What are Mobile Banner Ads?
For those uninitiated with the world of mobile banner advertising, mobile ads are any HTML5 unit, static image or, in very rare cases, video, that runs on a mobile device. This ad might be present while a user is surfing the web, while they are using an app, or even when they are playing a mobile game.
One of the main reasons why animated mobile ads are in a category separate from regular or desktop banner ads is because they are relatively new. In the years of Flash (90s-2010s) only static images could run on mobile. It was only with the death of Flash and the introduction of HTML5 that animated banners started to appear on phones (2014-ish). While mobile banners can mirror their desktop cousins in a lot of ways, in many ways mobile banners are in a league of their own, with their own internal logic and regulations.
What to consider when building mobile banner ads
One of the first things anyone needs to consider about mobile banners is the size of the mobile screen. Desktop browsers have plenty of room to display billboards or leaderboards at the top of the screen and skyscrapers at the sides. Mobile phones, on the other hand, can only really accommodate 50px-60px of advertisement at the top or bottom of the screen before the ad starts to obscure the webpage content – that is a full 200px less than desktop! Similar to height, mobile ads are constricted by the width of the phone. Where desktops can easily accommodate 728px – 970px wide, most mobile phones can only display a max width of 400px before your content is pushed off screen. If one considers the middle of a webpage, a mobile device can—and often does—display MPU size banner ads, but at 300px high and 250px wide, the MPU unit will take up a large portion of the users screen. While this is not a problem in itself, it’s worth considering that although relatively small in pixel size, a mobile MPU is probably the largest percentage of a user’s screen that any banner will ever take up.
Another mobile unit that is bigger than the MPU and the standard 300×50/320×50 mobile units mentioned above, is the mobile interstitial. A mobile interstitial is a unit roughly 320×480 in size, which is roughly equivalent to the user’s entire mobile screen. As of 2018, the IAB has begun to phase out this format in favour of it’s new L.E.A.N and responsive formats. While these units still remain relatively popular as in-app ads for mobile games, the IAB has decided to shy away from them in regular mobile web browsing because taking up the whole of a user’s screen is very intrusive and can lead to a negative user experience. When users experience negative reactions to banner ads, it can have dire consequences for the brand and can negatively impact the industry overall. The IAB has also championed various different kinds of scroller reveal ads which take up less of a user’s screen and can offer a more seamless user experience. While we are always ready to help you build interstitials you need for your campaign, we would advise that you use them sparingly. Also, we would suggest that you show respect the end user by creating more than a simple, static banner and perhaps creating an interactive unit that can really bring extra value to their experience.
What to consider when building mobile banner ads
Another aspect to consider when producing a mobile banner is the use of video. While video is a popular component of in-app mobile advertising, it is important to note that all mobile browsers do not play video automatically. This means, if you design a mobile MPU unit that includes video, instead of the beautifully animated unit that you have designed, the end user will see a MPU sized video player and they will need to tap to play or view. Since most users are not in the habit of going out of their way to view internet advertising, chances are your mobile-video unit will have little to no ROI.
The final issue that you should consider when building mobile banners is file size. For desktop browsing, a banner with a very high files size—for example, a banner with lots of high res pictures or a video—might load extremely slowly, thus negatively impacting a users viewing experience; however, this banner would not negatively impact the user financially. The same is not true for mobile ads. Most people worldwide still pay for monthly data limits on their phone plans. If they exceed those data limits, they are often hit with some kind of overage fee. In an attempt to respect the end user, many media companies have imposed smaller file size restrictions on mobile banners than on desktop banners. For example, a mobile MPU might have a limit of 50KB while the desktop version of the same sized banner might have a limit of 300KB. With that said, you should not entrust this important task to your media agencies alone. When creating mobile units, it is always best to only use the file size you actually need and nothing more. Eating up file size with unnecessarily large images or videos will have a significant negative impact on your consumer.
Why make sure mobile ads are in your media plan?
We’ll start with an undeniable stat: according to Facebook, mobile advertising accounted for over 80% of their total ad revenue. Mobile advertising is one of the most important and rewarding methods of online advertising, mobile banner ads allow your brand to reach your audience on their personal device on their preferred platforms and sites.
Thanks to mobile device tracking, advertisers have access to real-time data that allows them to serve their audience dynamic, versatile, and useful information at the drop of a hat. Your brand is able to send relevant ads to people who are interested, have shown interest in, or are near one of their brand locations.
Another pro to take into account when considering mobile ads is the opportunity for authenticity it allows your brand. Your message can reach your clients on their personal devices with content that is relevant to them, their interests, and lifestyles. Reaching your audience in this way allows your audience to feel engaged rather than sought out and advertised to.