Small Screen, Big Ideas: Creativity in Mobile App Advertising

Gilad Bechar
Gilad Bechar 27 January 2016
Small Screen, Big Ideas: Creativity in Mobile App Advertising

How many times during TV commercials, do you grab your phone and use it until your favorite show resumes? Probably almost every time. But have you ever wondered how the ads you avoid on TV adapt to the real small screen? The creative process of mobile app advertising is as intriguing as it is tricky.


I’ll just throw it out there – people who believe that mobile has ruined creativity, are simply technophobes and may not be as creative as they think. On the surface, mobile does seem like a restrictive advertising framework. However, on the other hand, mobile devices introduce endless tools for creative professionals to work with: new platforms, sensors, hardware, and much more.


Here are a few tips for how to embrace creativity in the ongoing changes of the mobile advertising industry:


Creativity bursting out of a mobile device


Let Real Life Do the Storytelling


Traditional television commercials always have to set the tone before transmitting the message, to ensure that the audience is in the right mindset to absorb it. A full storytelling process is more challenging to achieve on mobile, but a great way to compensate for that is to utilize the incredibly precise data the device provides us with and personalize the message based on users’ information.


To make sure an ad creates the influence advertisers are after, they must use targeting technology to identify the target audience, find out what experiences they’re currently going through and make sure their message is aligned with these experiences. This will turn the small screen into the biggest canvas ever and will take the mobile creative process from restrictive to unlimited.


For example, marketers advertising a taxi app can create a boost in downloads by targeting users who really need a taxi right now. For instance, people in London aged 18-30 on a rainy Saturday night, who are probably enjoying a night out on the town, have had a few drinks, and need to get home safe and dry.


In other words, if you’ve ever felt like your phone has the ability to read your mind – that’s how it happens.


Measure Success (or Failure)  


Today’s arena calls for measurable results, which are ultimately the ones to determine the quality of the campaign. Unlike commercials displayed by traditional media, mobile enables advertisers to measure the impact of ads by the audience’s feedback.


It’s no longer just about “Mad Men” style advertisers sitting high in their luxurious office, brainstorming new messages that would surpass those of their competitors in creativity and originality. It’s about resonating with the target audience and getting the results the company set out to achieve.


The best way to do that is to implement AB testing and measuring tools, and most importantly – remain flexible. Advertisers should come up with a few versions of messaging and visuals and constantly test how well they resonate with the audience. Then, they can run with the ads that create the most impact and quit investing in what clearly does not work.


Utilize Hardware & Software Creatively


As mentioned above, when examining the mobile advertising superficially it does seem restricting – limitations on text and visuals, and let’s not forget that small screen. These restrictions might lead many to believe that mobile simply can’t tell a story or paint a full picture, but there are ways to surpass that.


To truly maximize mobile hardware, marketers must know the ins and outs of devices and what they enable. Even functions that seem marginal can transform into massive game-changers by thinking outside the box. Advertisers can utilize hardware for gamified storytelling, and encourage potential customers to become an active part of the ad by choosing between different options, reacting to messages, and even physically shaking their device.


Remember: watching a commercial might not seem fun to most people, but actively taking part in one is a different story. Smart mobile advertisers let users become part of the game in order to get their attention.


Countless studies and researches claim that users, especially millennials, access internet services, brand websites, and social networks primarily through their mobile devices. People who say that mobile killed creativity are simply afraid to deal with technology and are completely ignorant of industry developments. Marketers and advertisers must adapt to this new reality, and what better way to adapt than being creative.

Gilad Bechar
Gilad Bechar
Gilad Bechar is the Founder & CEO of Moburst. Gilad serves as a mentor to rising startups at Microsoft Accelerator, The Technion, Tel-Aviv University, Unit 8200 and for strategic Moburst clients, and is the Academic Director of the Mobile Marketing and New-Media course at Tel-Aviv University.
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