A mobile-first world is here. Are your ads ready?

 

A mobile-first world is here. Are your ads ready?

mobile-first world

06 Oct A mobile-first world is here. Are your ads ready?

Story ByCarine A.
Illustration ByThe Modicum team

The mobile-first world is here. The CMO Council reports that mobile usage is now significantly higher than desktop usage, with individuals on average spending 51% of their digital media time on phones and tablets. This shift has been coming for quite a while, but despite the amount of time we’ve had to prepare, advertisers and marketers are still failing on the UX front.

Mobile ads are falling short

As mobile usage grows, ad experiences have continued to fall short of expectations as brands continue to create ads that frustrate their target audiences. It’s gotten so bad that mobile ad blocking has increased 90% year over year. While our society becomes increasingly mobile-first, marketers and advertisers everywhere are going to have to take on and solve a whole slew of unprecedented problems. But how are we ever going to be able to handle the large hurdles if we’re still collectively getting tripped up over common-sense UX issues?

Newsflash:

Source: Coalition for Better Ads

No one likes these. We know that no one likes these. So why do companies still insist on pushing disruptive ads in people’s faces?

Mobile is a key component of your success

The idea is simple. Implementation is the part people usually get hung up on. But companies better learn quickly because consequences are in sight. The Coalition for Better Ads has developed standards for mobile ads in North America and Europe. That pretty much means big brother is here, and failing ads will soon be filtered right within your browser.

And I get it, mobile browsing is still relatively new and the standards are largely (but not entirely) unwritten. Even industry leaders and household names are falling into the same trap. But with each opportunity mobile presents, marketers will have a hurdle to overcome.

1. New ways to connect with your audience

People now live their lives on multiple screens, and this connectivity gives you so many more opportunities to make a statement. Mobile devices empower users with the ability to search and discover at any given time; and with mobile media usage expected to increase to over three hours per day in 2017, brands have an unprecedented number of chances to be present during those oh-so-important moments of intent.

Mobile apps and websites can help you deepen relationships with loyal customers and prove your relevance to new sets of eyes. Because of this, it’s more important than ever to make sure your ad experience is seamless across devices. Marketers will have to figure out what it really means to develop multi-screen campaigns that are effective and valuable. You’ll have to shake things up.

2. Context-specific targeting

Mobile devices can give your ads a whole new range of depth and relevance just by being portable. Mobile gives you the opportunity to understand your brand’s context like where and when customers seek you out through environmental triggers. It can be something as deceptively simple as sending a coupon when a customer’s within walking distance of a store.

Once you have that kind of contextual information, you can use it to make sure your marketing messages are timely and successful. Brands now have the opportunity bridge the gap between a customer’s online experience and the physical world around them.But with all hyper-targeted things comes a transparency issue that needs to be addressed. Even when consumers opt into being tracked, they still don’t necessarily like knowing just how accurate your information is.

Marketers will have to struggle with striking a fine balance between informed and invasive, all while developing comprehensive ways to track physical conversions that were sparked by mobile ads. You’ll have to tread carefully to avoid creeping people out.

3. Starting from scratch

You’ve definitely seen this before. A common tactic among marketers is to take desktop assets and retrofit them for mobile. We get it. It’s easy and cost-effective, but that technique is only going to get you so far. As more people become mobile-first, companies are going to have to develop their mobile and desktop strategies into separate, yet cohesive entities.

Good news: You’re getting a blank slate to work with. Bad news: Some grunt work is involved. In general, marketers need to develop a better understanding of what the mobile experience looks like for consumers and how it differs from desktop web experiences.

Retrofitting content doesn’t always work because it disregards the context aspect that’s such a key component of mobile experiences. Google’s Mobile Advertising Guide said it best:

“Designing for mobile requires taking a step back and reconsidering the whole experience from the mobile user’s mindset and needs. Your mobile site will differ from your desktop site not just because of the size of the device, but because the mobile context reveals a different mindset for your consumers.”

How are we supposed to handle all of THAT when we’re getting caught up in the basics?

How to hit the ground running

The mobile-first world is already here, and it’s only a matter of time before we’re all forced to figure out what marketing means in an AI-first world. Just showing up isn’t enough anymore, and this is your chance to get the grunt work out of the way so you can start focusing on the real adaptation problems. This is your chance. Fix your site before mobile ad experiences are disrupted entirely. Keep your users in mind, and you’ll be able to march bravely and boldly into the future.

 

There’s more where that came from:

Why design thinking is your next competitive advantage

Take a note from Pixar: How to make your brand’s video memorable

Nostalgia marketing and the search for authenticity



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