In the latest in a series examining trends in mobile advertising, The Drum catches up with a cross-section of the industry to hear their thoughts on the challenges of advertising on mobile.
The Drum's series on mobile advertising trends provides insight into the key issues in mobile advertising as part of our Mobile supplement.
Earlier this week, we explored the impact of the second screen trend and looked at the opportunities of rich media for mobile advertising, and today we're looking at the challenges of advertising on a small screen.
We asked contributors: what are the biggest challenges of advertising on a small screen?
James Hilton, CEO, M&C Saatchi Mobile
Messaging and creativity. You have to get the message spot on, but this is where mobile comes into its own. It can be contextual to time, weather, date, device and location. Space is at a premium but this shouldn’t stop creativity. With the evolution of rich media and new mobile ad formats, adverts can now expand over the screen (after being clicked on) and feature interactive elements that drive engagement.
Amy Vale, VP of global research & strategic communications, Mojiva
Far from being a challenge, the benefits of our ever-improving mobile devices come in the form of faster and more responsive wireless connectivity, larger and more vibrant display, improved graphics and browser capabilities. These improvements, coupled with the rollout of 4G across Europe, point to a huge opportunity for brand marketers to deliver mobile rich media and video ads that are fast to engage with, download, entertaining to watch and, most importantly, convert.
Ilicco Elia, head of mobile, LBi
Everything you do on your mobile phone is inherently personal; you call people you know; send messages to friends; email colleagues and organise your social life. You do all of this in your time, at your pace. For an advert to stand out in that environment it needs to be as personal and as relevant as everything else you do, otherwise it will seem out of place. As soon as an advert is relevant, it is no longer advertising – it crosses a boundary and becomes useful content.
Creating personalised ads that are beautiful, useful, engaging and have the impact needed to stand out on a relatively small screen is hard work, but without that engagement, without emotion, mobile ads are soon forgotten and definitely not clicked on.
Showing web based advertising on mobile phones is akin to showing radio ads on TV. We know the medium is not suited to the message and it falls flat. Designing ads that have the necessary impact, emotion and relevance is by far the biggest challenge in mobile advertising today.
Martin Jordan, marketing director, Equator
The main problem for mobile advertising right now is in its point of evolution. Just as with banner ads in the 90s and Facebook ads on launch, the nature and quality of the ads are low. Coupled with the fact that poor quality free apps borderline on the spamming with the use of ads, the user is fast learning to visually filter them. Whether it’s Wonga, 888 Casino or online Warcraft-style games, you can’t escape the repetitive and intrusive nature of the current stock of ads. More qualitative names need to take on the channel and reinvigorate the small space the ads occupy. Maybe then we’ll start paying attention and clicking through!
Matt Champion, media services director, Fetch
The biggest challenge is choosing the right content for a small screen. You can’t bombard the user with information, but it also needs to be effective for your purpose. Advertisers and brands need to design the right gestures to ensure good user experience.
Another key challenge is connecting the mobile device to the TV without requiring to deep an engagement from the viewer, such as having to download an app or register for a service. If it’s a TV ad, you’ve got less than 30 seconds to engage the viewer. The TV service provider probably has the advantage here by combining EPG functionality with companion apps.
This feature is published as part of The Drum's Mobile supplement.