Tilt and shake: Taking smartphone advertising up a level

Rob Garber is managing director EMEA of Undertone.

As another year brings new devices from Samsung, Apple and Google and others, smartphones continue to be ubiquitous in the modern world.

As such, today’s consumers are very used to the idea of advertising being delivered through their favourite devices. We’re used to swiping, tapping and pinching to view content that interests us.

However, when it comes to the creatives behind these campaigns, there are far more engaging ways for brands to interact with their customers through mobile phones. 

The challenge for marketers now is to plan mobile campaigns that go beyond inviting users to click, tap or swipe their phones. Advertisers who can find ways to use other native functions are increasingly likely to stand out from those using classic mobile ad formats.

As research from our proprietary platform SparkFlow shows, ads that use these functions drive better results; campaigns have click-through rates which are up to fifty times higher than those using mobile expandable banners alone.

In addition, when consumers are engaging with your advertising outside of clicks alone, they’re also connecting with your brand in a far more meaningful way. Data from System1 found that 95% of our purchase decisions come from emotional reactions, rather than rational ones.

So, how can advertisers create mobile ads that best connect with their audiences?

It’s time to think outside the box – or, in this case, the screen. There are new opportunities for brands to cut through the digital noise, and here are three examples of smartphone functions that still have a wealth of untapped potential: 

Move into action

When we tilt our devices, this action is measured through in-built accelerometers. These can detect movement, the level of acceleration, and how the phone is being held relative to the user.

Mobile games have already utilised this function to great effect, with advertisers now considering how to make the best use of this technology.

360° adverts are one example of this evolution, with users tilting their phones to explore a virtual scene being presented to them. Consider a hotel brand offering a room tour for those interested, or an automotive company offering the chance to explore the interior of a brand new car.

Accelerometers can make excellent adverts because they present an audience with a compelling reason to interact and engage with a brand. That being said, this is still early days for this technology in adverts, so there’s plenty of scope for innovation.

Imagine, for example, an advert featuring a football game in the midst of the World Cup. Users could tilt their device in time with the on-screen action to score or save a penalty, unlocking new and interesting content as a result.

Shake up your campaigns

Accelerometer functions are highly varied and nuanced.

As well as being about to track slower movements, they are also useful for monitoring faster, spontaneous actions like shaking. Used in tandem with the right creative, consumers can be surprised by a new message, video or image as they interact with the advert.

For example, a drinks brand could show their bottle on screen, while offering bespoke content in exchange for shaking the device.

Brands can also bring in other ‘shakeable’ objects for users to play with, such as a magic 8-ball or a music instrument, again driving better interactions with their audience.

Creativity draws users in

As the release of the Samsung S8 showed, smartphone screens seem to be always growing. The ways in which we interact with them are also evolving alongside this growth.

Multi-touch sensors and creative tools enable mobile users to use their fingers to draw images on the screen, creating content from the palm of their hand. As a good advertiser will spot, this creates an opportunity to create adverts that allow consumers to put their own stamp on a brand experience.

These interactions are perhaps the most exciting for the adtech industry; brands that make best use of this function can reap considerable rewards.

For example, we’ve worked with a makeup brand to create an advert focused on touch. It asked users to draw a heart on their screens using a branded ‘lipstick’ to unlock exclusive content.

This technique is high-impact, with consumers being entertained and thoroughly engaged in a brand’s message and campaign.

Smartphones present an entirely new canvas for advertisers to unleash their creativity. With the advert appearing literally in the palm of a user’s hand, it’s a far more personal space than traditional online advertising.

Brands that best combine technology and creativity, using native formats in innovative ways, are poised to succeed in this environment. These kinds of adverts create experiences that stay with consumers for a long time – a great achievement in our busy modern world.

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