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How to improve your chances of winning the ad-tention lottery

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

Simon Kvist Gaulshoj, CEO of Adnami, offers advice on creating attention-grabbing and effective advertising. 

What is advertising all about? To some it’s a creative artform. To others, the essence lies in psychology. And for many people it’s a numbers game – data, analytics and statistics. But when all is said and done, advertising is about attention. How to get it and how to keep it. If you have nailed those two points, you’re on the path to success.

Attention always wins, but the challenge for brands is to establish how they can earn it. Is it about size? Or noise? Perhaps PR stunts or controversial lines? Or does it just come down to how big your budget is?

With audiences gradually disappearing from typical above-the-line advertising channels, such as outdoor, TV and print, brands are being challenged to achieve impact through mobile and digital channels. But with just 20 per cent of viewable ads being noticed in the UK (according to Lumen Research), cut-through remains an ongoing challenge for advertisers.

So how can brands set themselves up for success within the attention economy? After a brutal year for many advertisers, this will be higher up the agenda than ever before for marketers in 2021. Essentially, it boils down to a few key considerations that will help you take back your brand and ensure it earns the attention it deserves.

Ensure your creative is built to deliver on relevant KPIs
Work out whereabouts in the user journey you want your ad to deliver. What is the message you are trying to impart? Should it deliver the greatest impact at the action or attention part of the funnel? For example, a deal or 2-for11 promotion will need to sit at a later point than the general awareness message. If engagement, dwell time and brand lift is your main KPI, you should use video and interactivity as effective measures to deliver on those KPIs. If website visitors is the main KPI, creatives with few and crystal clear messages and call to action tends to deliver the best results. Being present with the wrong message at the wrong stage of the journey will be a wasted investment.

Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it
We all know there is a stark difference between the impact you achieve with TV vs print or prints vs OOH, but the same applies to digital advertising. Every format works differently and should be considered on its individual merits.

Large formats demand attention in the physical world and so, too, do high impact versions of online ads in the digital sphere.

Strong messages are best related in an impactful way, and that is achieved most effectively through contextual placement. Using the most effective medium for your brand and your budget, and focusing on quality over quantity, will drive positive long-term effects for your campaign.

Get more bang for your buck
Never create a visual asset for one platform and then resign it to the archives. Every asset can be used multiple times across different mediums. Take Disney as an example: every scene in their movies is painstakingly created digitally, but they cleverly repurpose the same scenes across a film to save time and money.

In the same way, advertisers can repurpose their assets across multiple platforms: they can use TVCs, social creative or in-stream video in display with little extra work. And from the point of view of creative builds advertisers can work with templates of rich media code, which can be easily – and cost-effectively – repurposed into new, stunning, high impact creatives. 

However, one issue to always bear in mind is how your creative will look on different sized screens. Whether it’s a smartphone, a laptop or a desktop, your ad has to work on every device, because to get that wrong is to immediately forgo all attention. An unsightly, clunky or ill-formatted ad will irritate and set the audience against you, regardless of your message.

Don’t over-complicate your creative
It is crucial that advertising is clear, accessible and easily digested if it is to have maximum impact and grab the audience’s attention. Therefore all ads should be designed with clarity front of mind.

At Adnami, we work with AI tool Attention Insight which allows us to input a creative – at the planning stage – and in seconds we will get feedback on how clear the messaging is, allowing us to tweak and rework the piece accordingly. This is a straightforward process that should be done as standard for all advertising.

Simplicity is simple – if there is too much going on, the eye doesn’t catch anything. The brain will shut out everything rather than pick up snippets.

The use of emotion is so important in advertising, yet with digital ads, it has been eroded to an image and a call to action, which fails to make the best use of the opportunity for the advertiser. High impact ads can deliver so much more, driving that all important emotional response, even on a mobile.

Play by the rules – for your sake and that of your audience
Grabbing and keeping attention may be the goal of every marketer with every advertising campaign, but stepping outside the rules to achieve that will only cause pain for both parties.

GDPR regulation has revolutionised the data privacy landscape across Europe, while the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework sets out an industry-standard approach to helping all parties comply with the rules when processing tracking technologies such as cookies, advertising and device identifiers.

In the nearly three years since GDPR came into force, the industry is proving it is possible to drive impactful, attention-grabbing ad campaigns without falling back on any techniques that invade the users’ privacy or take advantage or personally identifiable information.

Advertising is about many things but with effectiveness – and ultimately sales – the ultimate goal, attention, will always be the overriding necessity in achieving that goal, regardless of any other priority. By following a few relatively simple guidelines and working with attention as a measure, brands can ensure their ads are far out-performing the average, in an efficient and cost-effective way, and that frighteningly low 20 per cent viewability stat will be nothing more than a distant memory.