Digital advertising is experiencing a shift towards a mobile and multiscreen world, and despite all the available opportunities, user experience is not always satisfactory.
Interactive Advertising Bureau, Kargo and Refinery29 conducted a survey among 283 marketers and media agency executives, discussing how the advertising experience can be improved.
According to IAB’s Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity report, 73% of marketers feel that user experience has to be improved in digital advertising.
There is consensus about the many different challenges they need to overcome when creating a campaign, with ad clutter, creativity and user experience being among their biggest problems.
In fact, ad clutter has led many users to ad blocking, due to the quantity, the irrelevance and the disruptive nature of many ads. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, the use of ad blocking has significantly increased over the past few years, with mobile ad blocking seeing an impressive increase since 2014.
Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship, is not surprised by this increase, “We added negativity with more tracking and more cookies; we increased negative values to consumers progressively instead of adding new value to them.”
User experience is more important than ever for consumers and that’s what brands tend to forget when creating a new ad. It’s the combination of speed, relevance, quality and security that makes users appreciate an advertising experience and modern marketers should focus even more towards this direction.
How important is the user experience then in a mobile world? Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer of FCB, replies:
“If you don’t get the design right in the mobile-first world, you will miss the largest audience. If users have to do all the work, scrolling, moving back and forth on mobile, the odds of me sticking with you is small. The mobile-first world has a lot to do with UX, understanding design over creatives.”
The challenges of UX in mobile advertising
In order to improve user experience in mobile advertising, it is important to begin with the realisation that a mobile screen is different from traditional media and “bigger screens.”
As people use a mobile screen for different reasons than they do a laptop or a TV, so marketers should seek for new approaches to stay relevant and get their message heard.
According to Steve Wax, Managing Partner, The Cooke Wax Partnership, the key to success in the mobile world is to “provoke people, move and engage them. Build into the experience you already have on mobile, while understanding the utility unique to mobile.”
IAB’s survey showed that 79% of marketers and ad buyers consider the overall site/app experience and the page’s load time very important, while creative quality and content relevance are also close. A positive advertising experience should focus then on offering the necessary value to the user, establishing a relationship that is both useful and rewarding.
It’s becoming clear that user experience in mobile advertising will always have new areas of improvement and as the challenges keep increasing, it will be even harder (and possibly more rewarding) to stay up-to-date.
How to improve the digital advertising experience
Despite the challenges in mobile advertising, there are still many ways to take advantage of the rise of mobile, and these tips may form the start of a seamless advertising experience:
- Know the audience. No matter how many changes mobile UX may bring, the proper understanding of your audience is always the first step to a successful campaign. It’s all about delivering the right content for the right audience.
- Integrate the right content in the right context. By the time you learn your audience, it’s time to create the best content according to the context. The quantity and even the quality of the content may not be enough if you don’t take into consideration the context.
- Shift user approach from transaction-driven to relationship-driven. Engagement may be easier if you start building a relationship with your consumers. Start with one step at a time and loyalty might become easier.
- Improve UX design. A better user experience leads to more positive results. Whether it’s the page load time, the responsive design, or the ad clutter, there are certainly many areas to consider in mobile advertising.
- Take risks to innovate and maintain creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new trends and it’s a good idea to use the creativity along with technology and data to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors, capturing the attention of your audience.
- Improve upon efforts at industry standardisation and collaboration. Don’t forget to be part of the industry in key areas that are constantly changing.