Since doing my dissertation on Rich Media Mobile Advertising (RMMA) & it’s effect on brand knowledge, I now click on mobile banners just to see what’s going on. Brands like Lynx (or Axe), Ben and Jerry’s, Guinness and even the likes of BMW and Louis Vuitton have all put together some highly engaging examples showcasing the potential of mobile banners. Check out the iAd Gallery app for more examples. There are, however, some terrible examples of mobile banners put together by brands or companies that don’t seem to have much of a clue. And here’s one of them… I don’t know the company because I didn’t give it long enough to find out, but there are brands and companies that are doing exactly as this example shows and that should be doing a lot better.
Here’s the scenario:
I’m browsing Sickipedia looking for some jokes I might not have heard – I know that Tesco’s horse meat scandal has been making headlines recently so I’m hoping I might get lucky – when I notice a few mobile banners. I stop at one, it’s poorly designed, flashing like a knackered traffic light and if it’s nothing else, it’s irritating. It’s actually annoying me writing about it. But, in the means of research, I tapped it anyway and, expecting to be let down, my expectation wasn’t let down.
One of the real benefits of RMMA when applied to mobile banners is the facility to, when tapped, open a pop-up page over the top of the user’s app or web site. This means that users can engage without having to stop what they’re doing and can return to where they left off whenever they so desire. For brands, this presents an opportunity to showcase some great content, as these pop up pages can house a whole range of media, including videos, images, games, and just about anything a web browser or app can.
So did the badly designed, annoying mobile banner ad featured in Sickepedia take advantage of this unique facility? Of course not. Instead of allowing me to sample whatever it was advertising or luring me down the path to purchase with some engaging content, it committed the cardinal sin of mobile advertising. You guessed it, it whisked me straight out of the app as if I were an egg and dropped me off bang smack in the middle of the App Store. Just like that. Needless to say, I left without so much as glancing at the app I was being forced to download and the company got nothing more from me than an extra notch on its CTR stats.
Tips to Help Your Mobile Banners Work
If this mobile banner ad resulted in one download of that app, I’ll be surprised. There are a million things that this company could have done better. The flashing banner screams desperation, the lack of incentive to tap is amateurish and throwing the user straight into the App Store without warning is the kind of behaviour that gets you hated. So what would have made the experience worthwhile?
1. Better Banner Design – Looking cheap, tacky and desperate isn’t going to lure the punters into tapping. Looking cool, interesting and slick, is. Compare the Sickipedia banner above with the Ben and Jerry’s example below, which one is more seductive?
2. Tempt Me – Let me know what’s in store if I interact. If this banner had said something like “Tap To Download”, I wouldn’t have been so pissed off when I was heaved into the App Store. Tony&Guy show us how its done.
3. Utilise Rich Media – Take advantage of the technology’s potential and create a landing page specifically for the banner. Have it open over the top of the app or browser so that the user can just click the ‘X’ and leave whenever they wish, without losing their place. This will add far more value than lifting them away from what they are doing. BMW do just that.
4. Engaging Content – To lure the user down the path to purchase/download, engaging content wins every time and the possibilities are endless. How about a video, maybe a little game, some freebies, anything engaging that encourages the user to spend more time with you, so that you can bring them deeper into the brand and finally encourage some action. Lynx bundles all of this into its ad (that I spend about 15 minutes in).
Hindsight’s a Wonderful Thing
If the mobile banner ad in this example had a nice design; if it had a call to action along the lines of “Tap to Play”; if it overlaid a pop-up page where I could sample a quick bit of the app (or at least watch a video of what it’s all about); if it had a “Download Now” option at the end so that, if I enjoyed myself, I could be redirected to the App Store to purchase; if it ticked all of these boxes, then the only thing preventing me from making the download at this point would be the price. Plus, by then, I’d be sat willingly in the App Store with an itchy trigger finger, hungry for more. Nine times out of ten, the app gets downloaded.
Will Mobile Banners Make It?
At the minute, in my opinion, there’s lots of uncertainty surrounding mobile banners, with much of the trepidation and distrust of desktop banners transferring over to mobile. Will we be given an opportunity to engage? To be entertained? To find out more information? Or will we be picked up and dumped in the App Store? Or onto a random website? As long as there is inconsistency in the deployment of mobile banners, they’ll continue to annoy the world like their desktop cousins. In the same way that scanning a QR code and being redirected to a non-mobile optimised site is in the process of doing for QR codes; being lazy, exorcising the hard-sell and skimping on the user engagement is a sure fire way of ensuring mobile banners never make it onto the mobile consumer’s radar.
What do you think the future holds for mobile banners? Do you engage or ignore?
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