We’re still underinvesting in mobile

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To unlock the creativity of mobile, it must not be seen as a bolt-on.

Media owners, brands, and agencies need to collaborate to create successful mobile campaigns. This is true from when starting to develop the media plan through to the resulting creative execution and optimisation, yet still many brands persist in repurposing advertising made for other media.

So it’s not surprising that, as an industry, we don’t tend to create truly memorable mobile ads.

The untapped potential is staggering. When executed properly, mobile can allow for the ultimate creative experience. When it comes to storytelling and creating an emotional connection with the user, this highly personal media is hard to beat.

Despite its smaller screen size, there’s an argument to be made that mobile allows for greater creativity and engagement than desktop, thanks to the intimacy of the device and the ability to track real-time location data.

Yet today it’s hard to deny that, if you hold up the average mobile ad next to an equivalent commercial on TV, the creative is likely to pale in comparison. Looking at mobile creative across banners, MPUs and video, it can feel like it’s easier to find examples that are terrible than it is to find truly effective built-for-mobile experiences. Many banner ads have simply been shrunk from a desktop version.

Sadly, there’s a perception that you can’t be creative with banners on mobile. This is partly a result of the fact that, all too often, mobile advertising is an afterthought or a bolt-on. For all the talk of ‘mobile-first’, the channel is frequently inheriting whatever assets have already been created. And despite the fact that mobile video was the fastest-growing format in the IAB’s UK 2016 digital ad report, when it comes to building mobile video, many opt to simply recycle a TV ad.

Re-editing the video to a more mobile-friendly length isn’t enough. If you don’t believe me, take the fact that TV ads are shot for a landscape screen, for instance, whereas most mobile users are likely to be holding their device vertically.

The great thing about advertising in the 21st Century is that we have so many new canvases to paint our ideas onto. But with so many adverts and messages being served daily, consumers have developed coping mechanisms to help filter the noise. Creativity is an absolute must, not a nice to have.

Campaigns are becoming more complex as technological developments evolve and they require marketers, agencies and tech partners to collaborate. In the future things are only going to speed up. Advertising formats will respond to live events in real time and immersive formats, powered by developer tools such as ARKit and ARCore, will become standard. Yet today we are still grappling with the differences between consuming content on mobile versus desktop.

Let’s demand more of ourselves. Soon, the mobile experience will be redefined once again thanks to voice interfaces such as Amazon Echo, image recognition in search and augmented reality – all of which will open up avenues for engagement more widely than ever before.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of mobile in today’s digital marketing landscape. Running a smart mobile campaign means taking the time to design it for mobile audiences. From site design to email templates, social engagement to paid search, plan for mobile across the board. With geolocation, deep linking, Beacons, payments, sensors, touch ID and activity trackers at your fingertips, there’s no excuse not to.

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