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User Acquisition UA Mobile

6 crucial tips for top-performing ad creatives on mobile



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May 30, 2023 | 9 min read

Consumers are increasingly active on mobile, so having effective mobile ads is more important than ever

But what does it take to consistently drive results and get a return on ad spend? This article explores six best practices for achieving exactly that – from A/B testing and smart messaging, to visual consistency and ad personalization. Read on to learn more.

Whether you’re selling services via the web or products via an app, your mobile ads are often the first point of contact between your customers and the digital side of your business. Not only do you want your ad to attract their attention, but you need it to captivate them long enough for them to take action – whether it’s downloading your app, visiting your store or buying more products. Here are the top tips you need to consider when designing your mobile ad campaigns:

1. Optimize your ads through A/B testing

To understand which ad creatives are driving key actions like engagements or app installs, you need to A/B test different design iterations. By A/B testing, you generate insightful data to help drive smarter decision making in the future and it’s a comparatively low-cost way to quickly understand user behavior. As soon as you publish your ads, you get immediate performance data, allowing you to understand in real time which creatives are working best for your goals and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Testing helps you to optimize your ads to achieve a more positive return on ad spend (ROAS) and gives you a better understanding of what your users want. You can change multiple different elements, such as the design work, color schemes, copy texts, headlines and even the format of the ad itself, such as video ads vs banner images. When A/B testing, it’s important to only change one variable at a time. By changing multiple elements of your ad, you won’t know which change has driven better engagement, so always bear that in mind.

2. Make your ad copy succinct and positive for maximum impact

It’s not just the design of your creatives that matters. The copy texts also have an impact because they are what tells the user to click through the ad. When you’re competing amongst hundreds of ads, all vying for a user’s attention, your copy needs to be on point. A report by Wordstream found that the best-performing non-branded text within ads typically include words such as ‘your’, ‘you’, ‘free’, ‘now’, and ‘get’. Copy texts that address the user directly and include actionable keywords are the key to capturing an audience’s attention.

Wordstream’s research also found that 45% of text within ads actively conveyed a positive sentiment – so consider crafting copy that addresses pain points positively, rather than highlighting negative or irritating problems that need to be solved by purchasing a product. What’s more, if you think about how easily people get distracted by mobile content, you come to realize that there are only mere seconds to make that all-important first impression – so you’ll need to write compelling and impactful messaging that will grip your audience from the offset.

3. Visual consistency is key to UX

Even with great visuals and compelling copy texts, user engagement after the ad click will be almost non-existent if the user journey doesn’t align with the ad itself. For this reason, UX cohesion is vital. Every element of your ad should be consistent with the steps that follow, from the visual appearance and branding, to the tone of voice in the messaging. If you make a promise in your ad, it should be immediately fulfilled when the user gets to your website, store or app. If the promised experience isn’t delivered, users are more likely to bounce or uninstall your app.

Creating a solid user experience and establishing a good reputation for your brand isn’t only affected by the design of your ads or the user journey that follows. It also matters where your ads are shown. Programmatic advertising, (such as in-app advertising), is driven by algorithms which automatically place your ads within ad slots across millions of different apps. Without human intervention, brand safety becomes incredibly important for marketers to ensure your ad does not appear in undesirable places. Be sure to work with mobile advertising partners who will keep your mobile ad strategy on-brand and aligned with your core business values.

4. Ad personalization adds value to UX

When it comes to ads, personalization matters. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that “recognize, remember, and provide” relevant offers and recommendations. Use data to help personalize your ads, from first-party demographic data to third-party cross-app tracking. Leveraging these data points helps to make a truly personalized ad experience – and in-app advertising is a great channel for accessing this data because it provides access to an inventory of millions of mobile users across the entire app ecosystem.

Demand side platforms (DSPs) such as Remerge help brands with advanced in-app retargeting campaigns to deliver ads to the right audiences at the right time. The use of dynamic product ads (DPAs), can take this one step further by automatically populating an ad placement with any one of a brand’s products, based on the product’s perceived relevance for that individual user. Because DPAs are highly personalized, they tend to deliver higher conversion rates.

5. Use channel-specific ad creatives and fresh designs

When advertising across multiple platforms, reusing your ad creatives from other campaigns can be tempting. It saves time and resources, and can help to get your campaign up and running quickly. The problem is, not every ad can be used across all channels, and using the same creatives repeatedly can lead to ad fatigue which means wasting your marketing spend on ads that your audience have seen too many times to care about.

For maximum impact with your creatives, they should be specifically designed for the intended marketing channel and ad format. Whether it’s an in-app video ad or social media banner ad, customizing the creative to match the exact design specifications will ensure that it perfectly fits the ad placement and provides the best possible ad experience. Using the wrong design dimensions can mean that creatives are automatically scaled to fit the ad placement. This never looks good and it won’t fully maximize the available ad space.

In a recent article for The Drum, Steve Massaro echoed these themes: “Don’t just repurpose creatives for other channels like web and social, but make sure your visuals are designed and optimized for in-app ad placements to ensure best results. I’d recommend running both evergreen campaigns and more strategic campaigns at the same time.”

How else can you avoid your ads becoming stagnant?

- Consider a rotation of ad creatives for each campaign so you’re not serving the same ones to your audience

- Switch up your ad formats and play around with videos, DPAs, banners and static ads to see which work best

- Implement regular creative brainstorms to ensure fresh ideas are welcomed and experimented with

6. Use emotive messaging in your retargeting campaigns

By evoking emotion in your ads, you build a stronger connection with your audience. Using emotive language helps to connect users with your app’s offering. When advertising a gaming app for example, you might run an ad that encourages your users to play another round with a well-loved or popular character. For a food delivery app, you might play on the sense of satisfaction that comes with receiving a delicious meal at your door. Whatever that emotional connection is, you can use this to great effect in your campaigns.

Even if users don’t revisit your app or site immediately, the emotive angle helps to personify your brand and build awareness that will keep your offering at the forefront of your customers’ minds. The goal of these campaigns is to re-ignite the connection they once had with your brand, while gently persuading them to re-engage with it again. From there, you can then use this momentum to begin running more sales-driven campaigns that will fuel end-of-funnel actions like purchases.


The success of your mobile ad depends on many factors such as the quality of your creatives, where they are placed, which formats are used and how they communicate your brand’s message in a way that will move customers to the next stage in your sales cycle. Individually however, these things won’t always deliver the results you’re looking for. They must all work together to communicate something that’s actionable and valuable, to the right user at the right time. The main takeaway is to constantly innovate and reiterate with new formats, adjusted ad copy and new strategies to get the most out of your mobile ads.

User Acquisition UA Mobile


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