Dramatic headlines declaring the end of the smartphone boom followed last week’s IDC report unveiling slowed growth in the mobile device market. But what the figures really illustrate is that the market is nearing saturation – at least in developed countries – which can only be a positive for marketers.
Now just about everyone has a smartphone – an average of 2.1 per UK household – brands have a ubiquitous channel to deliver targeted, personalised messaging to consumers wherever they are, whatever they are doing. It’s no wonder mobile ad spend is skyrocketing – growing 60% year on year to account for almost a third of all digital advertising – and that mobile marketing is dominating the agenda at this year’s dmexco conference.
All is not rosy in the mobile advertising space however, with a 90% global growth in mobile ad blocking last year revealing consumer dissatisfaction with the mobile ad experience. Along with developments such as trials of ad blocking at network level by UK mobile operator Three, and Google’s initiative to penalise mobile websites that serve content-blocking ads, this trend indicates the industry must take action to improve mobile advertising and deliver a more positive consumer experience.
So how can the industry work to overcome some of the key challenges facing mobile advertising?
Develop non-intrusive formats
When advertising on mobile, marketers want impactful high performing creative and have largely abandoned the traditional banner in favour of interstitials that take over the entire screen. But this comes at a cost as it disrupts the consumer experience and blocks the content they want to access, annoying users and increasing adoption of mobile ad blockers. When UK consumers were asked what would prevent them from using ad blockers the most common answer was if the ads didn’t interfere with what they were doing.
To stem the rise of mobile ad blocking and improve consumer satisfaction the industry needs to develop advanced ad formats for mobile campaigns that combine the non-intrusively of banners with the impact of interstitials. New formats must invite the consumer to engage with the brand message rather than forcing then to view the creative. Our new mobile skin format M-SKINZ combines banners at the top of the page – and at the bottom of the page after scrolling – with the option for the user to see a full screen brand panel. The format enhances the user experience using the parallex effect which means the banner goes under the web page content when scrolling.
Eliminate accidental clicks
Accidentally touching an ad on a mobile screen while trying to complete an entirely different task is something just about every smartphone user can relate to, and a staggering 60% of mobile banner ad clicks are thought to be accidental. Not only does this reduce the value of mobile advertising it also irritates the user. After accidentally clicking a mobile ad 68% of consumers feel annoyed and 45% feel frustrated, with over a fifth reporting it actually makes them angry. None of these are emotions that marketers want associated with their brand.
Google has already introduced some protections against error clicks but the industry must go further and move towards intelligent ad formats that employ different actions such as the swipe to bring intuition and innovation into the mobile ad world. With our new mobile format we have introduced user indication in the form of an arrow so the consumer really understands the ad process and can choose whether to swipe to discover the brand panel, or swipe back to stop the ad experience.
The majority of consumers now own a smartphone and most are not averse to mobile ads as long as they are served intelligently. With the development of high impact, low intrusion formats that load quickly and can’t be clicked accidentally, the mobile ad experience can become more positive and enjoyable for all. We expect to see lively discussions during dmexco on how to serve ads that appeal to the user while also satisfying all sides of the ad tech spectrum.
By Lisa Menaldo, UK Managing Director, Sublime Skinz
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