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Leverage creative media over banner ads to stay competitive

While banner ads are still a ubiquitous form of mobile marketing that are not yet nearing extinction, brands should focus on leveraging creative advertising such as videos, interactive campaigns and look books to build a storytelling platform.

A 2014 Sizmek report revealed that average click-through rates for standard banner ads in the United States fell from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent, while flash rich media click-through rates rose from 0.14 to 0.25 percent. Embedding creative media rather than stagnant display ads in a mobile site is much more likely to yield higher user retention rates, as the consumer can touch, tap and swipe through the interactive advertisement.

?Interactive ads are those that capture our attention in our current state of mind - call it native, multiscreen, cross device or brilliant ? it?s the simple concept where Nike creates an app that improves our health, IKEA tantalizes us with augmented reality of what that new piece of furniture could look like or Dunkin? Donuts leverages a coffee banner ad, but in a one mile radius of the next store on a cold winter day,? said Viki Zabala, vice president of marketing at MobPartner, Boston.

Examples of interaction
An Unruly report released last year claimed that consumers viewing mobile ads on their smartphones are three times more likely to click through than if they were watching on a desktop, proving that mobile and video go hand-in-hand in the world of advertising (see story).

?Any brand looking to evolve the way they use creative advertising to tell their story needs to fully embrace customized ad units featuring distinct creative,? said Jeremy Sadwith, vice president of engineering at Kargo, New York. ?These executions go beyond the static banner and surpass more pedestrian rich media campaigns to incorporate mobile-first video, unique interactive experiences, UGC and other first-of-their kind elements that give viewers a reason to take notice and engage.

"As an example, Kargo's Sidekick mobile ad unit is an animated icon on the bottom right of the screen - picture a cocktail tumbler shaking to mix a drink in the corner of the screen with a transparent background revealing the media beneath,? he said. ?Clicking on it 'expands' the ad to see a full brand experience with drink recipes and opportunities to mix and match product flavors.?

These types of consumer interactions are also much more likely to result in word-of-mouth engagement. If the ad happens to have a social media element for sharing, the brand?s storytelling platform has the opportunity to reach even wider audiences, with its value and interest corroborated by the user that shared it among his or her social circles.

Multi-page experiences
For retailers, creating multi-page experiences on mobile sites or within mobile applications is a way of engaging consumers with products in a manner that feels less pushy and more subtle. A consumer is more inclined to react favorably when perusing through an interactive look book on a clothing site that offers mix-and-match combinations and specific recommendations for different outfits than a stationery ad promoting an item.

?We?ve found that creating a rich, multi-page brand experience that leverages the oversized canvas of tablet devices combined with native device features to be very rewarding,? said Dan Meehan, founder and CEO of PadSquad, New York. ?On several occasions, we created an interactive look book including hotspot functionality to let users discover new styles and accessories in an innovative way with the ease to shop at the tap of a button.

?Consumers want to shop on-the-go and in the comfort of their own environment so bringing the retail experience to a rich media experience proved to be very successful.?

?In short, marketers cannot afford to be confined by a 320x50 pixel box on mobile and expect to be successful,? Mr. Meehan said. ?With the rise of rich media, video, native, social, there are more effective and premium mobile marketing solutions.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York