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.