4 Musts for Successful Mobile Ads


ADOTAS — In my pre-digital days, I sold local radio in Atlanta. Selling radio for a local radio station is a lot like working for a startup. You wear many hats: cold-calling, creating proposals, dropping off air checks, picking up checks and more often than not, writing ad copy.

Jeff Davis, a former colleague, taught me that targeting was only half the battle. A terrible ad on the right radio station was almost as useless as not running an ad at all. That’s just as true in the mobile space.

Knowing the creative space on mobile devices is extremely limited, it is important to follow certain guidelines in order to avoid major pitfalls.

1. Use original creative. The biggest mistake agencies and brands make is re-purposing larger creative for a smaller screen. This is often done for several reasons with the most common being limited creative budget and expediency. Consumers react differently viewing ads on different devices. Simply taking the creative elements from a display ad and expecting it to make sense on a device a 20th the size is asking a lot.

2. Hi-res. Hi-res. Hi-res. The easiest mistake to avoid in any campaign, much less a mobile campaign, is using low-res creative. Qriously’s statistics show that CTR can improve sometimes as much as 2x simply by showing a hi-res, clearer version of the ad.

3. Use sequential messaging. The technology to tell a digital story has existed for years, but is rarely used, especially in the mobile space. Usually done in the name of efficiency brands will cram as much information into an ad as humanly possible. At Qriously, we call this “death by purchase funnel.” You aren’t going to sell someone a car in one ad. Take a breath and separate the creative into a clear and concise story that drives a customer from awareness to purchase instead of beating the consumer over the head with the funnel.

4. Make it all work together. Finding the right target and showing them clear and concise creative is only two thirds of the battle. The final element to a successful campaign is making sure the landing page matches the consumer’s expectations. You’ve planned the campaign, found the right consumer and attained their interest, now it’s time to deliver the goods. There is nothing worse than driving all the way to Wally World to find out it’s closed.

These guidelines will give any campaign the best chance to succeed.


  1. Can’t fault these tips, though I would add that it’s more important today than ever to think beyond the banner. Banner ads are pretty close to being pointless, which is why Yahoo is dumping them in favor of new mobile ad strategies focused on native advertising and video – the stuff that has put ad networks like Airpush and social networks like Twitter and Facebook in position to dominate the mobile advertising industry. Developers AND advertisers need to get creative and stay on the cutting edge, where Google and Millennial Media used to be but aren’t anymore. And look at the ground they’re losing to the new guys in this game.


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