Mobile gaming is your blue ocean – of creativity

When advertisers hear the word programmatic, the first thing they think of is data, machine-learning, algorithms. Exchange, inventory, bidding. Creativity is the last thing on their mind. Yet in today's mobile in-app environments – even those bought and sold programmatically – creativity is still paramount. Because yes, creativity is an art, but it’s also a science. (And the science part is where it gets exciting.)

When approaching any mobile creative campaign, we follow three pillars: design for touch, data and outcomes.

This is how we meet and exceed consumer expectations for advertising, how we stay connected and relevant to our audiences. While these pillars apply to creative campaigns on any mobile channel, it is especially crucial for brands to “mobilise” their creativity for mobile gaming.

Design for touch

Mobile consumers are holding your adverts in their hands, quite literally. They are already engaging with their device (e.g., tapping, scrolling, swiping, even shaking) and are in active mode, and mobile gamers even more so. Consider the rich, interactive and ‘playable’ nature of the mobile gaming environment. Mobile gamers are already actively engaged with the content, and thus more open to interacting with an ad. You have an opportunity to create rich digital video experiences with innovative technology, such as interactive video, AR, gamification, haptic feedback and playables.

You can also actively integrate the native functionality of the phone and its software (e.g., other apps). For instance, we made a narrative ad for Amazon that told the story of a package being created and delivered, and everything in the video was not just touchable, it was shoppable. Users build a shopping list as they go through the video and at the end can “checkout” their shopping cart – in the Amazon app.

Design for data

Data doesn’t just power automated and efficient buying and selling of media, it also powers creativity. Audience targeting is still clearly the number one benefit of data-driven marketing, but the other benefits are often overlooked.

When you open your eyes and see what’s available, the creative possibilities will appear, as well. You can incorporate data triggers like location and weather into your adverts, as we did with our Land Rover campaign, delivering mud or snow, depending on which was most relevant to the viewer. You can also connect with social media in ways you never could before.

Additionally, with mobile – just like all digital – there’s feedback on what works. We can live test different messages and creatives across laser-targeted audiences to see which performs best and optimise the creative accordingly. And with dynamic delivery, the creative is ever-changing to be more relevant, and we’re not stuck looking at results one month later and thinking of our would’ve/should’ve actions.

Design for outcomes

All too often, we get caught up in the first two pillars. Why? Because designing for touch is fun, and designing for data is exciting. We lose sight of the primary outcome we are looking to drive. Is it to support a big social media campaign, measurable brand uplift, or a direct sale? That will determine which KPI your creative must deliver, whether it be clickthrough rate, interaction rate, completed views, and so on.

One way we’ve seen multiple outcomes achieved at once, particularly in mobile gaming is through user-initiated video, where consumers are offered an ad in return for in-game value, or additional content. In a region where 40% of consumers are using ad blockers, offering an option to choose to watch an ad is a difference-maker. And, if you think about it, creativity is about putting the user experience first – serving them with a message that surprise, delight, entertains and/or informs. It’s about delivering value. What better way to put the user first than to give them a choice? You let them be in control, you’re showing respect, engaging and then rewarding them.

In APAC, 68% of consumers feel positive about these permission-based video ads, compared to only 20% who feel positive about pre-roll. But this kind of creativity doesn’t just create positive feelings, it also delivers results. Viewability rates average 98%, ad fraud is lower than 1%, and video completion rates range upwards from 85%. Your adverts are being seen – and enjoyed. We’ve seen from brand studies across Asia on live campaigns with major advertisers significant brand uplift.

Tom Simpson, vice president, brand and exchange, APAC AdColony

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