You’re on your cell phone, navigating through your favorite app, when a banner ad pops up. You try to click the Close icon in the corner, but you can’t quite make out where your fingertip lands on the screen. Instead, you seem to have launched your mobile browser as it loads the website for an online shoe store.
All of us have had this experience—encountering an unwanted ad on our phones and attempting, often unsuccessfully, to dodge it. Indeed, according to a report by GoldSpot Media, almost 50% of user interaction with mobile ads is accidental. Moreover, four out of five people dislike traditional mobile banner ads, surveys have shown.
What should we make of this? Mobile advertising cannot and should not be ignored: according to research firm eMarketer, American adults spend almost a quarter of their media time on their cell phones. Yet spending on mobile advertising only amounts to 9.8% of the ad market. In contrast, despite American adults allocating only 2% of their media time to reading newspapers, ad spending for the newspaper sector is just under 10%.
It is apparent that there is significant potential in the mobile advertising space—advertisers just haven’t quite figured out how to tap into this potential yet. Mobile advertising is evolving, and any brand that seeks to stay relevant needs to take note.
Here are my recommendations on what works, and what doesn’t, in mobile advertising:
Native ads.These ads, which take on the form of the environment they are displayed in, have significantly higher click-through rates and engagement than traditional banner ads. Native ads are especially useful for mobile, where there is limited screen space. Users see the ad and can engage with it in a way that is neither misleading nor accidental.
Apps. Apps are not perceived as traditional forms of advertising—instead users see them as providing function and value. Apps are generally more cost-efficient than traditional ads, and can sometimes create entirely new revenue streams. Marketers should aim to create apps that add value for users and enhance long-term engagement with their brands.
Location-targeted ads. These ads are location-specific, and are delivered using data on consumer location. This advertising can reach highly relevant audiences, which translates into real customer results.
Rich media banner ads, used for “utilitarian, high involvement” products. As addressed above, the traditional banner ad is commonly frowned upon. However, according to a recent Harvard Business Review study, mobile display ads for “utilitarian and high involvement” products (products that serve a practical purpose and are only bought after much deliberation, e.g. minivans or washing machines), boosted positive attitude and purchase intention by several percentage points. When employing banner ads, try to create a rich media banner that engages, rather than irritates.
What doesn’t work
Banner ads for "hedonic" products. The same Harvard study showed that for these products (e.g. sports cars or movie tickets, or products that people buy for pleasure) and “low-involvement” products (e.g. a tube of toothpaste or a candy bar), banner ads are ineffective.
Static banner ads. Static banner campaigns receive half the click-through that rich media ones do. As addressed earlier, and as your personal experience might tell you, these ads can leave a bad impression on the user.
The future of mobile advertising is bright: it has been predicted that in 2014, mobile advertising will surpass traditional media advertising in newspapers, magazine, and radio in terms of share of the overall ad market. A report recently released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau already indicated that mobile advertising revenue jumped to $19.3 billion in 2013, almost double its figure from 2012.
Does your brand have a mobile advertising strategy in place? Here at Flite we’re experts in mobile advertising—we recognize the potential and we want to help your brand fully realize it.