The world of digital advertising has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. With phone prices dropping and availability growing, more people own smartphones than ever before. It is estimated that two-thirds of U.S. consumers currently own a smartphone – that’s a 44% increase since 2011. In fact, new findings from Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report suggest that smartphone popularity is so high that they are now more prevalent than both gaming consoles and digital cable. The report also revealed that the average person owns about four mobile devices and spends roughly 60 hours a week consuming content on them.
Given these staggering statistics, and the probability that interactive and mobile advertising will continue to prosper, advertisers are no longer asking the question “Should we utilize digital advertising?” They are now asking, “How should we utilize digital advertising?” The answer is surprisingly simple: get proactive with interactive, and conform the content to the medium.
Get Proactive With Interactive
Interactive advertising refers to marketing practices that include an element of interaction from those whom the ads are directed – encouraging engagement and soliciting feedback. When interactive was first introduced, it was groundbreaking; since then it has become commonplace in the world of advertising. Plastering one-size-fits-all banners across media has become a thing of the past, as it has proven no longer effective. Interactive advertising encourages consumers to interact with the ads in the same way that they interact with the media (by touching, swiping, clicking, dragging, etc.). This provides advertisers with feedback from the consumer while encouraging them to take the time to physically interact with the message, which is far more effective at communicating than simply running a banner ad alongside a website’s content.
One of the most appealing elements of interactive and mobile for advertisers is that everything is measurable. When a consumer clicks a takeover ad or exits out of it almost immediately, that information is measurable. It communicates to the agency how that ad is performing, and how it is being received. If the ad is performing poorly, adjustments can then be made to help make the ad more effective at communicating its message. We are living in a digital age, and thus ads that are set to run on digital media must be interactive if the advertiser expects favorable results from the campaign. If you want to see the best results from your digital campaign, you must adhere to modern practices and get proactive with interactive.
Conform the Content to the Medium
Long before the rise of the digital age, communication theorist Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.” He could not have been more accurate, as passive advertising has proven to be best for passive devices, interactive advertising has proven to be best for interactive devices, and so on. Research shows that device- and medium- optimized ads perform better on major metrics because the viewers have a distinctive emotional and situational context during the experience. Recent research from Sony Crackle shows that 96% of viewers watched an ad to completion through internet-connected TV, while the same could be said for only 76% of mobile viewers. However, while smartphone users spent an average of 98 seconds interacting with ads, connected TV viewers spent an average of only 68 seconds. This illustrates that TV users want to watch passively while phone and tablet users want engage interactively. Content should cater to these tendencies in order to be successful.
For example, when Screamer Co. was faced with developing a mobile application for Xenex Disinfection Services we wanted to create something that was interactive and engaging. Therefore, we developed a game that represented the primary benefit of what the Xenex system does: disinfect hospital rooms in record time. We pitted the player against the Xenex Disinfection System and asked them to kill as many germs as they could using their fingers. The end goal was to be faster than the Xenex machine. The result was an engaging game that was fun to play, but at the same time encouraged brand awareness and interaction.
The world of digital advertising is constantly evolving. Staying on top of the trends is the only way to ensure campaign success and survival. In the realm of digital, at least for now, it’s as simple as getting proactive with interactive, and conforming the content to the medium.