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Why the IAB mobile ad unit will die

Why the IAB mobile ad unit will die David Zaleski
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iMedia traveled to ThinkLA's Mobile Breakfast in Beverly Hills to report on the state of the modern mobile landscape from some of the most influential marketers in the business. Here are just some of the insights we gleaned when we spoke to E!'s VP of business development and digital media Danny Shea about IAB display advertising on mobile.


"Fat finger taps" create horribly exaggerated CTR


The convenient size of mobile devices has created a unique problem for marketers: "fat finger taps." What are these? They're exactly what they sound like. Fat finger taps are clicks made on mobile ads (specifically the static 320x50 IAB ad unit) that are only clicked on because the thumb accidently touched it performing another action. Marketers are no stranger to an inaccurate CTR, but there's been a limit to how many clicks could potentially be accidental on desktops. On mobile, it's a madhouse. According to Goldspot Media, 50 percent of clicks on mobile ads are fat finger taps. That's an unacceptable and distressing metric. It's just one of the reasons marketers are moving away from this ad unit when crafting their mobile ad campaigns.


Rich experiences on mobile are way more successful


Marketers need a new game plan when it comes to marketing on mobile, and brands like E! have started to deliver. What are they looking toward? Rich, content-based experiences on mobile for brands. Static display ads are just not going to cut it on mobile if your goal is engagement. E! is creating content experiences for its clients that are native and actually informative. This strategy is proving more measurable and successful that a one-size-fits-all tactical approach.


iMedia's David Zaleski speaks with Danny Shea about his role at the E! brand, and why the IAB 320x50 static ad is not resonating with his team as much as more rich content-based options.


Mobile web is evolving to where static ads won't make sense


With the eruption of HTML5, the mobile web framework is changing rapidly. Soon, all of our interactions in the mobile web ecosystem will be as beautiful and seamless as the interactions we currently enjoy in some of the most high-end applications we download to our smartphones. In a world where your interactions on smartphones are fluid and seamless, why would a clunky 320x50 static ad fit at all? Why would developers even make room for it? If your mobile capabilities were so rich and detailed, it would actually be easier to make room for a complex branded integration, rather than make static mobile ads work. Keep your eye on the evolving HTML5/JavaScript landscape.


Success is not measured in clicks; it's measured in engaged monthly unique users


While there is no one secret measurement of success for mobile, E! sees value in the amount of engaged monthly unique users. Why? Because a click, much like on a desktop, doesn't necessarily indicate intent or interest. However, an engaged user on your app who comes back every month is very easy to measure as far as intent is concerned. You need to rethink the CTR as a success metric on mobile if you want to not only look good, but also be accurate. Numbers can be impressive, but if your mobile CTR represents mistakes, you're not really measuring anything of interest.


E!'s Danny Shea ends our conversation by discussing what he looks toward when it comes to mobile app success as well as some other faulty metrics you can ignore.



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Learn more about ThinkLA and its upcoming Automotive Breakfast and Interactive Idea Awards Gala.


"Advertising concept: hand holding smartphone" and "Skull and bones" images via Shutterstock.

David Zaleski is the Media Production Manager for iMedia Communications, Inc. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Film & Television Production, specializing in editing, animation and television lighting.  Before...

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