16 case studies that prove ROI of mobile marketing


mobile marketing ROI

Business are now jumping into mobile faster than any other marketing channel. Yet, a joint study by the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) and MediaVest shows, even though marketers see significant opportunities, they’re frustrated about the ability to prove return on investment (ROI). Consider these statistics:

  • 96% of marketers currently use or are planning to incorporate mobile marketing into their marketing mix
  • 85% report an intent to raise their mobile budgets in the near future
  • 84% use mobile websites; 78% mobile search; 76% mobile apps and 75% mobile display ads
  • 42% are concerned about having proper mobile metrics in place
  • 42% report an ability to prove ROI
  • Only 21% state they have been successful in mobile – a decrease from 2010

To help alleviate the frustration, here are mobile marketing case studies that prove ROI. They cover opportunities from mobile optimized websites, mobile apps, mobile search, mobile ads, MMS, SMS, QR Codes to social media. They also prove ROI is achieved more often when marketers pursue mobile with a specific business purpose rather than jumping in for the sake of being in mobile.
Here are 16 case studies that prove ROI of mobile marketing

  1. BMW: Began using MMS (Multimedia Message Service) to send images, video, sound files and text messages for customized snow tire offers. They increased conversion +30%
  2. CARITAS HOME CARE: Boston-based home healthcare agency used mobile health devices to enhance communications and data collection with its 150 mobile clinicians.  Caritas documented how the mobile devices were able to save 19,200 hours or 98 hours per clinicians per year.  Although Caritas didn’t release salaries of clinicians, if we estimated $50/hour, which would be conservative, Caritas saved $960,000. If the devices were $100 each for 150 clinicians at $15,000, which would also be conservative, the ROI would be 64-to-1.
  3. DUNKIN DONUTS: Used SMS  (short message service) or text messaging to increase store traffic and drive sales. The SMS campaign offering mobile coupons. It increased store traffic +21%.
  4. HAIR CLUB: North America’s leading provider of hair restoration solutions for men and women created a mobile website with one purpose, to get mobile phone users to “click-to-call” for more information. Their “click-to-call” button goes to a live sales person within seconds. Once a call is made, their close rate goes up exponentially. ROI for the mobile website was 30-to-1.
  5. HARLEY-DAVIDSON: Wanted to maintain visibility with current customers and add new customers and revenue through a holiday promotion. They sold HD related merchandise through a Route 66’s mobile club. Communications of the  12 Days of Christmas campaign were promoted through a mobile social media campaign. Sales increased 250% on helmets; 16% on leather jackets and there were significant increases in holiday dealer traffic which was also an objective.
  6. HOTEL TONIGHT: Sought to acquire new customers who would download its last-minute hotel booking app and ultimately use it to book room nights. To acquire new users of its app (available in the App Store and Google Play), Hotel Tonight used Facebook’granular targeting and two key products: the mobile app install ad and Facebook Offers. For three months between October 2012 and HotelTonight ran app install ads that: 1) Drove people to the App Store, 2) Targeted people based on demographic information and likes and interests uch as “travelers,” “parents” and “golf” and 3) placed on mobile news feeds targeted to iOS users.  Hotel Tonight receive 10X higher click-to-install rate from the mobile app install ads and 80% higher return on ad spend from Facebook Offers than average mobile advertising spend
  7.  JANSSEN (PSORIASIS 360): Launched a mobile phone app to help psoriasis patients track the severity of their condition.  The index helped them know when to seek professional care and allowed their medical professional assess to the severity of their patient’s condition.  Janssen also opened a Facebook page, which they moderated for regulatory reasons, to let patients tell personal stories and had over 30,000 posts and comments.  According to Janssen, the investment in the mobile app overachieved ROI but more important delivered the right therapy to the right patient at crucial times.
  8. MCDONALD’S: Designed  a ‘restaurant finder’ app to enable consumers to find a late-night McDonald’s. 2/3’s of its restaurants close at 11pm. McDonald’s employed location-based technology and geo-targeted above-the-line messaging, to avoid sending potential customers to a locked door.  The app was downloaded 1,300,000 times over the course of the campaign, and when the sales uplift was calculated, the campaign delivered an ROI of 2:1.
  9. PETCO: Expected the creation of a mobile website and a mobile ad campaign would be made up by higher conversion rates to coupons and offers. Mobile coupon redemption outnumber online coupon redemption by 5 to 1 more than paying back the cost of the website and ad campaign.
  10. PIZZA HUT: Created a mobile optimized website, integrated with Pizza Hut’s back-office systems and all devices had a user experience tailored to each device. By the end of the first week after going live, the site accounted for 10 per cent of all online orders increasing at a rate 60 per cent each week.
  11. ROY’S RESTAURANT: Used a paid search mobile-only campaign that enabled them to budget, bid, target, and track their mobile performance separately from their desktop AdWords campaigns. They also focused on Google’s click-to-call phone numbers in local ads on mobile devices and hyperlocal advertising, They achieved an astounding 8-to-1 ROI by focusing solely on mobile advertising.
  12. VEGAS.COM: Noticed that mobile visitors to their destination‐based travel and entertainment booking website didn’t stay long. They created mobile versions of the: 1) Homepage, 2) Category pages and 3) Hotel room search tool with special functionality to improve the mobile customer experience. An improved mobile experience resulted: 1) 22% lower bounce rate 2) 16% more page views and 4% higher conversion rate.
  13. VERIZON: Used QR codes to take store customers that scanned the QR code through to a competition to win a smartphone, via sharing on Facebook. If one of those Facebook friends brought a Verizon mobile, the original customer would get a free smartphone. A pretty nifty promotion that generated $35,000 in additional revenue during the week of the promotion, with a mere $1,000 investment. The promotion generated a 200% in smartphone sales, a staggering figure that can be attributed to a QR Code.
  14. WINNEPEG HEALTH AUTHORITY: Used SMS to get adults 18-24 tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), increase awareness of STI incidents and remove false perceptions about testing. Text the keyword PEEINACUP to the short code 82442 or go to www.peeinacupwinnipeg.ca for clinic locations and a chance to win $1,000.   Over the course of the four-week campaign, more than 10,000 people visited the Web site and 825 people entered the contest, which is 1.2 percent of the total target population in Winnipeg.
  15. WOOGA: The world’s third largest social game developer. Among its popular social game titles is Diamond Dash, a colorful jewel blitz game that challenges players to match three or more of the same colored gems in under 60 seconds. Wooga ran sponsored stories in Facebook mobile news feeds that displayed when one of their friends had played Diamond Dash for at least four minutes or twice during the previous month. This campaign strategy generated great success for Wooga, from increasing installs by over 25% to lowering the cost-per-install by 10%
  16. zPIZZA: Had a business goal to deliver at least 1,000 heavy‐use customers who spend $50+/month for each of their restaurant locations. They also had a loyalty program, zTribe, to identify regular customer and reward them with sweepstakes, cash prizes and inform them of new product. zPizza decided to use  SMS messaging to improve registration and timeliness of the zTribe rewards and product information. The result was a 5% improvement in registration and a +106% in conversion for program participation.

Does your company use mobile marketing? Do these case studies prove ROI to you? Do they help teach how mobile marketing could be better used for your business?


  1. Dean Clinton

    Awesome information!
     There is some “MEAT on the BONE!
    Thank You

  2. robpetersen

    Thanks for the feedback Dean. Glad the information was helpful. Rob.

  3. Zinmobi

    I came across this article from a LinkedIn Post… some great case studies here and from some serious players in many different industries. Here are a few from the mobile marketing industry here in Ireland. We are seeing great growth within the retail and food service industries. – http://www.zinmobi.com/case-studies/

  4. MyPoKos

    16 case studies of #mobile soft #ROI; Drive mobile sales across all #channels via #CEM http://bit.ly/KDVEn4

  5. sooz90210

    90210 short code rocks.  Text suewolf to 90210 for my mobile biz card.  you too can go green and never run out of cards.  I can help you with mobile marketing.

  6. Niels de Groot

    It might be that companies running mobile campaigns forget the natural functionalities of the smartphone. Calling and sms-ing are perfect ways to increase ROI. As the examples given above, a SMS discount code is perfect to reach out to your local audience that you seduce for a spontaneous purchase. However if you have more advanced products, people might want to call you to either book a meeting or complete the purchase. Forms are found increasingly annoying and are ignored by the greater audiences. Make it simple and easy for people to call you (click-to-call) for example to accessible phone numbers. These inbound leads are some of the most valuable leads out there!

    1. robpetersen

      @Niels de Groot Thank Niels. Appreciate your comment and insight. I agree with you simple, functional improvements add significant. I think the Hair Club case study prove the value of a simple benefit like click-to-call. Thanks again for the comment.

  7. ronmulliken

    I agree with Niels points – especially the benefit of click-to-call.  One caution though – not all calls are created equal – in fact the large majority of calls made through mobile click-to-call are mis-dials (or the caller’s intent is for something other than a purchase inquiry or purchase).  At Marchex, our Digital Call Marketplace gives advertiser businesses a Pay-For-Call option where they are only billed for calls from  consumers responding to our advertising/search placements with intent to purchase and at a minimum call duration (at least 60 seconds).  This process is helping large national US brands increase Return On Advertising Spend and lower Costs Of Customer Acquisition.  This is a model that works well for businesses that value a phone call as a key outcome to their marketing efforts.  As consumers continue to move mobile, we’ll see more marketing models develop solutions that address other desired outcomes – such as site visits.

    1. robpetersen

      @ronmulliken Thanks Ron. Good to know about this and like the ROI model. Appreciate your comment. Rob

  8. Mobile Delivers More ROI than Social - Gravy

    […] reasons for lack of ROI aside, when you delve into case studies, mobile marketing seems to deliver more tangible financial outcomes (like these 16 case studies) than social […]

  9. The 9 Mobile Trends of 2013 - Gravy

    […] years, much in the same way social media marketing has. The difference is that mobile is delivering hard ROI figures that are making brands want to invest more. 2013 put more proof of concept behind the medium, and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *