What’s stopping mobile being as creative as it could, and should be?


Rhoanna Glenn, Media Practice Lead, Nimbletank

We’re now well in to 2014 and are starting to see whether this year’s predictions for innovation in mobile are coming true. More advertising budgets are indeed moving from traditional channels to mobile, as the industry starts to understand the epic power of mobile advertising. But why, when there is such potential for mobile advertising to be creative, can’t we find many examples of mobile at its best? We can think of four main barriers standing in the way:

1) Mobile is still an afterthought in many cases and brands often end up running standard media, rather than utilising rich media due to time constraints. We need to ensure than mobile becomes a starting point for every campaign. After all, mobile phones are central to peoples’ lives, and should therefore be a central piece to any campaign or media plan, not an afterthought. There’s no doubting that the more thought-out a mobile strategy is the more creative it can be.

2) The majority of brands are still relying on their media agency to develop, create and execute their mobile strategy, rather than a mobile agency. More often than not, they haven’t got the time or knowledge to produce an effective mobile campaign with outstanding strategy and creativity. Working in partnership with a full service mobile agency can ensure that mobile gets the full attention it needs.

3) Although this is slowly changing, publishers are not always willing to accept certain types of creative. Take interstitial ads, which lend themselves perfectly to creative content, but are not yet fully scalable.

4) Tracking and analytics can also become barriers when it comes to a brand’s faith in mobile and their ability to push agencies to be more creative. Brands who are unwilling or slow to include full tracking within their campaigns are missing out on crucial insights. Learning through iterative testing is proven to be worthwhile and enables us to discover so much more about the effectiveness of rich media units, compared to standard. Without the required analysis mobile will struggle to be recognised as truly effective. Putting these barriers aside, the need for good creative has never been greater. Celtra’s view is that there’s no point spending thousands on media for a brand if you don’t maximise the value of the eyeballs through compelling creative.  Don’t waste the value of the ad slot you are buying through use of poor creative.  On mobile, consumers have high expectations for user experience so poorly designed static or animated gifs just won’t cut it.As we said earlier, consumer behaviour is now firmly “mobile first”, so it is vital for planning and creative to mirror that mindset.  Don’t just try and shrink your desktop banners – it simply won’t work very well. We completely agree with this viewpoint, and, as the UK’s most creatively awarded mobile agency, we ensure that all of our work reflects this. The opportunity to raise the bar in terms of creativity is there for the taking. The launch of the IAB rising formats is a start, allowing us to fuel creative thinking. Let’s take native ads, formats that are tailored to publishers’ environments will provide better engagement and user experience.Celtra’s recent study with Rovio’s native ads is an excellent example of how small changes can make a massive difference. (http://www.celtra.com/adproducts/adformats#native) With this rise of new formats, focus will shift to engagement driven performance metrics.Mobile ads will become more real-time relevant, intelligent and personalised. Not all media owners are offering this yet so it will be interesting to see how they perform later in the year. At Nimbletank, the industry leader of next generation digital mobile activity, we now offer clients fully flexible media services. Alongside our ability to produce innovative, effective work for screens of all shapes and sizes, we will offer media planning and buying services that are future facing, with a focus on testing and intelligence and, most importantly, have the ability to shift with ever-changing consumer behaviour.

Written by

Rhoanna Glenn

Media Practice Lead



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