Using Rich Media to Spice Up Mobile Ads

Mobile ads haven’t evolved much from their desktop counterparts in over five years. Banner ads remain tiny – a serious disadvantage on mobile’s smaller screens – and most mobile ads lack creativity.

In the last year, however, everything has begun to change as shiny new models overtake old formats. Advertising has shown some monumental shifts. Facebook added native advertising and Twitter launched its new mobile app promotion.


Image source: Flickr, user: Warren Rachele

I touched on this before with a post on the most common mobile advertisements. But as the industry shifts, common ad formats aren’t always the best options for mobile. Instead, advertisers switching to rich media ads that are both novel and attention-grabbing. They’re not entirely new formats, but “made-over” versions of classic mobile ads. While the term “rich media” does refer to a variety of ads under the mobile rainbow, for this post we’ll cover how interactive interstitials, social videos and GIFs can help your ad campaigns.

Rich media formats

1. Interactive interstitials offers mobile app developers the opportunity to turn their app into a “try before you buy” interactive interstitial. Users can click through an advertisement of your app to demo it. This can be particularly helpful for developers who struggle with ASO. Developers can give users hands-on experience with the app, which can in turn help counter poor ratings or low downloads in the app store, which might have otherwise turned users off.

Even if you don’t opt for a service like, mobile ads that incorporate interactive touch stand out from the crowd. This doesn’t mean you should opt for the bullseye-shooting duck ads from the 90s, but creatively use advertising models to get users excited about interacting. If they are interested in that, then they’re already engaging with your brand.

2. Social videos

Facebook and Twitter may have launched new ad formats this year, but social media marketing isn’t limited to those two platforms. Vine and Instagram now allow advertisers to build brand messaging with brand pages and in-stream ads, respectively.

We’ve touched before on how long video advertisements negatively affect mobile marketing strategy. Video advertisements are now shortening in length, down from 30-seconds (the traditional desktop length) to six-second videos. These videos are in line with the average attention span, which clocks in at a depressingly low eight seconds. If you’re having difficulty understanding how to get across brand messages in six seconds, check out Lowe’s Vine page, which gives users #fixinsix quick repairs and DIY ideas in record time. This is a great way to build an online community and spark relationships with your consumers.

3. GIF-enabled ads

A rising form of rich media that isn’t as difficult to produce as video are GIFs in mobile ads. These grab the user’s attention more effectively than still images, without being as obtrusive as full-screen interstitials. Companies like Cinegif let advertisers produce their own GIF ads (as well as FIG ads with more analytics possibilities).


Image source: Tumblr, user: MrGIF

Why rich media is important

Ads with rich media incorporated typically receive higher engagement rates. In one study, Opera Mediaworks actually found that rich media mobile ads are four times as effective as standard banner ads. Traditional banner ads have never seen much engagement, yet they comprise the majority of mobile ads. Sprucing them up with eye-catching media can improve CTRs, eCPMs and possibly, higher revenue.

Be sure to do your research on mobile advertising trends and identify the strategies that mesh best with your plan. And as with all advertising, don’t be afraid to get creative with new twists on old formats. Banners, interstitials and even rewards can all benefit from rich media. Kiip, for example, incorporates this into ads to increase brand awareness and engagement.

Follow Kiip on Twitter to stay up-to-date on all our latest advertising news and discoveries.


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