As it becomes more and more apparent that the mobile channel is just as important, and in some cases more important, to advertisers as traditional desktop advertising, a solid multichannel strategy isn’t just a bonus or an afterthought, it’s a necessity for those who want to stay competitive. However, regardless of the media channel, optimizing visibility is vital to the success of any display campaign.
With desktop display, “above the fold” inventory usually sells at a higher price because it is perceived to drive higher engagement rates. It is true that multiple eye tracking studies have indicated consumers’ tendency to avoid scrolling down; if the desired content is not visible on the page when it opens, many will just move on. Obviously, that behavior can have significant impact on advertising engagement rates.
But the whole truth is, above the fold placement alone won’t drive optimal ROI if the ad isn’t served to qualified audiences in the first place. As eye tracking studies have shown, banner blindness, or the tendency of our eyes to overlook page real estate that usually contains advertising content, is a real issue on both desktop and mobile screens. This means that above the fold (but traditionally placed and/or irrelevant) ads may be viewed even less often than those below the fold. In fact, a recent Google report showed that only 56.1 percent of all ads served through their platforms were ever seen.
The use of unique ad formats combined with non-traditional placements has been the most successful strategy for combating banner blindness, but the only way to ensure ad visibility is to support non-traditional ad inventory with intent-based targeting.
This statement holds true in the mobile channel as well; in fact, it could be argued that visibility matters even more on mobile devices where attention spans are much shorter because consumers use them either while on the go or as a “second screen.”
The true key to engagement lies in 100 percent viewable ad formats that are not only visible on desktop and laptop screens, but also on mobile devices and tablets, and which are driven by real-time intent data across all channels.
However, the mobile Web does present certain challenges for advertisers trying to optimize visibility; namely that it lacks third party cookie support and sophisticated programmatic buying capabilities (though there are several companies out there trying to change that.) These are key targeting tools for desktop display advertising, which means that mobile marketers must seek other methods of targeting.
Real-time, intent-based data derived from content, searches and other behaviors is what truly matters when it comes to targeting on the mobile Web. This foundation of data is what not only helps ensure that mobile ads are visible to the right audiences, but is also designed to drive engagement and conversions. Data points like high performing time zones or days of the week can also be layered in to create more robust profiles to target mobile ads and drive engagement, even as users are on the go. This can help advertisers boost clickthroughs while simultaneously reducing CPAs by up to half.
Ultimately, the mobile channel is one of the fastest growing channels, and one of the most important to consumers right now. eMarketer estimates that U.S. adults spend an average of nearly 3 hours per day on their mobile devices. That is time that advertisers should be using to engage consumers, yet mobile still takes a backseat to other channels for a lot of brands.
The advertisers that take advantage of the channel now as it grows, delivering integrated multichannel campaigns targeted by intent data, will be the ones that lead the pack in a few years when consumers make it abundantly clear that mobile is what matters. But for even those leaders to succeed, it will be vital for them to embrace ad formats that take the relevance and viewability of desktop display and seamlessly translate it to mobile devices.