Why mobile may be the most creative medium of all

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Digital and mobile can deliver innovative and creative experiences as meaningful as those on television, says Undertone's EMEA MD.

There’s no argument that digital advertising offers brands targeted reach and dependable results. But when it comes to delivering creative and emotion-driven ads, digital—and mobile in particular—is an afterthought compared to television. With the still-growing importance that consumers are putting on their mobile devices, isn’t it time we give digital ads the creative attention they deserve?

A 2016 report from the IAB UK found that digital content delivered through smartphone devices measured equally as engaging as content consumed on television. Despite this, many marketers are still missing brand-building opportunities by rejecting the mobile medium, viewing it as a poor environment for emotion-led campaigns.

With the growing sophistication, richness and variety of digital ad formats available, there has never been a better time for marketers to create powerful, emotional digital experiences that resonate with audiences and produce tangible ROI for brands. The unique features built into most smartphones open up almost limitless opportunities.

Consider the touchscreen function and movement sensors in a smartphone. They allow users to delve deeper into 360-degree videos to explore an entire visual, either by dragging their camera angles or moving their phones to change the perspective. This has huge potential for advertisers, who can use the function to create a 360-degree 3D scene, showcasing locations, vehicles, buildings or products in their creative.

The native functions of smartphones also provide opportunities for immersive interaction. Accelerometers can be used to measure the extent to which the device is tilted or twisted—movements which are then linked with on-screen images. The possibilities are nearly endless. Replicating real-world actions like shaking allows an advertiser to offer bespoke content in exchange for interaction with a native function, like shaking the phone to mimic the action of mixing a drink or turning a Magic 8-Ball to reveal a new image or message. This puts the user in control of their ad experience and encourages direct, genuine engagement with a brand.

Multi-touch sensors allow users to draw directly onto a smartphone screen with a finger, providing a completely personal experience for the user. This is something all digital marketers should be looking to leverage–inviting users to put their stamp on a brand experience.

These types of high-impact ad formats have outscored standard ad formats by more than 60 percent in key performance metrics, such as emotional intensity, active emotions and positive emotions, according to a recent study conducted by System1. Despite these findings, consumers will still only exert a certain amount of energy interacting with a single ad, so it is important to make the interaction user-friendly and entertaining. Intuitive, simple narratives are the way forward, ensuring ads are designed to give the user a thoughtful, engaging experience across all devices.

Digital and mobile have the ability to deliver innovative and creative experiences for users that can make as meaningful an emotional connection as television or other traditional media formats. As digital budgets continue to rise, we should deliver the most impactful creative where users access it most. It’s up to us as marketers to unleash the features of the medium and find new ways to connect with users, while building memorable brand stories.

Rob Garber is Managing Director of Undertone EMEA.