What Makes Us Click? The Science Behind Effective Native Mobile Advertising

The following is a guest contributed post from Dale Carr, Founder and CEO of Leadbolt, the high-performance mobile advertising platform. Advertising has always been about creative artistry and …


The following is a guest contributed post from Dale Carr, Founder and CEO of Leadbolt, the high-performance mobile advertising platform.

Advertising has always been about creative artistry and leveraging our understanding of deep human needs and behaviors to sell.  The shifting preference away from digital, TV, radio and newspapers toward mobile devices introduces new challenges and a technical awareness required for getting mobile advertising right.  So what’s so different about mobile ads?  Here are the new rules for establishing a successful mobile advertising campaign, and the secrets behind what motivates audiences to engage:

We Feel a Connection

Good art inspires an instant feeling – a sense of adventure, the thrill of a chase, the joy of color, or the personal draw of a character’s face that lures you in (hint: It’s all in the eyes!). Ever look closely at the top game app icons in the app stores?  It’s no accident that most characters have large, expressive eyes. Without words, design plays a critical role in grabbing our attention and drawing us in at first glance. The best mobile ads are able to utilize the small screen real estate to convey a feeling you’ll want to experience.

We Want to Belong

Brands spend years earning a place in consumers’ hearts and minds.  A brand is more than the product – it is a carefully articulated promise to the customer. Brands provide a reason to believe and remind us why we love our preferred products and services.  By choosing one brand over another, we self-identify as belonging to a club of other like-minded people.  Ads that feature a coupon or special offer (as in direct marketing) can trigger an immediate sale, but pure branding ads reinforce our belonging in the club. Our most recent interaction with the brand reserves a space in our subconscious, waiting to be ignited when the time is right.

Speaking of belonging, your mobile campaign is an extension of your enduring brand, and should remain recognizable with a look and feel that is consistent with your campaigns everywhere else. Your mobile campaign should also fit elegantly into the mobile experience.  It should “belong” there, seamlessly fitting into an app’s form and function so that the campaign adds value and complements the app flow and experience, rather than interrupt it.  This type of ad placement is called Mobile Native Advertising, and can take on many forms such as Native Video Ads, Native Interstitials or custom Native Ad experiences that are built to fit specific app behaviors.

We Want to be Loyal

Loyalty programs that offer rewards, points or benefits for shopping, are proven to influence buying decisions, and the same principle applies to rewarding mobile app users for their loyalty. Enter Rewarded Video Ads (aka, Incentivized ads). By rewarding a mobile user (e.g. game player) with in-app perks and privileges in exchange for viewing a 15-second video ad, you are simultaneously demonstrating that you value their time, and are also providing a taste of the good life – a glimpse into what their game experience could be like if they continued to partake in these perks.  The perks can range from rewarding a player with an extra life, game level advancement, extra coins or tokens, or even revealing inside tips and trivia about the making of the game.  By being generous and utilizing rewarded video ads, you are setting the stage for future in-app purchases and are fostering loyalty by keeping them engaged in the app longer.

Right Place, Right Time

Here’s where science comes in.  When ad targeting is working well, ads reach a tailored audience that are prime candidates for conversion.  The ads are expertly served into mobile environments and locations where coveted audiences are already paying attention, and during precise moments when they are most likely to engage.

–          Moms at mealtime see ads for quick dinner recipes that please picky eaters.

–          Diehard fans of a particular app publisher will be invited to preview the latest game release from their favorite game maker.

–          Racing car fanatics will discover new racing games they can’t resist.

–          Game player just lost a life?  No problem.  The player will be rewarded with a new life after they watch your video ad.

–          Coffee lovers will receive a coupon for a cup of joe as they walk by their local coffee shop.

–          Past clickers – those who have clicked on an ad before, but have not yet downloaded the promoted app – will be persuaded to complete the download.

These are all examples of ad targeting and well executed ad-delivery strategies that can determine the success of a mobile campaign.  Your mobile ad network or platform partner is the key to expert targeting and intelligent ad delivery.

We feel in control of the experience

No one likes to be disrupted while using the most personal platforms in our lives – our mobile devices.  In order for ads to be accepted, they must be presented in a manner that complements the user’s experience, or at the very least, does not interrupt their app flow.  Mobile Native Ads allow beautiful, discreet campaigns from advertisers to fit seamlessly and elegantly into the unique form, function, design and user flow of their apps.  Users can move throughout the app and engage with the ads on their terms by opting to view or click.  When an app user clicks on the ad, there’s a great likelihood that this user is genuinely interested in the ad – and these quality audiences are the advertising jackpot!  Native ad campaigns please advertisers because they deliver high-quality, high lifetime value users, while app owners maintain the quality of their app and deliver an interrupted experience that keep their users engaged and returning to the app.

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