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Automakers inch ahead in mobile creative despite technological challenges

NEW YORK ? While many marketers continue to struggle in syncing up compelling mobile creative with new types of ad units, automakers are staying a step ahead of the competition, according to a Mindshare executive at the 2014 IAB Mobile Marketplace.

A number of discussions and sessions at the IAB Mobile Marketplace yesterday centered around the role of mobile creative, many of which indicated that creative is still playing catch up as new types of ad units such as mobile video and location gain steam. When it comes to marketing verticals that are getting it right, the Mindshare executive said that automotive brands are on the right track with both creative and cross-screen campaigns.

?When you?re in a different need state and you?re on mobile, shouldn?t you be given a different creative that?s tailored towards that experience at that particular time?? said Craig Weinberg, director of mobile at Mindshare, New York.

?We?re getting there, and I think auto is actually one vertical that?s really good with this, but again, it?s tough for a lot of marketers to pivot around this because it requires a lot of nimble technology, and the market?s sorting of catching up to where the marketers want to be.?

Cross-screen challenges
Mr. Weinberg broke down the challenges associated with cross-screen campaigns during one of the IAB Mobile Marketplace?s Mythbusters sessions, which aimed to dispel some of the myths about mobile advertising.

At the same time that the momentum around cross-screen campaigns builds for marketers, the creative challenges are also growing in synching up banners, videos and rich media.

To tackle this, mobile ad networks and ad tech companies are putting together packages of creative ad formats that are meant to seamlessly run across multiple devices. However, these packages limit a marketer?s view to only one type of propriety technology and do not give marketers a holistic view of all devices and publishers.

For example, Mindshare worked with Jaguar and Undertone to create a cross-screen mobile ad that uses a drop-down ad built with HTML5 that includes photos and video components.

The campaign was built with responsive design, which helped the agency verify and account for cross-screen attribution, per Mr. Weinberg.

In addition to Jaguar, the Mindshare executive said that Land Rover is taking a similar approach with cross-screen media plans.

Picking the best format
A discussion between publishers, agencies, vendors and brands during the conference?s ?Finding the Best Creative Formats for Optimal Mobile Experience? marketplace conversation yesterday clearly indicated that mobile creative is not up to marketers? and consumers? expectations. The session was moderated by Eric Franchi, co-founder at Undertone, New York.

Whether it is static banners or ads that do not include an added element such as rich media or location, attendees said that marketers are not fully leveraging the native opportunities of mobile?s built-in capabilities.

At the same time, simply throwing new technology into a mobile ad unit does not translate to mobile success.

Take rich media, for example. One of the discussion?s attendees pointed out that rich media has to be relevant for it work, regardless of how great the creative is.

On the other hand, another attendee from a creative agency said that banners perform well, and indicated that marketers should continue to pour money into display ads.

According to the creative executive, the multiple creative ads available to marketers make it difficult for agencies and brands to know where to place their bets. Additionally, many of the formats currently available ? such as voice recognition ads ? can be annoying, per the executive.

Location implications
Another big topic discussed yesterday was the role of location-based advertising to drive in-store foot traffic.

Over the past year, brands have honed in on more sophisticated levels of location data to more accurately target consumers within specific areas. 

However, some marketers feel as if the creativity potential of these ads is limiting because location and brand messaging is often packed together within tiny banner ads.

As marketers look for more unique advertising options on mobile, the need for creativity cannot overshadow the hyperlocal component.

With mobile increasingly becoming a bigger part of media spends, tweaking the parameters and messaging of location-based campaigns is likely to be a big priority for brands this year.

?Geo-targeting is one of the best need stakes signals that we?ve ever had to work with in marketing, and I think we are somewhat limited by the creative available and the decision science to say, ?if this, then that,?? said Lou Paskalis, senior vice president and enterprise media executive at Bank of America, Charlotte, NC.

?I think those things are going to solve themselves because the potential is so tantalizing that you can?t ignore it,? he said.

Video opportunities grow
During ?The Future of Programmatic Mobile Video? session, an executive from BrightRoll spoke about the creative opportunities around mobile video for brand building and awareness.

For example, the session included a case study from Cub Cadet. The lawn mower brand ran a mobile video advertising campaign that resulted in a 29 percent increase in brand awareness, indicating that mobile can shift brand perception.

Additionally, the completion rate of the video ad was 2.5 times higher than the industry average.

Although the bulk of the discussion around mobile and programmatic buying right now is around display ads, the BrightRoll executive indicated that marketers increasingly want to buy video programmatically, too.

BrightRoll claims that 20 percent of its programmatic campaigns on its platform include a mobile component. 

At the same time, the lack of standardization is keeping mobile video and programmatic from reaching its potential.

?We see companies specifically around the creative space that are developing creative that can run programmatically, but again we still need a standardization,? said Lucas Krump, director of sales and platform solutions at BrightRoll, San Francisco.