With Connected Devices, Is the Mobile Advertising Future Mobile Or Cross-Screen?


Brands’ interest in mobile advertising is increasing dramatically, but a mobile phone is far from the only connected device that a consumer encounters throughout his day. As the list of potential ad delivery mechanisms grows, brands are trying to figure out whether they should focus strictly on smartphones and tablets or invest in a full cross-screen experience that utilizes out-of-home, connected TV and the latest wave of smartwatches and wearable tech.

The optimal media mix will ultimately come down to the return that advertisers get. We can take a look at the current trends in mobile advertising to predict what this mix will entail.

Mobile advertising today is scaled around two distinct outcomes: branding and app downloads. As a brand channel, mobile can often fall short of delivering outcomes. A majority of apps that offer space for interstitials or video impressions fail to meet most brands’ quality expectations as they aren’t responsively designed to adapt to the screen’s resolution. Moreover, most apps and sites are only built to accommodate 300×50 or 300×250 ads, leaving little room to deliver a positive, compelling experience. Due to these limitations, advertisers can compromise the effectiveness of their ads by pushing repurposed creative to in-app and mobile web ad slots.

Still, there’s good news, as mobile rich media and high impact units can be purchased programmatically. Video has been a great addition to mobile strategies as well, especially when treated like a rich media interstitial. Thinking of video in this light has helped bypass the issues that negatively impact mobile web delivery, such as player size.

This kind of creative thinking may be what helps marketers tap into the emerging “mobile” ad delivering mechanisms and the proliferation of addressable screens. In the next year or two,digital out-of-home, CTV and wearables will either fall under the mobile umbrella, or they’ll end up managed under a separate channel.

Attribution will play a major role in determining how each category is defined. For example, a wristband connected to a mobile phone is highly targetable, storing immense amounts of location, time, and contextual data that make attribution easier.

Still, the biggest reason to tie these mechanisms together within a cohesive plan is the similar types of data that come from each device. Location (IP, Lat/Long), device type, and connection type provide context for the type of ad to serve to the user.

The only hurdle with syncing these mechanisms together for ad delivery is that mobile devices enable a direct response while digital OOH and CTV do not. The latter media, while sometimes addressable, largely fail to target on a one-to-one basis.

Overall, the more that marketers and brands think about how to holistically tie their experiences together, the better the consumer experience they’ll deliver. Publishers should continue to optimize their mobile sites in order to accommodate these cross-device ad executions, paving the road for marketers to decide which elements factor into their so-called “mobile” strategy.


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