5 reasons why the mobile banner’s time has come

This is the final installment in the series “Making the Mobile Leap,” which explores how the big players in digital media are taking on the mobile question. The series is sponsored by Celtra, the global leader for rich media mobile ad creation, serving and analytics.


This article is written by Aleš Gabrovec, vp of product at Celtra.

In his article, “Days are numbered for the mobile banner,” Digiday reporter Jack Marshall rightly makes the point that “lackluster creative opportunities,” poor targeting and tracking have not done many favors for the mobile banner and that it’s future appears bleak. But he ignores the fact that several factors are driving a swift transformation and, by year-end, mobile banners could look very different.

A single standard to enable captivating ads
It’s clear, HTML5 is the one open industry standard that will power all interactive display advertising in the future. The recent IAB Open Letter From Publishers to Advertisers sums it up best. “HTML5 will enable you, your agencies and publishing partners to make your creative ideas captivating on every screen, elevate your brand image, and lower your creative costs.”

Platforms allow for creativity at scale
Certainly, we can all agree mobile display ads have up to now been far from impressive. Flat creative without proper storytelling, lack of ad formats, poor reliability and analytics are only part of the story.

The underlying problem is one of the market: nearly all companies in this space focus on ad delivery. As a result, the industry streamlined ad delivery while creative empowerment was sidelined.

It’s not surprising then that we have had uninspiring and underperforming ads, as there have practically been no mechanisms to be creative. Hand coding ads and master HTML5 is cumbersome work that just doesn’t scale. Moreover, getting ads to work across the vast media landscape is a steep challenge that results in higher production costs, long production times, broken ads and perplexing analytics.

New advertising platforms that have capabilities to create, traffic and track rich media ads largely address these challenges by offering solutions that many agencies can quickly adopt within their workflow. Agencies should not spend time coding and trafficking but rather designing powerful brand stories.

Streamlined media buying
Once that creative is in place, digital media buyers today can turn to a growing array of programmatic options for their mobile buys. This streamlined approach to buying, coupled with positive results, has instilled confidence in buyers.

Often, the best results come when the media buy is closely connected to the creative. What’s really exciting to see is the demand side honing in on specific goals within a creative campaign and optimizing the buy based on that goal, instead of archaic metric like CTR. This goal-based approach to buying is sure to help drive future investment in mobile rich media display.

Measurement is being solved
Admittedly, there’s been quite a few challenges with mobile measurement, mostly due to significant methodological and technological limitations. But the industry players now agree on standards that will ultimately compare mobile, desktop TV and other advertising channels.

The industry has also, for the most part, acknowledged the problems of viewability and accidental clicks/taps. Viewability is poised to become a new billing metric, which is just one area of currency (impressions) metrics. More is being done in the area of engagement and audience metrics.

The banner ad has a rich future
Soon, mobile will cease to be its own bucket and will simply become another point of distribution for cross-screen campaigns. Banners are sure to be a part of those campaigns. With the right creative tools, improved ad formats, better media buying tools and standardized measurement metrics, the industry will find a way to not only extend the life of mobile banners, but to transform it into a truly effective cross-screen advertising medium.

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