Photo Credit: pexels
Way back in 2014 I wrote an article on a certain nine-letter word that every marketer needs to remember at all times. The word is “relevance.” The idea is that relevance can help to create a better user experience when it comes to delivering ads to target audiences, especially for the mobile environment that now dominates everything we do in business and life.
And, while that word is just as important today, there’s also another key word marketers need to remember when it comes to mobile: “timing.” That’s because when you ask the target audience, surveys like the one done by Forrester found that 60% noted that a great user experience was one where the mobile ad did not disrupt what they were currently doing. Hence, timing seems to be more critical followed by relevance among 42% of those surveyed.
More Quality Than Volume
Along with timing, mobile users also don’t want the ad to take over the content or their screens. That means mobile ads have to be more about quality than volume so as to not irritate the audience and have them resort to ad blocking. The conclusion of another study was that “less is more” when it comes to successful mobile marketing.
As Brigette Majewski, Forrester B2C vice president, research director and lead author on “Marketing Predictions 2017: The Dawn Of ‘Less Is More’ In Marketing,” noted,
“Publishers will not just improve ads in 2017, they will also start to limit the total number delivered. This modulation won’t lower total spend, as greater buyer sensitivity to ad experience, more sophisticated targeting, and enhanced attribution let premium publishers justify higher pricing, at least to themselves.”
To understand how to best approach the less-is-more strategy in terms of timing and relevance, companies are realizing the value of conducting more research to understand how mobile ad viewers respond on a mental-engagement level. MediaBrix, an in-app mobile video advertising platform, partnered with neuromarketing companies True Impact and Neurons Inc. to understand how to get the most engagement with in-app mobile video ads by testing their reaction to the same ad that was delivered in different formats.
According to the results, embedded, opt-in ads that were presented within the context of the viewer’s app experiences were more engaging than just regular interstitial video ads. This other format created emotionally meaningful moments that allowed the viewer to truly engage with the ad and the brand within it.
“On the other hand, a full-page video interstitial ad triggered a fight-or-flight response twice as many times as a reaction to an embedded mobile ad, with viewers fixating on where and when they could get to the X button to get rid of the ad.”
With the focus on timing over relevance as illustrated in this study, some marketers may wonder if this means the end to interstitial ads in mobile. According to Ari Brandt, CEO and cofounder of MediaBrix, the answer is “unfortunately not yet.” He believes there will be an inevitable shift to more contextualized, consumer-friendly ads because interstitial ads only alienate consumers rather than brand relationships or deliver real return on investment.
Changing The Mobile Approach
In referencing the above research that illustrated the need to change the approach to mobile advertising in 2017, Brandt explained, “In the in-app mobile environment, which is very curated and personal, brands have to put the user in control, get their permission to approach them, and add value to their experience. If you do that, users will be receptive, and you’ll be rewarded with their attention and engagement.”
The study was able to provide many more insights than expected, especially in understanding the real cognitive connection of the visuals in the ad, which offers numerous insights for marketers. Diana Lucaci, Founder and CEO of True Impact, stated, “We did not anticipate the degree to which these ad types also affect cognitive load or mental engagement. With interstitial ads, the brain is not engaged. It’s as if the user is tuning out. We were astonished to learn that embedded, opt-in ads sustain attention, engage the user, and maintain high motivation levels throughout. We believe this is due to the ad arriving at a time of need within the context of the app as well as offering a reward.” Here is the focus on timing and why it may be surpassing the focus on relevance.
While some may see the value, there are other marketing skeptics that would say it’s not the timing but the incentive being offered that is the game changer. However, to Lucaci, the research points to a much more complex process between the brain, marketing, and the human component.
She explained, “Like all relationships, there’s give and take. Incentivizing, or value exchange, establishes a human connection that later establishes trust. Marketers are becoming more empathetic and shifting their perspective from being intrusive and interruptive to being more human. As a neuromarketer, I see more brands beginning to understand the human mind, applying value exchange or other forms of reward, as a first step to driving attention and ultimately increasing purchase intent.”
Marketing is truly becoming a mix of art and science with the advancement of research and development of neuromarketing. At the same time that mobile advertising requires timing, there still must be the necessary creativity to create relevance and emotional connection to take the relationship between the mobile user and brand to the next level. The ingredients are basically the same; the quantity of each is just shifting.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.