The challenges publishers, agencies and ad tech companies face in mobile creative are well-documented. On October 14, an IAB panel featuring members from each side of the digital ecosystem explored what is working and also paid tribute to the 2014 IAB MIXX Awards winners in different mobile categories before engaging in a lively discussion on the state of mobile creative and what could be done to improve it.
Innovations and IAB MIXX Awards
Joe Laszlo, Senior Director of IAB Mobile Marketing Center, welcomed members to the IAB Ad Lab before highlighting some of the efforts IAB has made in the mobile space. Laszlo noted the “Make Mobile Work” initiative that helps advertisers build cross-screen creative; the “MRAID: Next Generation” effort to find a common API; and the Mobile Rising Stars program aimed at defining new ad standards.
After outlining some of the issues mobile creatives face (especially increasing screen resolutions), Laszlo introduced the panel members who presented ads that were either 2014 IAB MIXX Awards winners or examples of effective mobile campaigns.
Andrew Brenan, Sales Director, East, Opera MediaWorks, presented the Jack in the Box “Late Night Slot Machine Campaign” by Horizon Media and AdColony, the recent acquisition of Opera. Winner of the Gold Medal in the Custom Mobile Rich Media Display Ad at IAB MIXX Awards, the Jack in the Box spot featured a dose of brand humor, a gamification element and the ability for the audience to locate restaurants using GPS and mapping apps.
Rob Cromer, Chief Executive Officer, Adcade, presented the Oakley Customizer campaign that took the IAB MIXX Awards Silver Medal for IAB Rising Star Rich Media Display. This cross-platform campaign worked on both desktop and mobile while using information directly from Oakley’s company server. As a result, the product information was up-to-date, allowing consumers to purchase in-stock items without needing an Oakley sales contact.
Theo Skye, Executive Creative Director, Medialets, presented the “Ray Donovan New York Times App Takeover” ad that won the Gold Medal for IAB Rising Star Mobile Rich Media Display at the IAB MIXX Awards. It featured autoplay video inside a banner ad and was an example of how technological challenges can be overcome by mobile industry players.
Agency and media perspectives
Sia Ea, Creative Director, Ansible, presented an example of a winning campaign on mobile from the agency perspective. Ansible offered BENGAY access to millennials by integrating helpful exercise tools for mobile devices as well as rewards that could be used to purchase music and coupons. Ansible’s “less is more” approach drove a 70 percent lift in ad awareness and increased the purchase intent by 38 percent.
Jason Young, Chief Executive Officer, Crisp, showed off his media company’s approach to location-based mobile strategy with an example of a Home Depot circular campaign that tied deals to a specific store location. Young also highlighted elements of successful mobile campaigns, from leveraging device functionality to continuing a brand’s story from other platforms and allowing for scale.
Panel discussion explores state of mobile
The successful ads presented by the panel members showcased winning strategies in the mobile space, but each member acknowledged there were ways to improve terminology and industrywide practices. Rob Cromer suggested that the fact the industry was “still thinking about mobile” was an overriding problem. Thinking “digital” rather than simply mobile would be better.
Sia Ea, representing the agency perspective, agreed and noted that Ansible dropped “mobile” from its name for that very reason. While highlighting some of the struggles to reconcile creative with the technology available, the panel agreed that standardizing ads was the way to go in order to move the industry forward. Rather than focusing 80 percent of their time on the “how” of advertising, agencies could get back to spending 80 percent on creative with better tech solutions in place.
Bridging the gap between technology and creative remained a common theme in Jason Young’s panel remarks, while Sia Ea noted how Ansible was bringing more media in-house than ever before. As an example of what is working, Andrew Brenan pointed out how great relationships between agency and ad tech companies involved coordination from the beginning of the process.
Theo Skye highlighted challenges in measuring mobile impressions accurately, which rounded up the talk with another area the panel agreed could be improved. No matter how well a campaign does, Skye noted, poor measurement will not do it justice.
While challenges remain in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, mobile creative is flourishing, as the panel members’ ad examples and the conversation clearly showed.