Brands need to stand out by being non-obtrusive

Neil Johnson, creative solutions manager at TabMo UK, presents six tips for better mobile advertising

Neil Johnson TabMoAdvertisers please take note; annoying mobile ads will not build goodwill for your brand. Aiming to please the user with useful information and good creative, served in appropriate context at the right time should result in a better performing campaign and bolster opinion towards your brand.

In an era of attention-grabbing, brands need to stand out by being non-obtrusive. TabMo offers the following advice to fulfilling that objective for mobile advertising:

Design with the user in mind
We are all consumers; therefore, advertisers need to consider what they themselves like and don’t like when they see ads on their own mobiles and use this as a rule when producing their own creatives. Good design will result in goodwill towards the brand and ultimately better performing ads.

Don’t automatically ‘take over’ the whole screen
Interstitials are full-screen ads that completely cover the content of their host website or app. Widely used for many years they have played an important role in mobile advertising. However, brands are now moving away from this format; not only is it often seen as intrusive but its also being used too often, leading to consumers giving it less attention.  As advertisers look for the next-generation of creatives, it’s important to avoid using technology for technology’s sake, which risks ads being clever but annoying. Non-invasive formats should be prioritised.

Keep it simple
Modern attention spans are very short and mobile screens are relatively small. Mobile ads should aim to get the message across in three seconds. The message itself needs to be pithy and punchy. It’s worth considering teasing the user with just enough information to drive them to the desired destination.

Be honest and believable
Many ads are still fraudulent, which has led to an issue of trust with consumers. Advertisers now have a responsibility to reassure users and must be rigorous about how they present information. The desired outcome must be considered carefully; in a time of heightened data privacy concern, many people are not comfortable with providing personal details via mobile, preferring instead to make purchases on a desktop or laptop.

Don’t focus solely on click-through rates
It has long been recognised that ‘click-throughs’ (or ‘tap-throughs’) are not necessarily representative of the success of a digital ad campaign. There are many more interactions than a simple click or tap and this needs to be reflected in how engagement is measured (Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) for a given campaign. Today’s devices have a range of features that can be used in mobile creatives. Encouraging users to physically ‘shake’ their phone, or ‘swipe’ their screen to interact with an ad can deliver a more immersive and engaging experience – and drive better results than a simple ‘click here’ button. Designing these interactions so that the user has control over whether or not they participate can further help with the success of a campaign.

Be clear that it’s an ad
The ad creative should not blend into the editorial; if users feel they have been ‘tricked’ into engaging with an ad, they are likely to disregard the information and possibly mistrust the brand in future. This can be achieved with tools such as a distinct border separating the ad from the website content, or clearly labelling the placement as ‘Advertising’.

Balancing the equation to satisfy the needs of advertisers, publishers and consumers is difficult. However, aiming for adverts that are ‘not-annoying’ can only have a beneficial result for all: consumers will be more receptive to quality adverts, publishers will see more acceptance of ads and advertisers will benefit from improved opinion of their brand.

If the digital landscape relies on advertising to survive, working to make that advertising enjoyable and useful is a worthwhile aim.