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Successful mobile creative shares focus on unification, utility and immediacy

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Best practices emerge for making emotional connections with smartphone users

Marketers are clearly bringing more creative talent to bear against mobile advertising to craft more user-centric experiences, but whether or not programmatic buying enhances or detracts from such campaigns has not been answered yet.

Some marketers are reaching a level of comfort with the technical side of mobile advertising that is enabling them to a greater focus on their creative strategies. A new Interactive Creative Framework from the Mobile Marketing Association, which is based on an analysis of 450 mobile campaigns, uncovered five key commonalities in the mobile creative approaches of leading brands, including that mobile acts as a unifier that brings brand experiences together.

“Mobile creative has lagged the rapid shift to mobile advertising,” said Victor Milligan, chief marketing officer at Nexage. “Left untended, it would create a pot-hole that stymies accelerating brand spend and the market in general.

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“But it is now in focus,” he said. “The mobile creative—from rich media to video and native—is now a strategic investment for publishers and media buyers, and that investment is paying off early and often.

Campaign unifier
Mobile advertising can be a complex technological and logistical undertaking, which is one reason why the early days of mobile advertising have been dominated by static banner ads and shrunk-down versions of desktop campaigns.

However, these early days are giving way to a more sophisticated used of mobile.

According to the MMA report, one of common creative approach comes from mobile’s ability to act as a campaign unifier that brings access, experience and commerce together for users, enabling them to stay connected to the brand along the entire path to purchase.

A second common creative approach is leveraging the fact that consumers have their smartphones nearby throughout their day to engage with them in the present moment through a variety of strategies, including native executions, location-based incentives and dynamic ad serving

A strong focus on immersive content is shared by many leading brands, including unique, shareable and first access content, games, music, stories and collectibles.

The research also shows that brands that can personalize communications with relevancy are able to deliver a more meaningful response and depth of interaction.

Providing utility
Finally, brands that are winning in mobile often provide utility, such as the ability to transact on the spot, and help consumers save time by integrating mobile tools that drive unique brand interactions.

Digital marketers are hungry for ways to make an emotional connection with consumers, according to a new report from MediaBrix and Millward Brown Digital. Specifically, 88 percent said that making an emotional connection through digital media would encourage them to spend more on digital branding campaigns.

With the growth in programmatic buying, the report found that 30 percent of digital marketers believe that ads purchased through programmatic produce negative customer experiences, with 37 percent most concerned that consumers are ignoring banner ads.

However, 81 percent of respondents indicated that targeting users based on their emotions, or emotional targeting, would help address the issue of banner blindness.

“Brand marketers actually don’t want to annoy people on their smartphones…but haven’t been given a lot of options,” said Ari Brandt, CEO of MediaBrix.

“Brand marketers are looking to make emotional connections with users and be additive to the mobile experience, so ad units must evolve beyond interstitials, banners and pre-roll video ads, which users ignore or disdain, resulting in poor performance,” he said.

“The trouble with many mobile ad units, particularly those bought through programmatic methods or that appear on mobile websites, is that they are patterned after web-based units.”

Other parties believe programmatic will ultimately amplify creative campaigns to extend their reach without taking away from their emotional impact.

Using rewards
Several strategies are emerging as brands look to make a more emotional connection with mobile users.

A new study from Kiip and IPG Media Lab shows that using rewards as an engagement strategy during key moments within mobile apps drivers higher purchase intent and brand favorability over traditional banner ads.

The study used the latest facial coding and biometrics technology to assess reactions and impact for different mobile ads at those points when consumers accomplish a goal within the app, such as checking off an item on a to-do list, logging a workout, making a music playlist, bookmarking a new recipe or leveling up on in a game.

The results show that brands offering a reward at these moments saw an 82 percent lift in purchase intent while banner ads garnered a 6 percent lift. Rewards also consistently outpaced banner ads in boosting brand perception and favorability. Ads generated higher brand recall than rewards but decreased favorability by 6 percent.

Dual dimensions
The increased focus on creativity in mobile ads is also driving growth for interstitial, rich media and video ad formats.

In terms of ad requests, interstitial, rich media, and video ad formats are growing between 194 percent and 516 percent and taking more and more share of the total inventory available, according to a new report from Nexage Exchange.

Similar trends are apparent for ads delivered, with interstitial, rich media, and video ad formats growing between 178 percent and 404 percent.

“We are making significant leaps and bounds [in mobile creative],” said Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip. “I think native has helped contribute to it because marketers are saying, the reason why this is not working is I am not only interested in one metric, reach and frequently.

“There are more dual dimensions in understanding how successful things are in measurement, which is good,” he said.

“Engagement based buying is starting to become incorporated into programmatic. That is ultimately going to lead to massive progress.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Advertising, mobile creative, banner ads, Kiip, Brian Wong, Nexage, Millward Brown, MMA, Victor Milligan, MediaBrix, Ari Brandt, mobile marketing, mobile

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