Mobile Ad Creative Sucks, and It’s a Matter of Time and Money

Posted on by Jason Hahn

Mobile ad creative sucks. That was, more or less, one of the main takeaways from “Technology, Marketers & Customers: The Next 10 Years,” a session during Advertising Week 2013.

“Creative is so important, and it is probably the most overlooked aspect of advertising today,” said Tim Jenkins, CEO of mobile advertising service provider 4INFO. “Speaking from personal experience, it still shocks me that the very last thing to show up six hours before you’re ready to run a campaign is the creative. And, no disrespect for all you creative types out there, but the bulk of it is rubbish.”

Jenkins said one way to improve the quality of mobile ad creative is to start with the creative sooner, at the outset of a campaign and not near the end when there’s a time crunch

“More importantly, particularly in mobile, you have to think about what the consumer is actually doing at that point in time that you’re sending the ad, and you have the ability with this medium to actually determine that, “ he said.

Before content is created and delivered, it’s crucial for advertisers to understand where a consumer is in an app and where they’re located. Then it’s up to advertisers to make sure their mobile ads are engaging and not too disruptive, despite the small screens they have to work with. This means fighting the urge to use banner ads.

“We’ve done very hard tests on creative, from static banners to very engaging rich-media campaigns, and rich media drives them through to the cash register like nothing else,” Jenkins said.

“Hilariously, with all of the technology we have available to us and all of the targeting we have available to us, good old-fashioned display advertising – there are still many marketers that are doing a terrible job of putting the right creative in front of somebody, even when they have great targeting,” said Joanna O’Connell, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “You can run a fantastically sophisticated retargeting campaign, but if you use the same piece of creative on 50 different segments, that is a lost battle. That’s just an absolute waste.”

Jenkins said this is happening because more and more advertisers are simply repurposing creative from other mediums because of budget constraints. “Mobile’s been the last 10% of the spend, so it tends to be a bit of a stepchild in that process,” he said. “It is changing, but it’s definitely been an uphill battle.”



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