Media Buying Trends for Mobile: Display Ad Formats

Desktops to laptops, laptops to tablets, tablets to phones—the way viewers consume digital advertising has moved drastically from their office or home computer to devices in the palm of their hand over the past few decades. Digital advertising in mobile is an area that continues to grow and change with advancements in the advertising industry.

Based on details from FunMobility’s “Mobile Advertising Trends Report 2014” this blog is the start of a two-part series about the current state of this area of the industry and two of the biggest trends to pay attention to:

  • Mobile Display Ad Formats
  • Industries Using Mobile Advertising

Part One: Changes in Mobile Display Ad Formats

By and large, consumers don’t actually like advertising. It would be more accurate to say they tolerate it as a means to an end. In response to this attitude of consumers, mobile display ad formats are improving to engage reluctant consumers. The year has seen a significant shift away from static banners and ads because they are not exciting enough and they are too small to catch consumers’ attention, particularly when viewed on a small phone screen.

Two formats of display ads for mobile devices that have shown significant trends in use are rich media and native advertising.

How to Make a Rich Media Ad That Engages the Consumer

So, what is “rich media”? According to the Mobile Marketing Association:

  • Rich media is “any ad that delivers a deeper experience than is traditionally seen with mobile banner ads”
  • Examples of rich media include, “streaming video content, animated GIFs within the ad, an audio layer, or any interactive feature set other than basic mobile clickthrough.”

People love videos, however, people do not love video ads. This type of rich media may be frustrating from a consumer’s perspective because it is highly disruptive. For example, opening a website on a mobile device and a video ad pops up with a noisy audio feature—this is aggravating to the consumer if they are in a quiet environment like a library or on a train.

However, this format has improved recently. It is less disruptive to a viewer, and more valuable to an advertiser, when it has an opt-in function. A compelling call-to-action will get the viewer to click to view the video, and after watching will be more likely to convert to complete the form, find a store, answer the survey, etc. Opt-in style, rich media ads have a clickthrough rate three to five times the rate of static ads, generate more valuable leads, and are easier to measure the performance of than static ad.

This example illustrates the engagement this improved format yields. Even with either one of the video elements of visuals or sound, like a GIF or audio layer, consumer engagement with rich media is increased as opposed to previous formats, and allowing for an opt-in and less intrusive display format creates a better experience overall.

Be Wary of Utilizing Native Ads

Another new format generating a lot of buzz on mobile is native advertising. This ad format differs greatly from rich media and traditional media. Rather than trying to grab consumers’ attention with eye catching words, images, sounds, or video, native advertising is designed to blend in with the website or app the mobile user is already viewing.

Although the clickthrough rate is higher with this type of advertising, the conversion rate is significantly lower. The mobile user may be interested in the content presented, but they may not be in the target market that would actually purchase your product offering, therefore they will not convert.

Additionally, native advertising is tricky because consumers don’t like to be fooled. If the consumer who clicks on an ad feels the brand has misled them, they attach that negativity to the experience and ultimately to the brand. This may result in not just a loss of conversion at the time, but also a loss of that customer for the future.

This format is gaining popularity; however, it may not be wise in the end if consumers feel they’ve been fooled and associate deception with your company. Native advertising may be newer, but it is not necessarily an improvement.

Mobile advertising has seen significant changes in display ad formats this year. Specifically, rich media has improved how you engage your audience and native advertising has introduced a different way to convey your company’s message to the consumer. Keeping up with trends in mobile advertising can be difficult; learning new formats, understanding how they work, and deciphering whether they are beneficial to your brand is not always easy.

Multimedia not only understands that many struggle with recognizing and utilizing these trends, we also have solutions to alleviate this stress. We work with you to place ads with these new and improved media formats in some of the world’s most successful media outlets. To discuss options in these formats and let us help you take advantage of the right trends for your brand, contact us.