How to Delight -- Not Annoy -- Consumers with Your Mobile-App Ads
Neuroscientists have shown that when people are idle, their brains are most active. This state of mind makes us open to new ideas, including messages from brand marketers. Ad campaigns, therefore, can drive campaign performance by targeting consumers when they’re most open to new ideas.
We also know that consumers spend a great deal of time on their mobiles. A study by watchdog Ofcom revealed that UK consumers spend up to three hours and twenty-six minutes a day on their mobile phones. Younger Brits, aged 15 to 24, spend up to four hours a day. In fact, they check their mobile devices every 12 minutes, which means they spend more time on their phones than they spend watching telly. Mobile apps get the lion’s share of that attention.
Moreover, when people open an app it’s for a specific purpose, which means that app has 100% of the consumer’s mindshare at that moment, which surely contributes to strong campaign results, as measured by important advertising metrics. For instance, a study released this past November showed that mobile apps delivered an astounding 67% average video completion rate (VCR).
Mobile app advertising certainly offers advertisers a compelling way to reach and engage audiences, but there is a wrinkle. It is imperative that we consider how and why people use their mobiles, and tailor campaigns to address usage patterns accordingly.
Broadly speaking, there are two reasons why people pick up their mobiles. The first is utility, which represents approximately 30% of in-app time. What route can I take to avoid this traffic jam? What’s the weather going to be tomorrow? What should I eat for dinner tonight? When people are in a utility mode, they have a specific task to complete, and that means they’re far less open to certain kinds of messages and campaigns, such as those advertising a new Netflix show. Conversely, adverts that directly relate to a task at hand stand a much higher chance of being noticed and changing behavior.
The other 70% of time spent in app is for entertainment purposes. People like to pass time playing games, watching videos or checking in with friends and family on social media. At these moments, consumers are more open to adverts for a new Netflix series or movie release.
Tailoring a campaign to a consumer’s state of mind can have a powerful impact on brand perception. For example, rewarded ad formats deliver stellar results when seen in mobile game apps -- a time when consumers are at ease. These formats reward the user with virtual good or currency in exchange for engaging with an ad. If, as an advertiser, your ad helps a player be stronger, better, richer, faster, or have more resources to survive, a positive brand association will result. Not surprisingly, our research found that 87% of respondents rated rewarded videos as a positive user experience.
We’ve known since 1997 that “the state of mind of a consumer at the time he or she sees an ad is as important as the ’environment’ in which that ad appears.” This is particularly important in the mobile channel. All too often marketers repurpose the 30-second spot they created for a TV environment for a mobile one, which is as inappropriate as it is ineffective. Nor does it take advantage of the phone’s unique functionality, which can help drive campaign performance. For instance, adverts that appear in mobile apps can allow users to spin a product around in order to get a 360 view, swipe to see similar or complementary products, or click to get more details or even buy the product on the ad itself in order to eliminate any friction to buying.
Done correctly, mobile apps offer a great environment to reach and engage consumers, as long as the marketer takes the time to consider the consumer’s state of mind at the time the message is seen. Getting it wrong will mean adverts won’t solicit the desired response, or worse, simply annoy the consumer. Getting it right, on the other hand, can lead to a positive and long-lasting relationship.