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Swiping — the move which could revolutionize mobile advertising

Any­one with any expe­ri­ence of media jobs in mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies can con­firm the exis­tence of a stub­born dif­fi­cul­ty in this cor­ner of Adland: mobile adver­tis­ing spend might be ris­ing rapid­ly, but gar­ner­ing met­rics to assess its effi­ca­cy is an exceed­ing­ly tricky busi­ness. But one mobile adver­tis­ing expert has prof­fered some sim­ple yet poten­tial­ly ground-shift­ing advice for the cre­ators of mobile dis­play ads: for­get tap­ping, switch to swip­ing.

Why mobile adver­tis­ing should swi­peable, not tap­pable

Writ­ing in the online mar­ket­ing news source Mar­ket­ing Land, Matthew Rob­les (the VP of Prod­uct Man­age­ment at the dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing agency Van­tage Local), puts his fin­ger on an all too fre­quent draw­back for mobile phones adver­tis­ing cam­paigns: the fin­ger itself. Or the fat fin­ger, to be more pre­cise.

Many mobile ads get tapped acci­den­tal­ly by users whose fin­gers are too big to nav­i­gate the screen accu­rate­ly, a phe­nom­e­non which not only irri­tates the user to hell, but cre­ates over-val­u­a­tion of irrel­e­vant ads (click-cen­tric mar­keters wrong­ly inter­pret taps as a sign of engage­ment and end up over-buy­ing the ads).

Rob­les iden­ti­fies a major issue for mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies:

“The prob­lem isn’t that ads don’t work on mobile; it’s that the desk­top mod­el of “click or hov­er-to-engage” doesn’t trans­late to mobile. A mobile tap is not the same as a desk­top click, and there’s no such thing as a touch­screen hov­er. It’s the clas­sic round-hole, square-peg prob­lem — the desk­top schema doesn’t work for touch­screens.”

But he also has a solu­tion:

“Swip­ing is how audi­ences inter­act with their mobile devices — they should inter­act with their ads on mobile in the same way. Swipe is here — let’s use it!”

The win-win swipe

No one involved in mobile adver­tis­ing wants to annoy the very peo­ple they’re try­ing to engage, which is inevitably what hap­pens when a user acci­den­tal­ly taps an ad and finds his screen hijacked to a page he nev­er want­ed to go to. Swi­peable ads instant­ly elim­i­nate the prob­lem, says Rob­les, to the ben­e­fit of audi­ences, adver­tis­ers and pub­lish­ers alike. With swipe-to-engage mobile ads, the ini­tial frame can’t be acti­vat­ed with a tap – it has to be delib­er­ate­ly swiped. And that means that inter­est­ed users can be tracked far more accu­rate­ly, elim­i­nat­ing the over­val­u­a­tion prob­lem, too (low val­ue audi­ences just won’t engage with the ad).

The days of tap­ping are num­bered.

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