2016 was a landmark year for mobile advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). For the first time, mobile ads represented the highest share of internet advertising revenues (51 percent), more than all other forms of advertising (search, digital video and “other”) combined.

Though it was a slim majority, mobile’s ascension to the top of the advertising heap represents the culmination of years of growth. The IAB started tracking mobile ad data in 2011, and since then, mobile’s share of the market has grown tenfold, from just 5 percent in 2011 to its dominant position today.

The trends are a clear sign of the times. Advertisers are more confident in the value of mobile advertising in part because of the medium’s growing popularity. Smartphones are in 80 percent of U.S. homes, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a new record. At 96 percent, the television is the only piece of technology with better penetration in U.S. homes.

The takeaway? Mobile advertising is an increasingly relevant way for advertisers to reach their audience. But, it’s important to spend wisely. That’s why advertisers should consider pairing mobile ad spend with one other highly effective form of audience engagement: direct mail.

What is Mobile Advertising?

Mobile ads, naturally, are those that appear on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, rather than desktop PCs. Mobile ads include many of the traditional formats seen in desktop advertising, from banner to search to video ads, but with content tailored to fit smaller screens. Advertisers can also further personalize mobile ads based on unique consumer data, including location intelligence or buying behaviors, to improve effectiveness.

Why Mobile Advertising Matters

Mobile ads are effective because they reach a large and, most importantly, captive audience. The average American spends around five hours per day in front of a mobile screen, according to analytics firm Flurry. The company found that all of that time on our phones is actually cutting into TV time, which may give advertisers food for thought in terms of how they spend their ad dollars.

Engagement isn’t just about time spent on the medium – it’s also about action. Mobile ads perform well in that category, too, with 76 percent of mobile buyers saying they’ve engaged with a mobile ad in the last six months, according to IAB. Those actions include clicking on an ad to find out more information, clicking through to visit the advertiser’s website, or clicking through to make a purchase.

Combining Mobile and Direct Mail

So, if mobile ads already perform well on their own, how could direct mail make a positive difference? Put simply, combining them amplifies the benefits of two highly effective forms of marketing. Generally speaking, the combination of physical and digital communications lifts response rates around 45 percent, according to Infotrends.

Direct mail delivers the highest ROI of any B2C marketing channel, with response rates 30 times higher than email. It’s also the preferred method of outreach for nearly three-quarters of consumers.

It’s not hard to see how sending a piece of targeted direct mail to a customer before, during or after they’ve received a mobile ad could improve the effectiveness of that campaign. This strategy allows you to reach each customer on the physical and digital platforms where they’re most likely to be engaged, maximizing the opportunity to extend the length of a campaign, make an impact and get results.

Ready to combine mobile advertising and direct mail? Keep reading to learn the effective mail + mobile strategies marketers need to drive successful omni-channel campaigns.

You can also request more information about Synchronize™ Mail + Mobile, a solution from Pitney Bowes that allows you to boost campaign response by enhancing physical communications with mobile ads.