Anyone in mobile has played out this scenario: You hear about a client's upcoming rich media campaign, and they've asked to use never-before-seen mobile technology. So your heart goes a-flutter. It's exciting, it's new, and it's unknown, which makes it a little sexy and mysterious. But will it be really effective? To understand rich media effectiveness, we must first understand the audience that is engaging (or not engaging) in it, and the psychology behind what makes it so for the audience involved. This series examines four different psychological criteria that should be addressed at the onset of any mobile campaign's creation.
Impact on mobile ad experiences owing to consumer intimacy with devices
Mobile devices become more robust in functionality with each model that gets released. With more and more fancy features and functionality built into our phones and tablets, consumer dependencies on these devices grow stronger. We have become a tech generation that regards mobile devices as an essential part of our lives, so much so that many have grown strong emotional attachments to their smartphones and tablets.
This attachment is an attribute of developing a fundamental dependence on mobile devices for day-to-day activities that far surpasses basic communication. We use our devices to keep in touch with family and friends, organize our lives, and entertain, and our devices automate these and a myriad of other functions. This applies to most of us, whether we'd like to admit it or not. It's been years since any of us has had to commit the phone numbers of loved ones to memory. But today's mobile phones automate such a wide array of tasks and provide so much more information and entertainment than any 10 other devices did 20 years ago. Consumer dependence on them and intimacy with them has followed along.
According to Nielsen, the majority of mobile users (80 percent) find mobile advertising to be more intrusive than TV advertising. Psychological studies have found that of those users who find mobile ads to be annoying or intrusive, those with strong emotional attachments to their devices tend to have relatively warmer responses towards mobile ads than those who don't. Avid mobile users have relatively short attention spans, so advertising messages that come through have to be clear and eye-catching in order to be effective and appeal to this audience. "Advertisers need to think beyond the one-way communication of your everyday static ad and find new ways to engage the audience in a multi-way, multi-stage interaction in order to effectively engage their audience and shape how they are advertised to," said Nielsen's Eric Ferguson.
Perceived interactivity and its effect on rich media engagement
What does multi-way, multi-stage interaction mean in the mobile world? It means utilizing the flexibility of rich media to enable users to interact with a mobile ad outside of a simple tap-to-action. It takes more than a simple still image to develop and/or enhance the relationship between mobile users and brands. Think about how we build relationships in our own lives: There are generally dialogue exchanges and some give and take responses before we consider ourselves to have built any form of relationship with someone, whether it is as close as a significant other or as distant as an acquaintance. The same general principle applies to mobile advertising user engagement.
Users have to feel as though they are involved in the decision-making process of whether to engage with the ads they consume -- the decision of whether or not they want to build a relationship with the brand. Remember, this device is unlike any other. It's more intimate, so a consumer needs to be invited to participate, not forced to.
When audiences are able to interact and feel engaged with the ads they consume, they tend to receive most of the information related to it and pay more attention to the actual ad content. This is true on any interactive device, but it is essential on mobile devices. Once this rapport is established, the next stage in the process is deciding whether or not they feel the relationship is favorable. The key word to hone in on here is feel. Much of human behavior and human response is a reaction to feelings. If the rich media ad you are running is a robust enough experience that makes people feel good and happy or allows them to have fun, the end result of the positive experience is that ad satisfaction goes up, users develop favorable attitudes towards the brand, and potentially, this drives higher purchase intent.