During the Emotionally Driven Holiday Season, Ensure Your Mobile Ads Elicit a Positive Response


The stress of shopping, the joys of seeing your family—people are on an emotional rollercoaster during the holidays, which can be a great time for creating memorable people-to-brand connections. Whether we admit it or not holiday television commercials create a sense of nostalgia that pulls at our heartstrings and inspires memorable moments we can enjoy with our families. But in digital media, brands risk doing the opposite: potentially annoying and interrupting users and leaving a bad taste in their mouth at a time when they should be making a lasting, positive impression.

While television ads have always had the power to elicit an emotional experience—primarily because of the medium—it has been losing consumers’ attention to the “second screen” (i.e. tablets and smartphones), which people are now turning to first for entertainment and holiday shopping. For example, on Black Friday 2013, 40 percent of online shopping occurred on a mobile device, and these numbers are expected to grow this year. Plus, IBM estimates that 20 percent of website sales and more than 43 percent of site traffic will come from mobile devices this month, making mobile advertising a critical component of holiday campaigns.

It is no surprise that the second screen is also empowering brands to connect with people through interactive mobile video advertising. According to data from eMarketer by the end of 2014, marketers will spend roughly $1.5 billion on mobile video ads by the end of this year, up from the $722 million spent last year. Also according to the research firm, by the end of the year mobile video ads will account for nearly 26 percent of all digital video advertising spending.

But for mobile video ads to create the same kind of emotional impact as television commercials this holiday season, brands must ensure their messages reflect the personal aspects of the medium and reach people in the right moment. They should also deliver their mobile messages in a way that enhances a person’s experience and inspires an emotional connection.

Easier said than done, right? Naturally, mobile advertising is scaling to follow consumer behavior, but it hasn’t necessarily taken the right cues from television to deploy brand advertising that can achieve all the above. Instead, many brands are relying on ads that annoy viewers: a recent Forrester report showed that 57 percent of U.S. adult smartphone owners who see in-app ads think that the ads interrupt their user experience. This is not acceptable.

The trouble with mobile is that its current ad delivery mechanisms can reach people but not make an emotional connection with them. That’s because ad technology companies have access to data that helps pinpoint when and where consumers are engaging in digital content, but few can determine how they’re feeling, what they’re trying to accomplish and how to make a meaningful connection with people through a relevant interaction and powerful creative.

But there is hope: it’s possible to deliver mobile brand messages in a way that enhances a person’s experience and creates an appreciation for the brand. For instance, innovative ad technology can recognize what users are feeling—whether they are happy, frustrated or experiencing another emotion—and deliver a personalized message that is relevant to the activity they are performing.

What types of ad products can achieve this without disrupting the user experience? Value-exchange video ads in mobile apps and games are one way. Unlike pre-roll video, which interrupts the user experience and forces users to watch it, effectively deployed value-exchange video ads consist of opt-in messaging that acknowledges a user’s activity and state of mind. When coupled with relevant, high-impact creative, value exchange mobile video ads will engage users, inspiring them to appreciate the brands’ efforts and respond favorably to messages.

Like with holiday television ads, this format can make brand’s messages memorable during the holidays by humanizing the delivery of mobile messages and thus making positive, emotional connections.


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