What makes an epic mobile brand storytelling experience? In my role at PadSquad, I am frequently asked questions about creative best practices, what’s working in mobile, the newest shiny object—and the list goes on. Unfortunately there never is one answer that fits all.

Creative requires a custom approach and is such a vital part of a campaign’s success. The problem is that marketer’s are not investing nearly enough in their mobile creative—90% of spend goes to the media buy while only 10% goes to the creative development. Ultimately, the creative is the only thing the consumer sees/touches and it plays the starring role in impact and ROI.

As a mobile marketer and consumer, I’ve experienced some really good mobile ads but unfortunately more often I’ve come across some extremely horrid ads. As an industry, I think we tend to over complicate things and take the easy road versus the high. Sometimes it’s best to bring it back to the basics. Here are some simple thoughts to consider for creating a positive mobile brand experience.

  1. The 10 second rule! Bring it back to your adolescent days when 10 seconds really did matter. Well this applies to mobile advertising as well! Did you know the average human attention span is actually less, at a whopping 8 seconds, and sadly declining specifically when it comes to the use of mobile devices. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of hooking the user quickly while also making it matter.
  2. Keep it simple. The old saying rings true. Don’t over complicate the experience and try to accomplish too much. Think about the actions you want your consumer to take and align that with the mobile creative experience. What are you trying to achieve? Brand engagement, product discovery, video views, store locator, downloads? Keep focus on the user flow and help guide them (and quickly) down the path you want them to follow.
  3. Use, don’t abuse the device. Connect the online and offline world with the native functionality of mobile devices. As mobile marketers, we are given a trove of features to choose from but do it with intention. Tell a better brand story with distinct capabilities, like Haptic, Tilt, Shake, 3D Touch, Gyroscope. etc.And don’t forget about more practical integrations like add to calendar, e-commerce abilities, maps and location-based tools.
  4. Proceed with caution. It’s easy to get caught up in the latest ad tech craze, like VR, 360 video, etc. It’s great to be first-to-market. Trust me, we love that. But be strategic about your approach.  Does it help enhance your brand story? Don’t force something if it’s not natural. Respect the user, their time and their experience. It will pay off in the end.
  5. Think and build mobile-first. Mobile consumer behavior is very different from desktop and television. Build your creative for the mobile screen and the mobile user. Replicating assets across platform is not the answer. For example, simply cutting down a television spot to a :15 mobile video is not enough. In most cases the audio on a user’s mobile device is off. Consider building for that behavior and rely more on visual cues to hone in on important brand messaging.
  6. Is it thumb-worthy? This may sound crazy but…stop thinking like a marketer for one minute and picture yourself as the end user. Would you stop and engage? Does the experience leave you with a positive feeling, wanting more?
  7. Test + Learn! Work with your mobile media partner to gather insights throughout the campaign. Act smart and fast, fix what’s not working. Try testing a variation of creative but don’t get in over your head. Two to three variations are enough. Use that learning to enhance performance through individual pieces of creative.

The adage is true: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”