Why Aren't We Creating Ads Designed Specifically for Mobile?

It seems that many marketers and agencies think that we can just slap some online creative into a mobile-sized ad and somehow that might catch people's interest and get them to tap on these ads.
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As Advertising Week came to a close last Friday, most of us were feeling tired. It wasn't due to the 6-course dinners, or the cocktail hours, or even the concert at Terminal 5. We were feeling exhausted because we'd heard so many great perspectives from the leaders in our industry -- it's been a lot to take in within one week.

I've taken some time this weekend to sit back and digest everything that was said and reflect on it.

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I checked the day's forecast on my favorite weather app, and, as always, took a look at the ad on the page. I come across many mobile ads because it's part of my job to see what's happening in the space. But it's always a rarity when I identify an ad as one created specifically for mobile.

Most of the ads that I see on my smartphone are TV or Online ads repurposed for mobile. And it is usually pretty clear that they weren't intended to run in a mobile environment, but somehow they've ended up there.

It seems that many marketers and agencies think that we can just slap some online creative into a mobile-sized ad and somehow that might catch people's interest and get them to tap on these ads. I feel bad for those little out of place ads. I feel bad because they will never get the attention that they should've, had they been interactive or engaging.

So why are we still creating mobile ads that are static and boring?

If you think about it, mobile ads that run on phones are typically the smallest ads that any agency or marketer can purchase -- a standard smartphone ad space is 320 pixels in width and usually around 50 pixels in height. To put that into perspective, this ad space is about the same width as a standard ad you'd see on most websites online, but 1/5 of the size in height. A small ad space, certainly, but the potential is HUGE.

On Wednesday I was invited to speak on a panel about the value of rich media in mobile. We discussed the economics of using rich media and whether the ad performance garnered the investment. My stance was clear -- mobile rich media has impressive interaction rates and they clearly outweigh the premium we pay to run these ads. I also stated that I firmly believe we must bring an experience to the consumer and not try to pull a consumer away from their content.

We must develop messages that encourage consumers to engage with a brand. And then we must take them into an immersive experience -- one that is interactive and memorable.

And while a mobile ad experience can start in the smallest ad space around, there has never been a media channel that allows us to so quickly grab the attention of our audiences through the use of the senses -- sight, sound, touch, and voice.

TV and Online use sight and sound to engage with consumers. Print and Out-of-Home primarily use sight but sometimes include touch or sound elements. And Radio relies on sound alone.

Mobile is different. Mobile can ask a consumer to do something -- touch it, tap it, say something, watch something. But most importantly it can react based upon that person's response. For example, we can ask people to tap a button in an ad and then bring them to a map of all the retail locations that carry a certain product, even providing directions on how to get there.

Mobile cannot use the sense of smell... yet! But it can use any combination of these other elements to deliver a powerful brand experience that resonates with the consumers' senses. As agencies and marketers, we should always be thinking about how we can use these things to bring ads to life.

I encourage you, as media agencies, creative agencies, and marketers -- think about how you can make mobile more exciting from a creative perspective.

If you aren't developing mobile specific creative that utilizes the device capabilities and maximizes rich media, why are you doing mobile? The power and effectiveness of mobile relies on rich media, so do yourself and the consumer a favor and use it.

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