Justin Lim
May 3, 2019

Small screen, big impact

Mobile advertising is no longer a nice-to-have but an essential part of marketing strategy. Brands need to master it as a creative medium.

Small screen, big impact

The number of smartphone users in APAC is set to grow to more than 1.8 billion during the next two years. Furthermore, advertisers understand the importance of reaching these connected consumers, with almost 60% of digital ad spend already delivered through mobile channels. However, while advertisers are splashing out on mobile advertising, increased spend doesn’t necessarily translate to high performance. Mobile may be expected to overtake TV globally by 2021, but mobile ads are currently less effective at driving recall among potential customers than their TV counterparts.

To reverse this trend and ensure mobile advertising delivers an emotional and engaging experience, advertisers need to focus on ad creative. This means embracing innovative formats specifically designed to maximize results on the small screen—rather than simply shrinking creative designed for other platforms such as desktop or TV. Creative accounts for almost half (47%) of sales contribution in advertising, so when advertisers get mobile creative right and deliver a true multi-device experience, it drives impressive results.

Here are three ways advertisers can drive high performance through mobile creative:

1. Impact without intrusion

The small screen of the smartphone presents advertisers with a conundrum. How do they make ad creative impactful enough to capture and maintain consumer attention without causing irritation by taking over the entire screen or blocking content the user wants to access?

We are already seeing brands starting to explore the power of mobile-specific formats to ensure that creative can work with users, rather than against them. Marketers across the region are looking to the key players for inspiration and results they can implement in their own campaigns. In their recent movie promotion of Solo, Disney specifically chose a mobile format for display advertising, featuring a non-intrusive sticky banner which included the characters from the movie, that remained at the foot of the screen as the user scrolled, and then expanded upwards to reveal a larger, more powerful creative when the user finished engaging with the content. This approach meant the ad could make an impact without interrupting the users experience.

2. Adapting to alternative actions

The actions mobile users take when interacting with content on smartphones are very different from those used on desktop, so advertisers must ensure mobile ad formats are adapted as such. For a start, the touchscreen nature of smartphones makes it easy for users to accidentally click on ads or links, resulting in irritation and negative brand perception. To combat this issue, advertisers can use formats that are activated by more definite actions such as swipes, which are less likely to be made in error. Such formats are less intrusive and perform well—in our experience, delivering a 1.2% clickthrough-rate (CTR), 2.8% average swipe rate, and 90% viewability.

In addition, smartphone users almost always hold their devices in the vertical position, only turning to the more traditional horizontal orientation when watching long-form video. This behavior means advertisers must design mobile creative to be viewed vertically, for instance by shooting video in the right ratio for smartphones rather than cutting down traditional TV creative.

3. Increasing interactivity

Using the smartphone’s core functionality to make ads immersive and interactive is a highly effective way to boost performance and is gaining popularity with advertisers, with 65% of our APAC campaigns delivered via an interactive mobile format. By allowing users to physically interact with creative they can be actively involved in the brand story and influence their own experience. A study into video ads reveals interactive elements increase time spent with a brand by 47%, and can make an ad 32% more memorable even when the user chooses not to interact.

To leverage the power of interaction, advertisers can adopt formats that include interactive elements such as slideshows, videos, 360° product views, and store locators. Universal Studios Singapore recently created excitement for its Jurassic World Explore and Roar event by enabling mobile users to immerse themselves in the Fallen Kingdom via a 360° view.

Mobile advertising is essential to reach today’s increasingly connected consumers, but going mobile doesn’t mean advertisers have to sacrifice campaign performance. By embracing impactful yet non-intrusive ad formats, adapting to smartphone specific actions, and exploring interactivity, advertisers can ensure mobile creative is innovative and engaging, driving big results on the small screen.


Justin Lim is head of sales for Asia at Sublime.

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