Advertising on mobile devices has been an uphill battle. Display ads on desktop experienced some success, so, as is human nature, ad developers stuck to what they knew and created the pervasive mobile banner ad.
With the smaller screens and more intimate use of mobile devices, the banner ads ultimately don’t stand a chance. If desktop display ads are easily ignored by users' eyes, tiny banner ads might as well be invisible. Plus, in a world where content reigns supreme, it’s hard to have any persuasive abilities in such a small space.
For that reason, some ad and tech developers have been busy working on ways to create effective ads that sync better with mobile screens. Here are three alternatives trying to establish a presence.
Since the announcement earlier this year of its Gemini mobile search and native ad marketplace, Yahoo has been working to develop innovative ad products to boost its revenue. The company’s answer to the mobile banner ad is the introduction of image-rich native ads to the marketplace.
The ads are bigger and more image-centric than mobile banners, but the most impressive thing is that they are responsive to the page around them. The ads — marked as sponsored — automatically take on the look and feel of the site on which they appear. The native and responsive elements make the ads part of the experience rather than something eyes ignore — a problem banner ads constantly face.
Another problem advertisers face when using traditional mobile banner ads is reaching the right audience. Sure, there are targeting capabilities, but it’s been tough without trusted tools like cookies on desktop browsers. The Peel Smart Remote app has developed an ad product that could set a precedent for targeting on mobile devices — especially in relation to TV and live events.
This month, the app launched the “Peel-In” feature for its personalized television app. The app learns what users' TV preferences are to suggest new shows. Users can then tap and instantly start watching a suggestion, some of which are sponsored by the shows themselves, as well as brands.
For example, The History Channel recently launched an ad campaign for its series “The World Wars” using the Peel-In feature. If the user had the right hardware set-up — Android phones with IR Blaster capability — then the user is offered three different options: Switch to the channel with a tap, set the DVR to record, or set a calendar reminder to watch the show. It’s that direct viewing capability that could be a real loop-closer for advertisers looking to draw new eyes to certain shows. That direct-tap technology could open horizons to other types of suggestion-based mobile advertising, as well.
Forbes' innovation comes as it works to meet the needs of a growing mobile readership. One of its answers is a bit of a twist on the boxed display ad — a product that Forbes calls the “Info Card.” On mobile screens, everything on its site has been formatted to a scrollable content stream, allowing readers to move vertically through both editorial and advertorial content.
Readers can also navigate the Forbes mobile experience by swiping horizontally. This can be done on both editorial content and ads, but when a reader swipes horizontally from an ad, they are offered more information on the ad or the brand behind it.
Info Cards help to solve some of the big problems that mobile banner ads face. First, Info Cards are much larger, making them easy to spot and read, while also making them harder to ignore. The horizontal swiping portion of the ad also offers even more real estate for brand messaging.