The first screen in driving brand engagement

Chris Gale, managing director of Odyssey Mobile Interaction, explains how combining rich media with mobile advertising can boost engagement with consumers 

Sponsored by Odyssey


Today in Europe, the mobile revolution is well underway and with smartphone penetration surpassing 50 per cent, it is no wonder more and more international brands are integrating mobile as a key part in their communications planning and reaping the rewards. Applying rich media to a mobile ad campaign can deliver results four times more effective than standard banners.

This creates an opportunity for brand marketers to use new and innovative techniques to capitalise on the high level of consumer engagement mobile offers. Advances in technology, creativity, media formats and publisher content have created a perfect storm for brands to engage their consumers on mobile like never before.

The main benefits of rich media include a better user experience for the customer, better results for advertisers and happier publishers with higher yield rates. These new formats in mobile achieve a higher level of engagement, increase brand value and seamlessly help brands meet multiple brand objectives.

But what does rich media really mean? It is defined as a format of mobile advertising (banner, interstitial or video) that is a closed experience happening within a mobile application or mobile webpage. When users engage with such ads, it means they are not redirected straight to the advertiser’s website, but get the full experience right where they are; they can then continue to browse after they have engaged with the ad.

Odyssey Mobile Interaction has created and delivered countless rich media campaigns for blue-chip advertisers across its network of premium publishers. As a result of these new formats, we have seen engagement rates anywhere between 3 per cent and 40 per cent. This is a key reason why rich media is becoming more popular with brands. We also see ads on mobile apps performing 1.6 times better than mobile web.

Rich media offers ad features that integrate with the core hardware of the device and enhance the user experience. Smartphones offer the great advantages of user interface, larger screens and powerful features such as GPS, camera, gyroscope and speech.

These dwarf PC capabilities and allow much more engaging and advanced ad formats. This is where ad technology and HTML5 programming is used to connect the ad to the mobile OS, enabling native device features to help marketers achieve their campaign objectives.

This could be to deliver video views (using video player), a series of animations, game play to unlock elements, dynamic data capture (to support lead generation or competitions), help with finding the nearest store (GPS and maps) or link to social media (from generating likes on Facebook to Twitter followers and live feeds).

Rich media campaigns ensure content is king

Content is king – and it is absolutely necessary for great rich media campaigns. Premium publishers are seeing up to 50 per cent of their traffic being accessed via mobile devices and this has led to significant investments to meet the demands of this shifting user behaviour. As with more traditional planning, it remains important for premium brands to maintain a level of media transparency – something that is harder to achieve across many mobile networks. However, through creating a cherry-picked channel of premium publishers and integrating effective campaign optimisation, it is possible to achieve great results.

Through designing and developing rich media ad formats with the consumer’s mobile experience front of mind, the smaller user interface can make a big difference to performance, engagement rates and CTRs. 

It is still important to occasionally take a step back and look at the role mobile plays in the day-to-day life of a consumer. From the moment they wake up to the time they go to sleep, consumers are glued to their mobile devices and will use them for a variety of purposes: as their main communication device, as an information database, as a gaming hub and much more.

Video advertising on mobile has also experienced explosive growth as cost per views is lower than comparable media. Although the screen is smaller, the video plays through the native player, meaning full screen with audio and no interruption, which does not exist in the same way online.

Another trend that advertisers should be excited about is the increased ability to target and reach their core demographics. Whether that is as broad as iPad users or as specific as consumers who attend football matches in Manchester, advertisers now have the ability to target specific consumer audiences and reach the demographics that will help mobile advertising reach its full potential. With rich media ads, you have the opportunity to view other measurable statistics about your consumers. For example, with video ads you can see how many people watched a video, or the percentage of video viewed and dwell times.

As with the early days of online, rich and immersive websites use more bandwidth and take time to load. Mobile network connections can drop, which could result in longer load times for richer formats or users losing data connection. However, with the increased performance of devices, networks, contracts using 4G and the growth of open Wi-Fi in public areas, this promises to overcome limitations in the same way broadband fixed the online world.

Mobile has arrived and with the ‘experimental phase’ now over, brands all over the world are developing strategic plans, increasing their media investment and creating new ways to make the channel work to solve their business problems. Advertisers who are looking for reach beyond a handful of premium publishers, who require precise audience targeting and are optimising their buys, should now include rich media ad formats in their plans. 

Chris Gale
Managing director
Odyssey Mobile Interaction

Lupus House
11-13 Macklin Street

T: 020 3141 0130



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