We hear it from advertisers all the time: “How do I improve click through rate for mobile ads?” Obviously, when it comes to a process as complicated as mobile advertising, there’s not some magic, fix-all solution—but with optimized design and a common-sense approach to consumer engagement, you can see a big up-tick in performance (earlier this year, one of our clients saw a 300% improvement for their mobile banner ads in less than a month, simply by changing their call to action). The most valuable thing an advertiser can do to boost CTR, however, is to integrate a tangible reward into the ad.
I’ve already discussed in an earlier post how to improve click through rate for mobile ads by taking advantage of things like rich media ads and more precise audience targeting. But all those factors are just the first half of the process: finding the right audience and getting them to look at your ad. Getting them to actually interact with it is something else entirely.
How to Improve Click Through Rate? Offer Rewards
Smartphone users in particular tend to interact with their mobile devices in a series of brief, task-oriented sessions. They’ve usually got a limited amount of time (say, while they’re waiting in line at the supermarket), and a pocket-sized screen to work with—meaning if you are going to serve ads in this context, then you need to put in some extra effort to make sure the impression is a positive one for the consumer.
Most marketers and advertisers, unfortunately, focus only on their own goals—not the consumer’s—and subsequently they deliver curiosity-based mobile ad campaigns, more appropriate to a leisurely context like at-home web browsing. On mobile, these ads are not only far less likely to be clicked on, they are shown to actually drive brand devaluation.
If you want to improve click through rate for your mobile ads, you’ve got to give consumers a tangible reason to act. A March 2013 poll performed by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Tapjoy examined audience response and preference to mobile ads. The key findings confirmed that promising some sort of reward is by far the most successful way of driving consumer action. More than two thirds—67%—of respondents said that they believed they should be offered a reward in return for watching/engaging with a mobile ad.
As per Tapjoy’s own analysis of the poll:
“Rewarded ads are shown to be more relevant than other types of ads, and the percentage of customers who feel positively toward a brand that provides these types of ads is almost double those that do not… (Rewards) boost customer sentiment about a brand, increase relevancy, and drive significantly more interactions than ‘traditional,’ automatically served in-app advertisements.”
"Players prefer voluntary, incentivized ads," said Ethan Levy, Monetization Design Consultant with FamousAspect. "They are much more willing to watch a video that helps them earn in-app currency than they are to click on a pop-up interstitial ad that redirects them away from the game they're playing."
(note: In June of 2014, the app store was briefly rejecting some apps that used these incentivized ads, but has since reversed the practice.)