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Has Target forgotten that consumers don’t like to pinch and zoom?

The company is running mobile banner and full-page ads, as well as audio advertisements within Pandora’s iPhone application. The mobile ads help consumers find coupon savings and save on fresh groceries from Target.

“Retailers should understand that effective mobile campaigns must be supported by a branded consumer experience formatted for the device the person who clicks is using,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with Target. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

The Target audio ad

Not on target
When consumers tap on the Target mobile ad they are redirected to a landing page that is clearly not optimized for mobile devices.

Users need to pinch and zoom in order to read the text.

Instead of leading consumers to a mobile-optimized page, Target is leading them to its Web site.

The non-optimized page

The page features several coupons on products from companies such as Kraft, Nestle and Hellman’s.

Underneath each coupon, consumers are encouraged to select the offers they desire and print them out.

However, consumers are unable to print via their mobile device.

Target would have been more effective if it let them save the coupons on their handset and then redeem them in-store at the point-of-sale.

Test, test, test
Running a mobile ad campaign is great, however, not testing it to make sure that the landing page is mobile-optimized is not very good.

Companies want to make the experience as seamless as possible for users and having them pinch and zoom to read the text is not very effective.

Target is not the only company that has not fully executed a mobile campaign.

In 2010, Chrysler’s mobile banner in the New York Times iPhone app illustrated the importance of having a mobile-optimized landing page. Chrysler’s landing page was not mobile-optimized.

The banner took a user to the company’s Web site, which was not optimized for a handset, thus completely ruining the user experience and making the ad useless (see story).

Last year, Unilever’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter mobile banner ad, which ran in’s iPhone application, promoted the company’s butter products.

Instead of taking consumers to a mobile-optimized site, the banner ad took them to the company’s Web site, which changes the overall purpose of the ad (see story).

Most recently, Boar’s Head ran a mobile ad campaign that was aimed to engage new and existing consumers with its products. However, the landing page was not mobile-optimized (see story).

“If mobile consumers must suffer through ‘pinch and zoom fatigue’ after opting into the campaign, they will bounce off the site faster than you can say ‘wasted money,’” Mr. Kerr said.

“While banner ads are the most obvious example, this goes for tweets, Facebook posts, and even emails,” he said. “Since almost 50 percent of Americans use their smartphones to access Twitter, Facebook and email daily, retailers that do not have mobile commerce-enabled landing pages for this traffic will be left behind.

“Mobile is becoming the dominant consumers access the Internet and Morgan Stanley predicts that an inflection will occur sometime in 2013, when mobile originating Web access will surpass desktop or laptop access.”