Making Advertising That Works in the Mobile Age
As magazine readers transition from paper to tablet, they’re becoming harder for advertisers to reach. A picture-and-text ad doesn’t cut it anymore — savvy readers have learned to look right past static ads. But advertising in the mobile age isn’t doomed; it’s just different. The key is to understand what works and why.
In a recent study, 180 participants wearing eye-tracking equipment browsed three popular magazines on iPads. By analyzing subjects’ eye movements, what they focused on and paid attention to, and how long they focused on each area, the researchers uncovered exactly what people looked at and how what they looked at compared to their stated enjoyment of the activity.
What was discovered was that the key to effective advertising is interactivity. Interactive ad features capture readers’ attention longer and engage them more. Ads that require user action, such as playing a video, swiping the page, or clicking a button, perform far better than ads that just sit there.
To attract interaction, ads must have easily displayed video, text with relevant information, or clearly defined buttons — or better yet, all three. Placement seems to matter too: the closer to the beginning of the magazine, the more attention an ad receives.
Video Is King for Advertising on Mobile Devices
Ads that feature video engage readers at a rate almost double (17.8 seconds on average) that of those with static content (9.1 seconds on average). Other features, like photo galleries, hold one’s attention longer as well.
Design is as important in mobile advertising as in print. All of the most relevant and important information needs to be featured on the first page of an advertisement, or it will likely be missed. In a popular national sports magazine tested in this study, 62 percent of respondents noticed the first page of an ad, while only 25 percent saw the second page.
Readers won’t watch videos if they don’t see a clear, familiar play button that indicates the ad is not a static image. Advertisers looking to incorporate video into advertisements in digital magazines should look to the magazine for consistency in creating a recognizable button that fits with the rest of the media format.
Kirk Hendrickson is the CEO of Eye Faster, a leading provider of shopper research, developed his expertise in eye tracking and shopper research while leading worldwide field operations for EmSense Corporation and product management for MarketTools, Inc. Kirk holds a patent for conducting surveys on mobile phones and was twice a finalist for the EXPLOR Awards. Kirk holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, and a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.