Flag on the [Mobile] Play

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know that I’m a cheapskate. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve always downloaded the free mobile apps and games. But recently I surprised myself by actually being captivated by a mobile ad from Buffalo Wild Wings and took the bait—only to be deeply disappointed by the lack of, what I like to call, experience management.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you already know that I’m a cheapskate. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve always downloaded the free mobile apps and games. I’ve found that I don’t have a problem staring at an ad for 3 seconds, waiting to return to my next round of Scramble With Friends (SWF).

But recently I surprised myself by actually being captivated by a mobile ad from Buffalo Wild Wings and took the bait—only to be deeply disappointed by the lack of, what I like to call, experience management.

Here’s what got me hooked: The ad was brilliantly designed for this mobile user who had just spent the previous two minutes rolling my fingers quickly across the screen in different directions to connect letters to form words and score points.

The visual, in the center of the screen, was a circle with a thumb print in it.

The headline was very inviting to this 49er fan: “Football fever is spreading fast. Take a quick test.” And the call to action was “Press and Hold Your Finter [sic] for an Instant Scan.”

Aside from the typo (doesn’t anyone proof anymore??), I was hooked. Great call to action and great visual—especially for an ad inside a mobile game where my fingers do all the work.

Naturally I pressed my thumb over the thumbprint, and a little “scan” visual swept back and forth, seemingly scanning my print. The next screen was a file folder labeled “Results.” A red “stamp” stated “Further Testing Required”—and a call to action to “Get a Complete Fever Diagnosis” kept me motivated to continue to the next screen. So I clicked, and that’s when the brilliance of the campaign all came crashing down.

It seemed that I had landed somewhere within the Buffalo Wild Wings website. Nothing more about football fever. Nothing more about my scan or my fever diagnosis. Nothing even closely related to my previous experience. What was most prominent was a “Find a B-Dubs” (I figured out this is insider lingo for Buffalo Wild Wings) with a place to enter my zip code. Sigh …

If I hadn’t been a marketer, I would probably have hit the “x” button to go back to my game. But being a glutton for punishment, I entered my zip code, hopeful that the B-Dubs folks might tie the action back to my football fever. But instead, I wait a second and … and … I get a message: “Results (0).” Really?

I get that there may not be a B-Dubs within 25 miles of me, but according to the website (which I visited separately), I found several in my SF/Bay Area geography.

So here’s my advice: Instead of telling me there were none, how about programming your site to say “Oh no! There isn’t a B-Dubs in your neighborhood, but we’ve found 5 that you might enjoy as you travel around Northern California.” And then provide those pinpointed on a map.

And what happened to that football tie-in?

All digital advertising and landing pages are an opportunity to optimize a series of thought sequences, and it’s critical that marketers understand how to help a consumer connect the dots.

In this case, the game ended with Buffalo Wild Wings: 0, Consumer Purchase Opportunity: 0.