples of digital marketing, they are separated from the umbrella term because of their concentrations in mobile formats. 

Mobile marketing also encompasses mobile advertising, as advertising is one of many marketing tactics. However, mobile advertisement specifically refers to the displaying of advertisements on mobile devices. It’s important to know the distinctions and definitions of each. While many entrepreneurs know the importance of each, they may not be clear on how each strategy can help them. In this article, we’ll look at the difference between mobile marketing and advertising. We’ll also give some examples and explanations of type.


What is Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is a form of digital marking concentrated solely on mobile internet users via smartphones. Where digital marketing encompasses email marketing, online advertisements, and any marketing that exists in an online format, mobile marketing concentrates on a digital smartphone and tablet format. The purpose is to engage the users always on the go. 

This means utilizing and perfecting strategies geared towards a mobile-user demographic rather than generalizing to all internet and digital users. Mobile marketing is a broader strategy. It encompasses all marketing efforts targeting mobile users. This includes advertising, app development, SEO, content creation, and CRM.  


What is Mobile Advertising

On the other hand, mobile advertising specifically refers to the practice of displaying ads on mobile devices. It is the creation of advertisements to be shown on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It involves promoting products, services, or brands through various mobile channels. 

Mobile advertising has become an essential part of digital marketing strategies for many businesses. This is due to the increasing use of mobile devices and the growing popularity of mobile apps and mobile web browsing. It focuses specifically on delivering ads to mobile users. The goal is to promote products, services, or brands. This type of advertising seeks to reach a wide and engaged audience. However, it can be highly targeted to reach specific demographics or locations. This is done by leveraging mobile-specific features like geolocation and mobile payment options.

Using paid mobile and desktop advertising is a best practice for all businesses that want to reach an audience. 

Mobile Marketing Examples

When people think of mobile marketing the first thought they may have is SMS/MMS marketing. Push notifications are a great example of a mobile marketing tactic used to tailor advertisements to your demographic. All while allowing you to personalize the consumer’s phone. Messages, offers or alerts are sent to mobile devices via text messages in a promotional context for the business model.

Location-based marketing is another example of mobile marketing. This popular type of mobile marketing uses mobile devices’ GPS capabilities to deliver targeted offers or promotions to users based on their physical location. For example, a restaurant may send a coupon to users when they are near their location, encouraging them to visit. One advantage of mobile marketing is that it reaches potential customers where ever they go. Location-based marketing can help businesses reach targeted customers closest to them.

Another well-known example is the use of QR (Quick Response) codes. These are scannable codes that can be printed on various marketing materials that direct users to specific landing pages, offers, or promotions when scanned. This includes posters, flyers, packaging, or business cards. We most regularly see them in food service though. This was due to the recent pandemic that forced many restaurants to move their menus and product marketing to an online format. 

Gamification is a growing mobile strategy that is being shown as an effective tool to increase engagement. The strategy involves using mobile games or gamified experiences to engage with users and promote products or services. This can include branded games and mobile app games with in-app purchases. It can also include loyalty programs that offer rewards for engaging with gamified content. This works especially well for those in the mobile gaming industry, as marketing and consumer engagement would happen in one place. 

Mobile Advertising Examples

As mentioned before, mobile advertising is a type of mobile marketing. One key difference is that businesses can expect to pay for all types of mobile advertising methods. While mobile and digital advertising is still much more cost-effective that

  • Banner ads– These are one of the most common types of mobile advertising. They are displayed at the top or bottom of mobile apps or websites in the form of graphical images or text. They often encourage users to click on them to learn more about a product or service. While 
  • Interstitial Ads– Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that appear at natural transition points within a mobile app or website, such as between levels of a game or when transitioning between pages. They usually cover the entire screen, and users must either interact with them or dismiss them to continue using the app or website.
  • Native ads-These are designed to blend seamlessly with the content of a mobile app or website. The aim is to make them appear more like organic content rather than traditional ads. They are typically labeled as “sponsored” or “promoted”. These types of ads can take many forms including text, images, or videos. 
  • Video Ads– Video ads are short video clips that play within mobile apps or websites, most popularly seen on platforms like Youtube. They can be skippable or non-skippable and can appear before, during, or after content. Video ads are effective in capturing users’ attention and delivering engaging messages.
  • Sponsored Influencer Content– Sponsored influencer content involves partnering with influencers on social media platforms to create mobile ads that promote products or services. These ads can be in the form of sponsored posts, stories, or videos, and they leverage the influencers’ large followings to reach a wider audience.


Learning about the different types of mobile marketing and advertising is the first step toward determining which is the best marketing tactic for your business model. If targeting consumers in a mobile format is the route that works best for you, consider all these various options when deciding how to narrow that focus.

Also read:

Mobile Marketing vs Email Marketing: Understanding the Difference Between Them

Mobile Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Which Should Businesses Choose?

Kyleigh Krames on Linkedin
Kyleigh Krames
Team Writer: Kyleigh Krames is a student and writer who likes to combine both passions on her trips around the world. Whether it's taking an online Spanish class in Hawaii or writing about her experience as a western female tourist in Saudi Arabia, she continues writing to sustain her education and digital nomad lifestyle. If she's not writing away in Boston then she's most likely exploring some place new.

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Team Writer: Kyleigh Krames is a student and writer who likes to combine both passions on her trips around the world. Whether it's taking an online Spanish class in Hawaii or writing about her experience as a western female tourist in Saudi Arabia, she continues writing to sustain her education and digital nomad lifestyle. If she's not writing away in Boston then she's most likely exploring some place new.

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