Mobile advertising is a touchy business.
Yes, I went there. Pause for applause.
Thank you, I’ll be here all week!
All puns aside, my mobile phone is the most advanced piece of gear I own, and yet it relies on the oldest interface device known to man: my hands.
This highly-evolved, cutting-edge microcomputer is a purely tactile medium. It’s direct flesh-to-tech contact. It’s warm, personal, and intimate. When you’re creating an ad that’s going to appear on someone’s phone, keep in mind that people don’t just tap and interact with your ads...they feel them.
But advertising on mobile devices is an uphill battle. A person picks up his device because he either need to be productive or wants a quick break from the grind and he is not looking for a major interruption of either experience.
So, how do we get people to break from their routines and volunteer their fingers to do your bidding?
1. Less is, and always will be, more.
You’ve heard it before and it goes double for mobile. Be concise and to the point. You only have fractions of a second to “speak” to your audience so don’t drag the experience out with pages of copy, redundant CTAs, or a labyrinth of navigation. Move ‘em along to your additional content site, download page, or video or they will hit that close button before they even download your app.
2. Use dynamic images and bold copy.
With a Pavlovian level of persistence, we’ve all been trained to ingest our media in the form of anthropomorphic images behind outlined Impact font.
In other words, cat memes rule the internet.
Why, you ask? Because we like our information bite-sized and spicy. Get my attention, and give me the gist!
People use their devices for short bursts of time, so it’s imperative that we break them of the urge to immediately tap that close button. Unfocused stock photography and small text that requires a squint and a head-tilt to understand is asking for trouble.
A relevant, dynamic image paired with a big, bold headline tells the user everything he needs to know in the blink of an eye. It drops your message right into his subconscious without him even realizing that he read it.
3. People like animation.
We do! It’s cool and fun, and when done well, it elevates your message from meh to memorable. Across almost every possible type of campaign, we’ve seen that animation directly contributes to higher interactions.
With that said, I’ve seen some really awful, garish examples. Go too crazy and you’ll have the opposite effect. But, if you keep it relevant and clean, you draw the eye and bring users into your brand experience in a way that leaves a lasting impression long after they’ve returned their phone to the safety of their pants pockets.
4. Reward the user.
Ok, Someone tapped on your impeccably designed banner and it has expanded into all its full-screen glory. What next?
Don’t bombard her with 20 pages of excruciatingly described content. She doesn’t need every social media outlet thrown in her face, and she isn’t going to sit through five minutes of video content without getting annoyed. This person trusted you with her most precious asset — time — and you abused it. Shame on you.
For every piece of content you add, channel your inner toddler and ask yourself: “Why?”
Why am I adding gyroscope navigation to this interstitial? Sure, it looks neat. And yeah, I saw my competition do it once. But will this content help me sell more microwave pizza nuggets (or whatever your product may be)? Probably not.
We have a ton of cool tools at our disposal when using a mobile device as a medium: cameras, maps, voice recognition, and the list keeps growing.
But these are busy people. They’re not on mobile for ads. They’re here to work or relax, and you have just a tiny fraction of that time to engage them. Give the users what they want. Reward them with content that serves the goal, and trim the fat. You’ll rack up taps while creating loyal brand ambassadors in the process.
Keep it short, sweet and engaging, and your users will definitely ‘give you the finger’ in the best possible way.
More from Geoffrey Gill
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.