Exploring the power of mobile as it merges with traditional display


Sofie Mobbs, Head of Mobile at Flashtalking

We’ve long been talking about the fast growth of mobile advertising. It’s no longer a prospect, but a fact. Mobile is taking a bigger chunk of the market share from traditional display – or rather traditional display is becoming more mobile. But as this happens, there’s a danger we forget to respect the differences between desktop and mobile screens. We may overlook the unique creative opportunities and tracking methodologies needed to secure true mobile performance, and thereby impair our ability to attribute its effectiveness correctly.


The truth is, our digital campaigns are already much more mobile than we realise. In a recent review of client activities, we saw advertisers running at least 75% of all their digital advertising on a mobile device without being aware of it.

Despite this massive growth of mobile device use, many marketers encounter a fear of adopting the new appropriate mobile-first tools available to them. Dedicated mobile creative units remain an afterthought, and the majority of mobile activity runs without meaningful conversion tracking. It seems that many marketers are content to treat mobile as simply another, smaller and more portable screen for the same display advertising to which they are already accustomed.

That’s a mistake – and a missed opportunity.

To fully take advantage of the opportunity that mobile presents, advertisers and agencies need to improve in two key areas: creative adaptation and attribution tracking. They need to deliver a better more engaging mobile ad experience for consumers and independently measure it correctly, to demonstrate the relative impact of mobile ad spend.


This requires embracing new measurement methods and technology such as cookieless conversion tracking. In a recent case study one advertiser saw a 27% uplift in conversions after activating Flashtalking’s device recognition measurement. Cookies have and still are serving us well on desktop but it is not sufficient across mobile and tablet and with so much inventory from mainstream display being served to mobile, not implementing mobile-friendly measurement will result in inaccurate conversion reporting and a distorted view of mobile ad performance.


Equally important is the creative – we cannot expect the traditional online banner to work as well on the mobile screen as it has served desktop in various forms. It’s encouraging that mobile has become an obvious part of most digital plans, but more often than not there isn’t enough time spent on making sure the mobile creative is suitable – it ends up being a tiny GIF banner that does nothing for the end user. You cannot expect success without a well-adapted and more intelligent ad format.

Dynamic creative can change all this. Matching creative messages to audiences, even specific versions to relevant end user interests, allows advertisers to deliver effective display campaigns. With mobile ads having grown up in the programmatic-first era it should be simple to transition dynamic from desktop to mobile and use our collective acquired knowledge that ads need to blend with the user experience – to inform or entertain.

The challenge is to ensure the creative is well adapted to the mobile screen and to have a good strategy for utilising the relevant data points unique to mobile. This is where it gets exciting for marketers – mobile ads can be tailored to the user’s exact device and its geographical location – for example proximity to a store, car dealership or airport. Messaging can be matched to the time of day and day of the week, the weather, a DMP or third party audience segment; the options for data driven creative messaging is comprehensive and sophisticated.

With display, advertisers are increasingly seeing their ad campaigns rendered on mobile devices through programmatic. The same amount of effort and technology going into intelligent media buying and placement needs to be applied to creative and measurement on mobile. To do any less is to miss the opportunity to show the increasingly important role mobile plays throughout the awareness, consideration and purchase funnel – and it’s impact on conversions, driving revenue and increasing ROI.

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