The Rules of Mobile Advertising

February 24, 2016

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 19 percent rely to some extent on their phones to connect to online services and information because they lack either broadband access at home or an easily available alternative. Thus, mobile advertising is often the only way to reach these consumers. What’s more, younger users, especially, often prefer to access the Internet via their phones compared to more traditional methods. What follows are our top three rules to consider when approaching mobile advertising.

Rule #1: Format matters

Research from eMarketer has shown that format determines click-through-rates (CTRs). Mobile rich media units and mobile social ads provide good CTR, with mobile video ads generating a significantly higher response rate than any other category with up to 4.9 percent CTR.

Rule #2: Make your ad unique to mobile

The same eMarketer study also revealed that creative teams have barely begun to deliver on the native capabilities of mobile advertising. Innovation is key. For example, one of the winners of the Cannes Mobile Lions award was an ad for Bradesco Seguros car insurance. Their ad for iPad at first appeared to be a traditional spread, but when the reader swiped to turn the page, the car followed and crashed into the edge of the screen. The tagline? “Unexpected events happen without warning. Make a Bradesco car insurance plan.”

Rule #3: Interactivity and responsiveness lead the way

What does the consumer do immediately after engaging with a mobile ad? More and more, publishers are experimenting with responsive ads, such as Mashable’s Motorola Motomaker ad. In addition, it’s estimated that annual app downloads will significantly exceed 1 billion per year. One of the most successful ads of 2014 was Proctor & Gamble’s Sit or Squat ad, which was actually an opportunity to download an app that helps users find clean, public restrooms on the go.

To gauge mobile advertising’s true impact, such as foot traffic and brick-and-mortar sales, requires solid analytics and measurement tools. Fortunately, the industry is working to develop data sources on mobile advertising effectiveness that is consistent with other marketing data sources.