The secret to best-in-class mobile ads

April 3, 2017 | WRITTEN BY Alex Saric Mobile advertising’s meteoric rise is set to continue, with global spend estimated to grow from $108.9 B in 2016 to $143.5 B in 2017. Unfortunately, the majority (55% according to Forrester) of that spend is wasted on ineffective ads that consumers neither engage with nor even recall.

That’s good (and scary) to know, but of course what would really be useful is knowing which 55% before you spend it. Then fixing the issues so as little as possible of your ad spend is wasted.

The latest study from On Device Research helps provide just such insight. Their analysis of 200 mobile ad effectiveness studies reveals that the top performing 20% of mobile ads showed 6x the improvement in ad recall and purchase intent versus the remaining 80%. Furthermore, the best ads outperformed the rest at every stage of the branding funnel, from awareness through recall, consideration and purchase intent.

Creative quality was a key driver of the significant disparity between the top performing ads and the rest. That creative matters is clear, but what exactly makes a creative best-in-class? That is where the study provides the most useful insights, having deconstructed creatives to pinpoint the attributes that really drive performance. I group the findings into 3 core lessons for advertisers (see the study for full details):
  1. Formats matter: Richer media, especially when incorporating video or interactivity, is well worth the investment
  2. Do sweat the details: Several of the criteria identified relate to seemingly trivial design aspects, such as placing your logo on every frame and at the top of the creative
  3. Style counts: Ensuring clarity of your message (no dual-branding) and, when appropriate, incorporating a touch of humor
By adhering to these lessons, you can create much more effective ads. Problem solved, right?

If only it were that simple. Building quality ads is critical to effective advertising but the real trick is to do so at scale, across all campaigns, channels and screens. And that is where most brands truly struggle. With creative production generally split among publishers, networks, agencies and further by geography, scaling with any level of control and quality can seem out of reach. So how are leading brands driving best-in-class advertising?

The key is to build a process that seamlessly ties together your media, data and creative efforts. Most brands have gotten quite good at the media side and are getting closer to effectively leveraging data but creative usually trails. An effective creative management platform can address this gap, integrating with your data and enabling efficient production of quality creatives, distribution across channels and unified analytics to optimize. Brands gain back control of their message, can communicate it optimally and do so efficiently across campaigns.  

There is a silver lining to today’s sad state of ad creative. Clever advertisers have a tremendous opportunity to build a significant competitive advantage by enabling best-in-class creative at scale across their advertising program. The answer is clear but it is up to advertisers to act.

To download the full research click here