3 Reasons Why Creative Matters!

The mobile ad industry is shifting to video at an ever increasing rate. With app stores getting more and more rigid in the top 20, particularly the top grossing making it harder and harder to break into, the high volume/low return of banner ads is becoming obsolete and seeding way to the moderate volume/strong return of mobile video as a means of reaching the target audience. This shift means it is now time to start rethinking creative, with video first in mind. Banners and full page interstitials can be made much quicker and easier than videos allowing for much more diversity in those mediums than in video.  But, as the industry increasingly focuses on video, advertisers can no longer afford to be in the mindset that simply having a video is enough to create a successful campaign.

At the end of the day, you can buy all the media that you want, and get your product and advertisement in front of as many people as possible  —  if your creative is bad, it won’t make any difference.

There are 3 things that advertisers can do — and mistakes to avoid — to make your video creatives strong and help your campaigns succeed!

1.  Match your creative to your KPIs!

Strong creative starts with a strong understanding of your campaign goals.

If you are a mobile game advertiser looking to acquire quality players, you will need to make sure that the creative accurately represents your game. Unlike the film industry, where moviegoers pay up front for a film, which a trailer has persuaded them they will enjoy, the nature of free-to-play is that users essentially get to play the game and then choose whether or not to pay for in app purchases. If you make your creative in a way that does not accurately represent the title you are advertising, that player you just paid an ad provider to help deliver will feel as though they did not get what they expected and subsequently not convert to a quality player that sticks around and really gets involved in your title.

If your goal is reach, lift or awareness your creative should be matched to the that. Showing the nitty gritty of what you are advertising can do, while important in its own right, does not belong in your creative. In mobile video there is usually a maximum of 30 seconds, and many times 15 seconds, to get a message across. Show a person practically using the product — focus on the cool features or exciting things that will catch the person’s attention and don’t try to push it on them for immediate action.  If you don’t see your brand as the type that would ever run a 1-800-Number (Call in the next 20 minutes!) type of campaign on television, why force a similar experience on the much more personal experience that is mobile video?

2. Differentiate Yourself!

As mentioned earlier, mobile advertising, especially video, is on the rise at very high rates and you can bet that if you are looking to run mobile video advertisements, your direct competitors are as well. Tailoring your creative to differentiate yourself from your competitors is crucial to grabbing the attention of people and more importantly keeping those eyeballs on your creative, and your product.

If you are advertising a mobile game, take note of the creatives of other games in similar genres — there is no formula for mobile video because eventually all the ads start to blend together. So many mid-core games intersperse text and voiceover “Complete Quests,” “Battle Monsters,” “Upgrade your Armor / Weapons / Hero” with small gameplay clips representative of the text. While this may have been effective in the past, as the space grows, these ads begin to blend together and potential players to tune them out.

This is akin to the typical car commercial you see on TV:

A car driving alone on a curvy road in nature. Engine noise and shifting throughout. Various voiceover listing MPG / HP / Safety rating, followed by awards won, and finally a special offer on lease / financing / APR / money down. Image of Vehicle, reference to location of viewer.

While this gets the point across, I could be describing almost any car commercial running now, with some exceptions (differentiators!) of course. As an advertiser looking to imprint your product in the mind the folks you are advertising to, bucking the trend and releasing a creative that catches the users attention by being fresh is one of the most important things you can do.

3. Refresh and Test!

Ad fatigue is real, and you have to pay attention to it in video more than any other mobile medium. Unfortunately, there tends to be much more refreshing of banners and full page interstitials than video — again it boils down to a resources issue — video is more difficult to create and often treated as the “second medium.” Don’t let yourself think that way!

Creative refreshes are more important with video than ever before. When your ad is taking up the users attention for 15 – 30 seconds, ad fatigue sets in much quicker. We have seen that potential players who do not take action on DR ads after the 4th lifetime view have less than a 1% chance of ever interacting with that creative again. Refreshing creative is incredibly important as time goes on in your campaign.

Along these lines, be sure to test different creative ideas! What may work in some publishers will not work in others. Try different voiceovers and tailor your creatives to an audience you think would best respond to them. A/B testing is the most effective way of optimizing an ad campaign and delivering the best results and highest ROI.

All in all mobile advertising is an ever growing space and the video ad unit among them has become an increasingly more important aspect of any successful mobile campaign. To treat video as just another medium will cripple any campaign. Be sure in any video campaign to ensure that your video creative is matched up to your KPIs, differentiates your product, and be sure to test as many different things as possible! Remember – you can buy all of the media in the world, if your creative fails to capture the attention and eyeballs of your audience, none of it will matter.


Vungle's marketing team members have experience in gaming monetization, performance marketing, brand advertising, mobile analytics, app development and SaaS. We're former attorneys, journalists, research analysts, financial advisors and product managers. We are committed to producing content that helps brands and publishers across all verticals and industries grow their mobile businesses.

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