How to achieve creative engagement in the mobile ecosystem

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Exponential’s head of mobile for APAC & South Africa, Nicole Liebmann, set out to answer the question when she presented to 40 New Zealand marketers last week, at Pilkingtons Bar & Restaurant in Auckland.

Brands including Jucy, BNZ, AAI and Kellogg’s, heard Liebmann’s roadmap for building more engaging mobile creative and advertising experiences.

According to Liebmann, successful mobile advertising is predicated on understanding and respecting the customer journey. “Respecting the journey is fundamental,” she said.

“Without this respect we are pushing consumers away from engagement and further towards actions such as enabling ad blocking which ultimately is to the detriment of all advertisers and publishers.”

Liebmann believes that in addition to respecting the consumer journey, ads must always provide consumers with control and choice. “Pushing your message on to consumers regardless of their personal choices results in an extremely negative experience,” she said.

“Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the consumer and think about how we would personally react to invasive, non-user initiated mobile ad formats. If we would find them obnoxious and annoying then we should really not be using them.

“Opt-in creative not only supports and enhances every mobile user’s journey, it also drives genuine engagement and interest which is crucial for mobile advertising success.”

Smartphone campaigns
The context of how people use their smartphones must also be taken into consideration when developing mobile creative strategies and campaigns. The audience heard that mobile creative works best when it has been built to display information and content in a direct and useful way. This ensures that users can consume the contents of the ad unit both quickly and easily.

“With users dipping in and out of their devices a whopping 150 times per day on average, it is not surprising that mobile usage is extremely fragmented,” Liebmann said. “As a result of this fragmentation individual session times are low, leaving brands with a limited communication window that can be used to engage, interact and connect with their desired audience.

“Anything we can do to ensure the consumer understands the products, services and core brand messaging within these small windows of opportunity then becomes crucial and a necessity.”

Rich media
Finally, when engagement with your audience is key, Liebmann highlighted the importance of rich media. “Rich media naturally drives that intrigue and excitement whilst providing brands and their consumers with unique and exciting points of interaction,” she said.

“It also empowers brands to really think outside the box to help them stand out from their competitors. Smartphones and tablets have a wide range of awesome and often unique native functionality – such as tapping, pinching, swiping and shaking – that can be incorporated into rich creative to not only enhance engagement but to also ensure the consumer is able to intuitively and organically move through that ad experience.”

Liebmann supported the importance of rich media with benchmarks for Exponential’s smartphone and tablet rich media campaigns run across New Zealand. Average engagement rates sat around 1.3% and impressively, the use of their rich media creative units has garnered an average CTR of 2.23% – significantly higher than the general market average of 0.35%-0.7%.

When asked during the Q&A session her thoughts on brand safety, specifically in mobile and given the recent concerns in market, Liebmann pointed out the reality that many different vendors have different solutions before detailing Exponential’s unique four-tier verification system, ‘Page Guard’, in example.

“Exponential’s Page Guard processes the text of every single page across our platform on which we serve ads to determine if there is any textual content that is inappropriate or unsafe. Any page that has questionable content is marked unsafe and is removed from the network. Importantly, ads are always only served on pages that have been scanned and marked as approved.”

Liebmann concluded the breakfast event by responding to questions regarding mobile targeting towards older demographics being “overly ambitious in opportunity”.

Her response was that mobile’s infiltration in the market doesn’t necessarily apply to the age of the device’s user. She continued by explaining that functionality and what the device’s capabilities are “bringing in to our lives is universal and understood by a vast range of demographics”.

Taking this into consideration, Liebmann stated: “I truly don’t feel there were limitations around the use of mobile by brands to communicate with and engage with older audiences.

“With all mobile strategies, it is important to understand your audience and tailor the creative and campaign strategy appropriately to them so in this instance it would make sense to develop and utilise mobile offerings and creative that incorporates relevant functionality and points of interaction.”

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