Rich media mobile advertising has seen a rapid increase in popularity among marketers over the last six months, according to a new industry report from Opera Software.
Opera, probably most well known for its virtually ubiquitous mobile browsing services, had made a quiet splash in the mobile advertising space after paying out around $100m on a series of acquisitions like Mobile Theory, AdMarvela and 4th Screen Adverising.
The firm now claims to have dished out over $240m to mobile publishers, serving over 35bn ad impressions in 2011. In the first of its quarterly industry reports, the Norwegian firm revealed the increasing effectiveness of rich media in mobile advertising.
Across all operating systems, rich media ads delivered better customer engagement. Technology leveraging the native functions of mobile devices, like sophisticated HTML and camera interfaces, had a direct correlation to time spent interacting with the ad unit.
Advertiser are not blind to this trend, and between January and June this year, Opera saw the number of standard and expandable banner executions diminish, while HTML5 rich media and video ad executions increased.
Q: With all of these call-to- action options, do I still need a mobile landing page?
A: “Not necessarily. Mobile advertising is at the forefront of mobile technology, as opposed to mobile sites which often follow a one-size-fits-all model supporting the lowest common denominator of feature phones. With mobile rich media ads, you can now create self-contained ‘microsites as ad units’ — immersive experiences that can double as or even mitigate the need for a mobile destination, reducing costs and minimizing the steps to conversion.”
— Andrew Nevils, Managing Director of Point Reach
The report also showed that, on shares of ad revenue between operating systems, iOS was a clear winner, in contrast to recent studies naming Android as the bigger ad driver.
The usability and screen size of Apple devices made them more effective ad-serving platforms, said the report. Larger, touch screens and features that allow more interaction between the ad and the device’s functionality (e.g., click to call, expand, play video) have better monetization potential than less capable and less user-friendly devices, it said.
iOS devices were ahead in terms of average eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions), with iPhones commanding $2.85 compared to Android’s $2.10.
However, market share was also an important factor, as Windows Phones currently incorporate most if not all of that advanced technology, but suffer from lower levels of adoption and are currently propping up Opera’s ad performance table at the bottom.