Mobile media has been serving an indispensable role in the lives of consumers and also in media budgets even prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic (Krishnakumar, 2021). According to a study conducted by GfK, mobile media alone now surpasses one third of aggregate media spend in the United States and smartphones are considered to be the most trustworthy and reliable by consumers in the United States amongst day-to-day digital technologies. Furthermore, consumers keep coming back to their smartphone screens repeatedly during the day- an estimated 63 interactions on average per day, as per Leftronic. (Brand, 2021). Truly, no other technology can declare such type of round-the-clock influence and repetitive exposure. The growing connectivity facilitated by smartphones has led to an even more significant shift from traditional media towards digital mediums. Consequently, advertising via smartphones is now an essential component of brand marketing campaigns.
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The Influence of Smartphones on Marketing and Advertising
Starting in early 2000s, the shift to growing the usage of smartphones implied that marketers and advertisers needed to revamp their strategies and campaigns in a way where they could integrate mobile. For example, companies that did not have mobile-friendly websites were at risk of missing out on invaluable exposure on a popular search engine, i.e. the website would not have ranked high on search engine queries simply due to not have a mobile-friendly interface. The second knowledge nugget for marketers/advertisers: not only are smartphones receivers, they also transmit information. Smartphones have turned into massive storehouses of information on independent likes and preferences.
What does this mean?
Marketers/advertisers had the potential to be a lot more precise in their campaigns and were also able to provide more applicable messages to different individuals/groups as compared to the past. Although this indicated that consumers were looking forward to boosted relevancy coming from brand advertising, however, it also implied that consumers steadily started anticipating relevance whenever needed. Furthermore, consumers began turning to their smartphones more regularly to assist them in making daily decisions.
Making Exceptional Demands
A special, committed focus towards what works in this environment is the requirement for creating the correct impression in the mobile context. For instance, an outstanding campaign tailored for bigger screens may convert unsuccessfully to hand-held gadgets. Smartphones, should, in fact, be the main platform for advertisers to assess their campaigns since they offer a more demanding creative context for advertisements.
Needless to say, it is more and more demanding to engage consumers in any context.
In fact, about two-thirds of audience feel overwhelmed by advertisements and only three out of every 100 advertisements form an impression on consumers!
This problem only gets bigger with regards to mobile platforms; consumers tend to be less receptive to ads displayed on smartphones, as opposed to televisions (Brand, 2021).
Alongside these challenges; how can brands grab and retain the attention of smartphone users?
The good news: Well-developed advertisements on smartphones have the potential to be as efficient as on bigger screens, although the criteria to be successful must be a bit more firm.
Similar to all other ads, advertisements that are visually appealing and simple tend to be the most efficient at engaging consumers on smaller screens.
It is essential to engage consumers emotionally with content that is relevant to them, irrespective of whether the advertisement is a display or a video, or if it’s long or short.
Below are some guidelines to follow for successful ad campaigns:
1) Be Eye-catching and Coherent
Consumers are busy scrollers on mobile phones; they tend to move quickly move down a page and usually skip content that does not interest them. According to a study, consumers have been observed to frequently scrolling past ads; video ads (25%) and banner ads (42%) without paying any attention to them. Moreover, the ads that consumers do end up looking at, are mostly quickly brushed off on smartphones; only two-thirds continuing to watch an ad past 10 seconds. Therefore, it is observed that using vivid and cheerful colors and attractive close-in visuals (as opposed to long-distant shots), assist in bringing viewers towards ads on smartphones. Additionally, it is also seen that opening scenes in video-based advertisements that attract the audience and/or emotionally draw them in are the efficient, as compared to ads that contain darker visuals and continually changing scenes. (Brand, 2021) consumers and approach them. Moreover, having knowledge of where to meet consumers and the type of role to play, will likely build stability while the upcoming ‘normal’ evolves. Just like people, brands too need aspiration and stability. At present, several brands are executing Covid-19 response strategies, with only some of them driven by their consumers’ emotions, mindset and changing behaviors.
2) Simplicity is Key
Preserving engagement with advertisements is often much more difficult than just being an attention-grabber. This particularly holds true for ads displayed on smaller screens, with only 51% of consumers watching an entire video advertisement on a smartphone; whilst the figure is approximately 61% for larger screens. Consumers spend very little time on banner ads- around two seconds! Needless to say, holding consumers’ attention on mobile gadgets is difficult- specifically, social media is a concern (viewers on average spend only 2.3 seconds on social media ads). As a result of the challenges encountering video advertisement engagement, most marketers have moved on to shorter video advertisements, inclusive of six-second executions. It is crucial that these short ads form an emotional bond with the audience which happens most effectively when the conveyed messages are relevant and simple.
3) Bigger is (Usually) Better
Smaller screen size makes elements that look plain and attractive on larger screens appear faraway and difficult to read. Branding components such as logos are especially concerning, obstructing the connection back to the brand. Solution: regular visual checks of how advertisements appear on smaller screens must be done.
4) Playing a Long Game
Due to shorter attention spans on mobile gadgets, it comes as no surprise that mobile advertisements are less probable to leave a long-lasting good impression on the viewer and set-off a response. Solution: Making advertisements engaging and keeping messages straightforward will assist mobile ads to have more of a long-lasting influence.
5) Experimenting in Practical Settings
It is quite apparent that in order to gauge what works on mobile gadgets, it is crucial to test ad creative on the technologies within scenarios that duplicate real exposure. The noticeable differentiations in performance between conventional screens and the smaller mobile screens reveal that setting is practically everything. Solution: Have a mobile-centric outlook to your research. Keep your mobile ad game strong!