Mobile Simplicity: You Don't Have to Be Rich To Be My Ad
Some in the industry claim mobile banner ads are a thing of the past, but there is still a case to be made for the static banner ad. Sometimes the best solution for marketers may be a simpler route, especially if scale and ease of execution are factors.
The mobile universe is a fragmented one that some marketers have avoided, due to complexity. You've got the mobile Web, apps, various platforms and operating systems. Rich media ads won't work on the mobile Web and need special coding for each platform.
Even then, cool ads like those on Apple's iAd platform will only work on the latest version of the operating system.(In response, the industry is working toward a standard coding solution with the proposed ORMMA initiative.)
If you've got your fingers in your ears at this point, fear not, the mighty (but simple) mobile banner ad is your solution: It works across the entire spectrum of mobile.
Sure, mobile banners -- by this I mean simple non-animated image ads that come in just two sizes -- do not have the emotive power of television ads and are not likely to make someone cry. They simply convey and reinforce brand messages, and they don't demand the user's interaction.
September data from Insight Express showed that of any mobile advertising format, banners have a low annoyance factor married with high likelihood to be noticed and clicked. Mobile banner ads work, however you measure them. They have brand impact superior to historical and current Web norms, and click rates at more than 10 times those of the Web. Their brand impact metrics typically score similar to online video ads -- the current champ at online effectiveness.
How is this possible? The answer is probably as simple as the formats.
The mobile Web and mobile apps are a different media experience than the Web. Pages are streamlined, and most importantly, there is usually only one ad per page and the relative amount of real estate it encompasses goes far beyond what is ever seen on the Web.
Your average Web page has multiple content boxes, several ad units and additional links. It's an ADD kaleidoscope of information. Compare this to the elegant, simple content of a well-developed mobile app -- one cascade of information with one simple unit. The units are small compared to Web ads, but mobile banner ads can appear enormous on a mobile page.
Apps and mobile Web offer a fundamentally different media experience for consumers with significant benefits for advertisers. It's not a drive-by medium like so much of television and the Web. People seek out specific content and with apps like weather, search or email, make a commitment to adding a custom piece of software to their phone. In the case of The Weather Channel, those that have our mobile app have higher weekly usage rates than those who use any of our other platforms. Consumers specifically seek out the app, and since it is offered free, the value exchange of content for advertising is explicit rather than implicit.
We're obviously still figuring out the mobile ad model. Marketers have two choices, sit it out while the dust settles and one ad format emerges -- even after 15 years of online, we're still discussing the issue -- or leap in, gain experience and find ways to connect with mobile consumers.
For some advertisers, rich media will enable them to get consumer interaction with an early adopter audience. However, for those who desire reach of the rapidly expanding market, simplicity of execution, and a true and ongoing association with content people clearly value, embrace the banner.