How To Be More Creative With Your Mobile Video Ad Creatives
How To Be More Creative With Your Mobile Video Ad Creatives
November 28, 2018
Gaming apps are a popular category, but most of the ad formats publishers choose to monetize their apps and audience are hardly crowd-pleasers. In fact, studies show there is a fine line between being effective and being annoying, with 57% of consumers calling out static ads that distract or obstruct—keeping them from enjoying the app—as a major peeve. Mobile video, and particularly rewarded video, has the opposite effect, paving the way for publishers to engage users, not irritate them.
Fortunately, the trend favors app marketers and brands as well. Mobile video ads are ready for prime-time, proving to be an effective way to both monetize apps and engage app audiences. Data shows almost 80% of players are open to engaging with a video ad for an in-game reward. What’s more, “less than 1-in-10 developers saw retention drop after introducing rewarded video ads.”
Positive outcomes are bound to create more competition for audiences as more publishers jump on the mobile video ad bandwagon. It’s a given that it’s going to be even harder for app marketers to capture audience attention and stand out from the crowd. This is where a sharper focus on compelling concepts and creatives can pay dividends.
Be creative to grab attention
Why are creatives critical? Because audience attention is scarce and user attention spans are declining. It’s a phenomenon researchers dub the “goldfish effect.” This is because people lose attention after 8 seconds compared to goldfish that stay focused for a full 9 seconds. This turns the pressure up on app marketers to find new ways to stay fresh and interesting.
To complicate matters, users are increasingly bored by the ads they have become accustomed to seeing on their mobile phones. Over half (56%) of respondents surveyed in the U.K. alone complain most ads they see on their mobile phones are “boring or dull.” As a result, the average person in ignores 7 mobile ads each day. Look at the national population, and this figure translates to a massive 20 million ads wasted.
Clearly, users have lost patience with ads that are creatively uninspired or irrelevant (or both). It’s why app marketers and agencies are experimenting with ad formats that bring new life to tired banner ads. Imagination and innovation are also needed to ensure mobile video ads activate and motivate audiences at scale.
Rethinking mobile video ads
For app publishers, video ads are a proven and top-performing format and rewarded video an extremely effective monetization tool. To date video is the market’s "hottest revenue generator". But the market is also heating up, turning up the pressure on app publishers and marketers to stake their competitive turf. There’s a lot at stake, so here’s my pick of tips you can follow to ensure you create mobile video ads sure to move, motivate and monetize audiences at scale.
#1) Be real—and mean it.
Take some inspiration from the real-world around you. Digital marketing reports consistently tell us that ad creatives strike a chord when they mirror audience demographics and desires. Put another way, creatives “rooted in real life” can be extremely effective. Don’t overdo your creatives to make them look perfect—and don’t invest in celebrities to deliver the message. Of course, your choices will always depend on your app category and target audience. There are no blueprints, but there are valuable lessons and guidelines if you have the vision to look around. A thread running through some of today’s most successful campaigns suggests publishers are winning audiences with imagery that portrays the real world as it *really* is.
#2) Blend in to stand out.
Go with the flow of the app and make sure ad placements in your app deliver a seamless experience that enhances, not interrupts. Keep in mind the advice of Chris Binstadt, general manager of advertising and media at Instart Logic, a digital experience management platform, who tells us “a perfect ad is perceived as content.” At one level, this means making sure the video ad blends in with the app content or gameplay. But you can also push the envelope with an approach I like to call the “native creative.” In this scenario, the video ad is an integral part of the app experience. A great example is a reward video from Pomelo Games. It cleverly inserts the video ad from Mars into a TV screen, displaying a hologram-like image to the user signaling that a “New Message from Mars Corp” has arrived. The user naturally clicks to open and they are then presented with a call-to-action to watch the video to get credits. It’s seamless, smart and should inspire app publishers and marketers to unleash their creative potential to do the same—or go one better.
#3) Tell an interesting and interactive story.
Users aren’t spectators. A new study from the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) and its Digital Video Center for Excellence shows mobile video ads that are interactive and “shoppable” are more effective at capturing user attention and generating brand lift. What’s more, ads that excite user curiosity are among the most effective. According to the study, the call-to-action “Learn More” was judged by consumers to be more creative (and hence, more attention-getting) than the other formats. Apply this research to app marketing and you have a strong case for ads and approaches that draw users into the ad and encourage them to explore. Against this backdrop, it’s easy to understand the appeal of an end card and the rise of AR video ads. (An end card is an interactive set of creatives displayed in the moment a video ends, building a bridge to the rest of the app or game.) But why stop there? We know users want control of their ad experience and they want variety. Story-driven gaming apps could cover both bases with “choose your own adventure” video ads that let users co-create the video ad. It’s not so far-fetched if we consider how Netflix is increasingly blurring the lines, allowing us to go beyond passively watching videos to interact with them to create different stories.
The bottom line: Your app audience is sophisticated and empowered. They are accustomed to having control over their content experiences and they will likewise respond positively to mobile video ads that enhance gameplay and allow them to make choices and decide outcomes. Get it right, and creative approaches to video ads can do more than increase session length or grow revenues. They can turn audiences into loyal app fans who will return to your app again and again.