‘Don’t creep out your audience’ – avoiding the pitfalls of mobile advertising

As mobile advertising spend reaches its highest point ever in the region, InSkin Media Asia’s Angeline Lodhia looks at how marketers can make the best use of it without alienating consumers audience

Measurement and metrics should become a priority for mobile marketers in the Asia-Pacific region. The pursuit of transparency will definitely pay off. For mobile is emerging as the star player in Asia’s advertising game.

As the State of the Industry: Mobile Marketing in APAC report by public relations company Prospect and the platform Public Affairs Asia states, trust – on the industry side at least – in mobile advertising is in fact increasing – with over 60 per cent of marketers convinced of its effectiveness.

With digital ad spend in the region at 34 per cent of overall ad budgets, Asia-Pacific has soared past the United States and took the global lead in proportional digital ad spend in 2016. By next year, Asian ad spend is estimated to reach a total of US$252 billion. Mobile advertising is a driving factor in this development, as marketers acknowledge Asia’s spectacular smartphone adoption rates.

The Interactive Advertising Board Singapore has predicted it will make up 38 per cent of South East Asia’s total media ad spend in 2017, albeit with wide regional variations. While countries with lower digital adoption rates and consequently low mobile ad spend percentages, like Indonesia’s 6.8 per cent, skew the average downwards mobile will make up a staggering 51.6 per cent of total media spend in Singapore, which is estimated to hit around US$194.3 million in 2017.

With investments of this magnitude at stake, it’s more important than ever for marketers to ensure that there is a return on investment. Here are six steps you can take to ensure your money is being wisely spent.

Strip out non-viewable advertising

Never pay for ads that will not be seen because they are too short or not prominent. Ad effectiveness is significantly dependent on in-view time. Anything viewable for less than 14 seconds is unlikely to be looked at for even a second by a consumer.

While smaller ad formats hit viewability benchmarks more easily, larger formats achieve higher engagement. The first challenge of mobile display, therefore, is that 95 per cent of screens are too small for larger, more effective formats.  

To tackle this, focus on responsive creative, which automatically adapts to the screen size.  New technology that makes ads scroll the page with the user without obscuring content allows advertisers to keep their brand messaging in view at all times, increasing engagement and brand recall.

Don’t bother with low-impact ad formats

Standard display advertising can be turned around relatively quickly and cheaply – a strategy that seems appealing at first glance. A closer look, however, reveals that it elicits minimal attention from the user. Even within the range of high-impact, rich-media advertising, different formats and ad environments achieve vastly different levels of attention. Research indicates that larger ad formats, especially page takeovers, are looked at for significantly longer than smaller ones.

Share of voice is another important factor. Smaller banner formats cannot compete in environments with multiple ads: they are 37 per cent less likely to be looked at than ads in uncluttered environments, and therefore less likely to be effective.

Make your creative attractive

Striking design is crucial. Even the most powerful strategy is worthless, if the creative itself doesn’t attract the user’s attention. Visual attention time on a format can more than double depending on creative execution. This shows that even if an ad is viewable, it still must be worth a glance to be effective. Especially on a smartphone, advertising needs to pique the user’s interest within a short window of time.

Increase the relevance of your ads

Don’t waste money on ads delivered in the wrong context. Our Frequency, Familiarity and Fine Lines study showed that ads delivered in a relevant context, such as cosmetics ads delivered in beauty magazines, are better received than ads delivered in an unrelated context. In addition, relevant ads are 33 per cent less likely to be perceived as annoying.

The quality of the ad environment also has an impact on the consumer’s perception of the ad: advertising is perceived as more trustworthy when delivered on high-quality websites, and a user is 37 per cent more likely to click on an ad in a trustworthy environment.

Streamline your online campaigns with a cross-device approach

While ‘mobile-first’ is a trend that marketers can’t afford to ignore, ‘mobile-only’ is a missed opportunity. A fully integrated cross-device campaign with device-optimised creatives has the advantage of reaching the user in various different contexts, when they will be in different moods and mindsets. Maximising your ad’s presence on different screens increases the likelihood of the user being receptive.

Never annoy the consumer

The APAC region is forecast to have 1.48bn smartphone users by 2019 – that’s 1.48 billion reasons to make sure that mobile campaigns will deliver a positive user experience. And let’s be honest, a lot of mobile advertising is a bit of a nuisance; especially if it’s unskippable, obscures content or is difficult to close. Endless retargeting is annoying and even creepy.

We have to put ourselves in users’ shoes and focus on making the ad experience as pleasant as possible. If we deliver a video ad on autoplay, it should be without sound. If we insist on hiding content behind interstitial formats, they should be easy to close. Instead of directing the user away from their content, a microsite is a useful tool.

Mobile advertising, if done right, can be a powerful ally to the modern marketer. The huge array of new technology enables us to not only reach our target audience at times when they are most receptive, but also to measure its success. It is important, however, to keep the user front and centre in the process at all times.

Angeline Lodhia is the general manager of ad-tech company InSkin Media Asia


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