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Top 5 Mobile Ad Experiments of 2014

2014 was another momentous year in mobile. Mobile apps overtook PCs in terms of US Internet usage, and for the first time smartphones drove more than half of post-Thanksgiving online shopping. Facebook’s revenue growth came almost entirely from mobile advertising, and Google acquired a range of mobile players like DivideAppurify, and Directr. Ellen DeGeneres took a popular selfie at the Oscars, and even President Obama snapped one with Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. And amidst all this mobile momentum, the data scientists and designers here at Yieldmo were tirelessly implementing our vision – designing truly great mobile ads. The team spent hundreds of hours inventing new ad formats, and then our optimization engine ran billions of tests to optimize every variable in order to drive industry-leading performance. These experiments often generated as many questions as answers, and went to the core of what it means to effectively advertise on mobile devices.

With that said, we’re happy to share our Top 5 Mobile Ad Experiments of 2014.


#1 Intentionality

Simply put, does the user know this is a mobile ad? Or have they unintentionally clicked after confusing it with publisher content? Yieldmo rigorously tested every possible variable to find the characteristics of mobile ads that best signaled their ad-like nature, and then correlated these findings with performance metrics such as clicks, conversions, and installs. We conducted experiments like creating new ad headers (“Ads You Might Like”), and matching the ad fonts and colors with the publisher’s page.


#2 Engagement

Mobile screens allow for ad interactions beyond the desktop mouse-click. For example, our Carousel format allows for a familiar side-to-side swiping motion, while our Scroller unit seamlessly moves up and down the page without interrupting the user’s viewing experience. We’re finding that as users move in and out of the viewable window on mobile screens, they indulge in entirely new browsing behaviors and interactions. All of these data points need to be carefully measured and used for optimization purposes.


#3 Viewability

Mobile devices offer advertisers less space to work with, so fretting over an ad’s viewability is understandable. However, just throwing out an _in-your-face_ interstitial ad will cause users to immediately seek out the X button, and associate that brand with annoyance. On the other end of the spectrum, an ad format buried deep in the footer may never be seen at all. At Yieldmo, our team is carefully finding the balance between an ad’s viewability and the user’s overall experience. Moreover, we’ve seen that publishers are starting to realize that an ad’s viewability has a direct connection to the revenue any ad placement can yield.


#4 Urgency

Limited time offers are commonplace in offline shopping, as well as at desktop players like Gilt, Groupon, and HauteLook. Yieldmo’s Ticker format, which has a built-in countdown timer, is among the first in mobile to generate that similar sense of urgency among consumers. Now, our team obsessively measures ad performance as the clock counts down to zero. Not surprisingly, creating urgency and scarcity has driven positive ROI for all experiments using this new type of ad format.


#5 User Interruption

Imagine recapping the day’s tweets on your phone. Suddenly, someone wrenches the device from your hands and shoves an ad in your face. It sounds awful doesn’t it? It also sounds like a lot of mobile advertising today. At Yieldmo, we’re constantly experimenting with how to deliver pleasant ads that keep users on the page and engaged with the content they came for. Worried that this will harm the ad’s performance? You’d be surprised.


To learn more about the results of all our mobile ad experiments, please feel free to contact usdirectly. And Happy New Year!


Luke Tarbi is the Vice President of Marketing at Yieldmo.
Posted by: Lucas Piazza, Director of Marketing