Four ways to enhance mobile creative

  • Wednesday, April 27th, 2022
  • Author: Tim Green
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Peter Birch, Managing Director, EMEA, Hybrid Theory says creative is the key to reaching new customers in the absence of non-cookie-based targeting…

As we inch closer toward a (third-party) cookieless world, many brands have turned their attention to developing non-cookieless targeting strategies. While this is important, marketers shouldn’t underestimate the power – and effectiveness – of enhancing the creative they already have as well.

With mobile screen time totalling 3 hours, 54 minutes per day, mobile creative serves as a simple yet effective way to reach new customers and increase brand awareness.

To tap into this potential, marketers need to go beyond basic ad optimisation and ditch outdated advertising tactics, for instance, compressing TV or desktop ads into mobile ad formats. Instead, they need to start designing ads that embrace the native functionality that mobile can uniquely offer.

Here, we explore four ways marketers can enhance mobile creative to make ads more memorable and, ultimately, deliver higher-performing campaigns.

1. Embrace the native functionality of mobile

With almost half of all internet users (42.7%) using ad-blocking tools, it’s clear that the majority of ads are designed to aggravate users rather than captivate them. To truly engage consumers, marketers must begin to embrace the native functionality of mobile and place the user experience at the core. Consider pop-ups, banner ads, and display ads – all are classic examples of creatives built without mobile functionality in mind. They stick out like a sore thumb and intrude on the user experience because they don’t blend in with existing mobile content.

However, ads can achieve up to 53% more engagement than traditional banner and display ads by designing mobile-first creatives. This boils down to two factors; native mobile ads that blend in seamlessly with surrounding content while giving users greater control.

Unlike banner ads with intrusive interstitials, native mobile advertising enables marketers to design user-controlled ad formats. These can range from scroll-reactive creatives (ads that change based on scroll velocity) to ads that rely on the user to activate audio or play video.

At Hybrid Theory, we strongly believe that enhanced creative is an overlooked lever in high-performing campaigns and have partnered with a global technology brand to test this. As part of our research, we’re conducting numerous A/B tests on the effectiveness of their existing creative versus creative that has been optimised and enhanced.

2. Engage users with short, clutter-free creative

While all ads are viewable, not all ads are memorable. Marketers need to keep in mind that mobile users are bombarded with a plethora of content – including ads – every day. With lightning-fast gestures such as swipe, scroll, and tap at a user’s disposal, advertisers only have a limited amount of time to make an impact and stand out from the white noise.

For mobile creative to be effective, marketers need to take two things into consideration; length and design.

With viewers looking away from mobile video ads an average of 17 times (for a 30-second pre-roll), a short time frame is critical to pique and keep a user’s interest. Anything longer than 20 seconds is simply too long for mobile, with nine seconds being the optimum length for video ads.

Aside from blending in with on-page content, effective mobile design practices include keeping the messaging short and simple and including clear CTAs. This improves the user experience and ensures that ads can easily be interacted with.

3. Open with a brand reveal

Native mobile ads are designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, which means that elements like audio and video may not be activated unless a user interacts with an ad. This emphasises the importance of clear, consistent branding, as marketers cannot rely on one specific element to convey their message.

Instead of concluding with a brand reveal, as many long-form (TV) ads do, mobile creatives should introduce the brand right away and maintain brand consistency throughout. By doing this, marketers can increase brand awareness by 85%. Why? Because attention on mobile is shorter.

4. Partner with a platform that understands mobile creative

Recent tests with our key partners revealed that brands who combine enhanced creative with our (cookieless and cookie-based) targeting achieve the best results, highlighting the importance of developing a targeting strategy that incorporates the best of both worlds into its mix.

Brands will be able to turbocharge their existing creative while also future-proofing their data strategy by partnering with a platform that understands both sides of the coin – mobile creative and cookieless.

As an industry, we need to shift our laser focus away from cookieless and start paying closer attention to the creatives we already have. Mobile is one of the most effective mediums that brands can leverage to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness – but it has to be done right.

This is why it’s so essential for marketers to double down on their current mobile efforts. Combined with non-cookie-based targeting, it is the future of marketing and where brands will see the greatest success from campaigns. A greater focus on made-for-mobile creative that captivates and doesn’t aggravate users will drive better outcomes.