How Brand Marketers Can Capture Consumer Attention on Mobile

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With mobile ad spend set to surpass television for the first time this year, brand marketers are in a frenzy looking for smarter ways to generate the highest possible ROI from their investments. The problem, it seems, is that many brand marketers aren’t fully comfortable with mobile strategy.

According to one recent study, 47% of brand marketers say they have “some concerns” with opt-in video, which is playing an increasingly important role in mobile marketing, and less than half of those marketers are “very familiar” with opt-in video.

Consumers also appear skeptical about advertising. Eighty-one percent say they’re overwhelmed by the number of ads they see, and 85% either have used an ad blocker or are open to it, highlighting concerns that mobile advertising itself may not be sustainable.

To gain a better understanding of how local advertisers should be capturing consumer attention with mobile advertising, we checked in with Maggie Mesa, head of mobile advertising at OpenX, an independent ad exchange network for publishers and demand partners. In her role at OpenX, Mesa manages a team of business development executives responsible for driving the company’s product in market with publishers and collobrating with traditional desktop publishers to help them adopt the latest mobile products and strategies.

Given her position within the industry, Mesa has a unique perspective on what it ultimately takes brand marketers to capture the attention of mobile users who are growing increasingly weary of their efforts. Here are three of her best strategies.

1. Think through how to best leverage opt-in video. Opt-in, or rewarded, video ads are something that started in the world of mobile gaming. Although opt-in video ads have proven to be a great format for gaming advertisers, Mesa says that there are use cases for advertisers in all verticals.

Mesa says she and her colleagues at OpenX recently conducted research with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which showed that eight out of 10 consumers now prefer opt-in video advertising to other ad formats. That same research found that opt-in video ranks higher than pre-roll, mid-rolls, interstitial, and social, and that 65% of consumers would watch more ads if they were more relevant. All of the data points to the interest being there from consumers. Now, it’s up to the advertisers to take advantage.

2. Leverage data to create relevance. Although it may seem obvious, it’s worth stating how important it is to serve a relevant ad experience to a consumer. Although the vast majority of consumers surveyed in an MMA study said they feel overwhelmed by ads, 65% say they would still be willing to watch even more ads than they see today, if those ads were more relevant.

This should be a real wake-up call for the industry, which must collectively prioritize relevance. Mobile provides advertisers with incredible data, including location, and Mesa says that it’s critical that marketers leverage this data to provide the level of relevance for which consumers are looking.

3. Build a mobile-specific creative strategy. The days of repurposing desktop banner ads into mobile are over—for good reason. Advertisers, consumers, publishers, and even developers are all at a disadvantage when desktop banner ads get repurposed into mobile.

Whether it’s video, rich media, or something else, Mesa believes it’s critical that advertisers think about creating mobile-first experiences that are different than what consumers are already seeing on desktop.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.