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Marketers fail at task-oriented, utility-based mobile ads: Forrester Research

The opportunities for marketers to creatively leverage mobile banners continue to wane, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Forrester?s new ?Mobile Advertising: It?s Time To Get Personal? report looks at why mobile advertising is not at the level of sophistication that marketers expect, largely from the lack of creative and out-of-the-box, inexpensive ad formats available to brands and agencies. The report also outlines how publishers will tackle the growth in mobile traffic and revenue with programmatic approaches.

?The role of creative is huge for mobile,? said Jennifer Wise, analyst at Forrester, Cambridge, MA.

?Our data shows that many customers find mobile ads interruptive, and few find them inventive or creative,? she said. ?To solve this, marketers have to strive to create mobile ads that go way beyond the banner.

?The best mobile ads will provide relevant messaging, interactivity consistent with the mobile tactile experience, and appear to be seamlessly integrated into the mobile site or app in which they appear.?

More choices, more problems
One of the buzziest areas of mobile advertising right now is programmatic with advertisers increasingly wanting to capitalize on surges in mobile traffic with targeted ads in real-time.

This shift towards programmatic is being embraced by mobile advertising vendors, too.

Deals and repositioning at Twitter, Adfonic, Millennial Media and Drawbridge over the past couple of years all highlight the growth in programmatic that vendors want in on, per Forrester?s report.

Despite the rise in programmatic and automatic buying, Forrester?s report suggests that marketers may benefit more with publisher-specific media buys on mobile because of targeting.

The idea is that smaller media buys help marketers connect with a group of specific consumers who share the same interests versus targeting segments of un-related mobile users.

At the same time, advertisers increasingly want to be able to buy specific pieces of inventory in real-time. Time Inc. and AOL are two big media brands that are already offering mobile programmatic buying for advertisers, indicating that some publishers are already seeing an opportunity in the space.

Outside of real-time and programmatic targeting, marketers will also leverage basic segmentation, predictive targeting and personalized ads in the coming years, per the report.

The challenge with these other types of targeting though is that they do not keep a consumer?s attention, per the Forrester report.

Instead, marketers should tie CRM data with third-party data to get a better understanding of a mobile user.

Tackling mobile targeting
Forrester?s report says that marketers still do not have a solid grasp on how to best target consumers with task-oriented and utility-based campaigns that mimic the same features that consumers are using on their mobile devices.

Instead, the bulk of mobile ad campaigns are seen as annoying to consumers.

The research firm cites data finding that 57 percent of United States adult smartphone owners who see in-app ads think that the ads interrupt their experiences. Only 20 percent of consumers surveyed said that mobile ads were relevant to them.

At the same time, only 20 percent of marketers surveyed in the study said that they were confident with how to measure mobile marketing, and 17 percent reported that they were very satisfied with how they measured mobile.

Picking an ad format
Forrester?s report outlines four ad formats that have the most marketing potential for marketers: Standard display, mobile-specific display, standard publisher-specific ads and proprietary publisher-specific ads.

Standard display ads continue to get bashed by marketers, but Forrester?s report suggests that there are still opportunities with mobile banners with tactics that deliver unique creative based on a type of device, audience or content that marketers want to reach.

Mobile-specific displays include features that leverage the actual mobile phone, such as rich media, location or video.

Standard publisher-specific ads fit into a publisher?s existent content. According to the Forrester report, these ads can be effective for advertisers that want guaranteed viewability since the ads force consumers to scroll or watch a video before they can access content.

The final ad format is a proprietary-specific format where publishers such as Pandora, Facebook and The Weather Channel sell one type of ad format that is unique to the mobile platform.

Proprietary-specific mobile ads do offer advertisers some additional room for creative, but can be expensive and therefore are best suited towards big publishers.

?While [marketers] are beginning to invest in mobile ads, they aren?t doing it with a mobile-first mindset that accounts for the unique mobile user experience,? Ms. Wise said.

?This mobile-first strategy requires integrated mobile ad formats that are less disruptive to the customer, and individually-targeted ads that provide relevancy,? she said. ?Instead, many marketers, agencies and ad tech vendors are relying on legacy desktop advertising thinking.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York