100% Viewable Mobile Ads

FSnews_071513_mobile_imageWhen Google, The New York Times and Searchmetrics all come out with announcements within 24 hours of each other about how to make mobile ads more effective, marketers listen. Google promises its display network advertisers that marketers won’t have to pay for ads consumers don’t see, the Times says an iPhone ad blocker saves users a lot of money because they’re not paying data charges related to ads and Searchmetrics says even organic rankings suffer if user experience and technical factors get in the way.

Here’s what all of them have to say about what marketers can do to get their display ads viewed on mobile devices:

1. Google. “Most display ads — 56 percent, in fact — never had a chance to be viewed because they were below the fold, scrolled out of view, or in a background tab,” writes Brad Bender, VP of product management for the Google Display Network on Wednesday on Inside AdWords. “Soon, we’ll make the GDN one of the only media platforms where advertisers don’t pay for an ad impression unless it was viewable. This means your media dollars will only be spent where they can have impact. In the next few months, all campaigns that buy on a CPM basis will be upgraded to be viewable CPM (vCPM).”

While this explanation doesn’t specifically highlight mobile devices, Bender says earlier that Adwords will provide marketers with deeper insight into device usage for remarketing purposes.

2. The New York Times. “We measured the mix of advertising and editorial on the mobile home pages of the top 50 news websites – including ours – and found that more than half of all data came from ads and other content filtered by ad blockers,” the Times published on Thursday.

So Boston.com mobile readers spend 30.8 seconds waiting for ads to load vs. 8.1 seconds waiting for the editorial portion, which the Times finds would cost a home page visitor $9.50 a month — just to see the ads.

If marketers aren’t careful, consumers may avail themselves of this option the Times details: “Ad blockers, which Apple first allowed on the iPhone in September, promise to conserve data and make websites load faster.”

3. Searchmetrics. “Pages that ranking higher in mobile phone searches tend to differ (from those that rank higher in computer searches) in areas such as font size, wordcount, interactive elements (buttons/menus), presence of unordered lists, number of images, number of internal links, file size, page load times and use of responsive design/dedicated mobile sites,” reads a summary of research the firm emailed to Target Marketing on Thursday. “However, across both phone and computer search results, one of the most important ranking factors is good quality, relevant content that comprehensively covers the topic.”

The research further states marketers can pay attention to the following:

  • User Experience – Adjust font size up above the fold so users can navigate, possibly keep it small below the fold; and use fewer menus, buttons and images.
  • Technical – Minimize file size and load time and avoid Flash.
  • Content – It should be relevant, holistic and high quality. In general, higher-ranking articles are a few hundred words shorter on mobile than on desktop devices, and links aren’t as close together.

How well are mobile display ads performing for marketers?

Please respond in the comments section below.

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Heather Fletcher is a freelance reporter for Adweek. She covers performance and direct marketing.