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In mobile marketing for retail, there is no one ad format to rule them all


A recent AT Kearney report suggests that 50% of organized retail will be influenced by digital. There's another report that also suggests that 50% of all E-commerce purchases came from mobile devices. This means that more people are buying online and when they do, they're using smartphones to make these purchases.

product vs ad formatTheir buying decisions though are heavily influenced by mobile marketing. Therefore it becomes crucial to choose the approach that will work the best for the product you are trying to market on mobile. Just as you would not choose pamphlets to advertise a premium sedan and would go with a snazzy video with high production values, you need to choose the ad format that best suits the product you're trying to market to the consumer.

The price of the product, the audience and the way the product is being marketed are important considerations when choosing an ad format. Let's look at how we can get it right with ad formats:

  • Rich Media ads
    Rich media ads are the best way of utilizing the features unique to a smartphone. A marketer's ability to showcase the product is greatly enhanced by these ads. For instance, a rich media ad can have a 360 degree view of a product where the ad enables consumers to virtual interact with the product and better understand it, thus aiding the buying decision. Products in the lifestyle category such as sunglasses or lipsticks can be marketed through rich media ads where the ad can simulate the experience of virtually trying out the product.
  • Video ads
    Their ability to pack in a lot more messaging in a very short time makes video ads favorable for marketing high-end products on mobile. Also, video is one of the more expensive ad formats (average CPM around USD 4, and may vary according to targeting parameters). Products that fall under the Luxury category such as watches and perfumes can harness the power of storytelling that video ads offer.Video Ad formats have been found to boost brand metrics like brand recall, purchase and recommendation intent by more than 20 PP*. Retailers can therefore use video ads at the start of the user's purchase journey to introduce the product and later retarget the interested users with native ad formats which are less intrusive and comparatively much cheaper to create.
  • Native Ads
    Their ability to seamlessly blend with the content experience makes native ads perfect for infeed content. This format can be best used to drive discovery for categories such as books, music, consumer electronics goods such as smartphones and wearables which involve moderate to high pre-purchase research. Besides, their non-intrusive nature makes native ads ideal for retargeting campaigns and native ads have been found to have deliver 4 times higher Click-Through Rates (CTR) than traditional banner ads.
  • Swipe Ads 
    Swipe ads are ideal for situations where consumers would like to have more product options before they make a purchase decision. Swipe ads can be used for products which require moderate to high pre-purchase research. They serve as a powerful tool for retailers as swipe ads give them the opportunity to showcase a variety of most relevant products to the target audience in one single ad. This ad format can be harnessed for Lifestyle category products (the most searched category in FY 2015-16) where variety of products has been cited as a primary purchase motivator.
  • Interstitial Ads
    Interstitial ads are best suited for cases where the consumers are quite familiar with the product and require lower pre-purchase research, such as grocery and FMCG products. A full screen interstitial ad for such as product can help establish instant brand recall and encourage the consumer's buying decision.
  • Banner Ads 
    Banner ads can be pushed to consumers at a later stage in their purchase journey as an efficient retargeting tool. Banner ads can be used to notify users who have already been exposed to the product. Promotional offers can be pushed through banner ads which can help the marketer to instantly capitalize on the purchase intent of the exposed consumer. Being the cheapest ad format it could help drive down the retargeting cost increasing the ROI per customer.

Every ad format has a certain advantage to offer. However, the implementation of each ad format has a certain cost to it, the return on which, is best realized when that ad format is used the right way. One ad format can be an overkill in certain situations, as opposed to others where it can effectively deliver the marketer's message. Therefore it is necessary for marketers to choose the ad format that best suits the product that they are looking to promote and the audience they are trying to reach out to.

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