There’s a way to improve the outcome of your mobile advertising by as much as 500%. Before you ask me what new algorithm I’ve invented or whether my numbers have been skewed by ad fraud, let me set things straight: it isn’t a quick or automated fix. I want to help you optimize your campaign, but we’re going to do so by examining your creative.
Why are media companies, ad networks, and exchanges so focused on the quality of creative their advertisers are supplying to them? The answer comes down to the first impression. A positive first impression can be as much as five times more effective in directing positive actions compared with a more negative impression (Snowfire). Creative that makes a strong first impression can multiply the value of a campaign.
Creative is also an opportunity to educate consumers and build a reputation. It is worthwhile to invest in unique creative for every campaign run, because each campaign has an opportunity to revisit a viewer’s impression of your brand, and teach consumers about what you have to offer. We’ll talk more about the effectiveness of different ad formats in a minute. First, I want to bring up a tough subject – are you reusing or repurposing any creative?
Some advertisers are willing to recycle creative for programmatic advertising, rather than creating new imagery and ideas that will work with the medium. This is troubling for both the advertiser and the team in charge of disseminating the ads, because campaigns are proven to perform better when they have tailored, tested creative. Companies that operate programmatic media buying usually offer A/B testing as part of their services. There is plenty of opportunity to leverage the testing done by your programmatic partners to generate top performing creative for the medium.
According to Hubspot, two thirds of consumers can recall a specific brand they have seen in a mobile advertisement. If you want your brand to be included in that recall, you need to make a powerful impression on viewers of your advertisement. Recycled creative will have a tough time standing out among the hundreds of impressions each person views monthly (SmallBizGenius). It’s also worth mentioning that 45% of consumers expect marketing collateral to have great design (Lucidpress). This makes it significantly important to put time and effort into creative.
Creative is an opportunity to educate an audience about your offering, whether that is your overall brand or a particular product. If the first creative a person sees from your brand is one that is enticing and informative, that has a positive impact (five times more effective, remember?). So how can you produce creative that meets these criteria? Let’s talk about how different ad formats can solve that problem.
We’ll start with video. As many advertisers are aware, video ads show a higher CTR on average than images alone (Interceptd). It’s worth adding motion to your creative. Are there other elements that can also improve your numbers?
Our data at ClearPier is showing that interactive creative, which entices the user to engage with your content, leads to improved retention. We believe this is due to the combination of compelling creative with programmatically determined user matching (or, as PathFactory puts it, Intent + Fit). Of course, I’m not here to say there is no place for standard image ads. They can be great when used as part of a broader campaign. However, if you are looking to make a captivating first impression, it could be beneficial to focus on video or interactive formats.
In the last couple of years there has been a lot of buzz around rewarded video and playable ads. Rewarded video is valued by advertisers because it basically guarantees eyes on their ad. The audience is locked into viewing the ad in order to receive some type of reward. If brand awareness is your struggle, rewarded video has value because of the high completion rates and the potential brand lift. However, some discussions around rewarded video have brought to consideration the lack of engagement and possible impact on user experience the format can have, especially when not executed well.
Because users captured by rewarded video are completing the video with another purpose in mind (e.g. their reward), they may not give their full attention to the ad. Additionally, if the developers have not carefully considered the way rewarded video is built into the flow and interface of their app, the ads can be seen as intrusive. So how do we work around the downsides presented by rewarded video?
Enter the playable ad. Playables were one of the most anticipated ad formats to happen in recent years. They allowed brands to showcase how to use their app or play their game, all as an interactive interstitial served in another app. This solved the issue of engagement because users who played the demo served in the playable ad had some interaction with the app to encourage action. User experience troubles can be less of a concern with playables when the interstitial is served at a non-intrusive time. Unfortunately, playables created one new struggle for advertisers: they are costly to develop.
We know that when it comes to mobile advertising, especially with network and exchange partners, advertisers want the most value for their dollars. In 2020, it’s possible that new ad formats will be discovered that utilize the engaging aspect of playables at a reduced cost. It is important to earn views and improve CTRs, but not without engaging valuable users. The eyes and clicks advertisers will be more willing to pay for are the ones genuinely interested in using (and even paying for) their apps… those who fit their ideal user profile and come to the app with good intent.
Let’s go back to the concept of first impressions for a moment. Do you remember how this article started? I promised I’d tell you how to improve your advertising. Did I deliver? A brand’s reputation and the quality of users an app attracts can be very dependent on creative. As consumers demand improved app experiences and request a higher quality of advertising, if you limit the time you spend on creative, expect a limited reaction from your audience.