How to adjust B2B advertising for viewing on phones

It may seem like eons ago but it’s only a few short years since B2B advertisers and ad agencies focused on tried and true print magazine advertising while paying little attention to the corresponding digital versions of trade magazines – sure, a nice bonus or add-on, but it wasn’t considered a key driver of ad campaign success. This began to shift as advertisers paid increasing attention to their google analytics data and documented more and more clicks and quote requests coming via their Websites from ads and articles in these digital editions. Today, amid lockdowns and quarantines, many industrial equipment buyers are home reading these digital editions on their laptops and phones while the print editions sit in their offices. Some publishers have worked hard to add home mailing addresses to boost deliverability yet nearly all have increased the circulation of their digital magazines.

Advertising Message – You Get Only One

Scroll through a digital edition as a pdf or swipe online from page to page on even the largest size phone and it’s clear that many advertisers and their marketing teams still aren’t paying attention to how viewing magazines on a phone changes how – and whether – ads are viewed and read, and how and whether key sales messages are retained.

While many advertisers desperately squeeze as many different messages into their ads as they can, multiple ad messages dilute and compete with the most important selling message, even in the largest tabloid size print ads. Now apply this to an ad shrunken down to 2-1/2 inches on a phone. It will look cluttered at best and send many prospects on their way back to scrolling or swiping.

Digital magazines are getting more views than ever so the value of the ad space has increased accordingly but it hardly matters if the ad’s look and message fail to translate to the phone. To get advertising noticed on a small screen, consider these:

  1. Focus on one message. This may feature a new product or service, a customer testimonial, or another key message. But if you want the message to be remembered then you get only one.
  2. Feature a large headline with minimal ad copy. It’s not easy to get someone in the middle of scrolling or swiping to stop and read an ad. A short, effective headline instantly connects with the target audience and draws the prospect into the ad. Short, tight ad copy entices a click through to the Website.
  3. White space is your friend. To make every cent of the advertising investment count, many advertisers fill every bit of ad space with photos, text, logos, and more. Use white space to create breathing room that makes the headline, copy and featured image(s) stand out and get noticed.
  4. Be careful with reverse type. White text on a black background is typically more difficult to read than black text on a white background. It’s already difficult to read small type on a phone, be sure to make the message as easy to read and understand as possible.
  5. Use a separate link to track clicks. This allows clicks to show up in google analytics and may be used to track the path prospects take through the Website all the way to a quote request or e-commerce purchase.
  6. Try a full-page campaign to ensure the ad gets noticed when shrunk down. Fractionals can get overlooked very easily.

For guidance on adjusting an ad campaign to dominate the small screen, call epr at 908-479-4231 or

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Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life explores every facet of marketing from advertising, PR and lead generation to content marketing, direct response and the latest in marketing automation – and more. Paul Entin’s Marketing In Real Life provides real-life insight into the relationship among sales, marketing, and customer service – and the customer – plus quick commentary from epr founder, Paul Entin.