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May 12, 2016

As digital advertising continues to grow, and with the New York Times reporting that digital ad spending will hit nearly $160 billion this year, it's important to understand the medium. Whether you're a seasoned marketing professional or just beginning your career, it can be difficult to determine which mobile ad formats are best for your advertising objectives.
Since new options pop up so often, here's a quick primer on five ad types and their unique benefits. A good mix of these digital ad formats will allow you to engage your customers throughout their mobile journey.

Banner ads are unobtrusive and not the flashiest format of the group, but if your brand is recognizable, they can serve as an effective tool for top-of-mind awareness. They're also cost-effective, as campaign options allow for a variety of pricing and purchasing methods, from programmatic display to pay-per-click advertising.

Interstitial advertisements are designed to pop up while content is loading in an app or on a mobile site. These ads take over the entire screen, providing advertisers a large space for extended messaging or interactive calls-to-action, but this abundance of ad space is a double-edged sword: They're widely considered annoying, as Google analyst Mariya Moeva points out in iMedia, calling them "disruptive" and "frustrating."
However, in 2013, InMobi chief product officer Piyush Shah shared that interstitial ads delivered the most conversions for social and entertainment apps. Their statistics illustrate the importance of testing ad types to find the best format, as even a controversial ad format can prove useful.

A native ad is designed to fit in with the content around it by adopting the look and feel of its publisher's content, for example, with a photo slideshow or how-to tutorial. Some of the more successful native advertising campaigns play to a company's values and overall brand, rather than pitching a specific product. Cole Haan's sponsorship of a Mic series profiling "young women who are helping set a new course for our generation" is a strategic move to connect with their target audience of educated, professional women and men.

Video ads play while a user is interacting with a mobile app or site. Video may be the best ad format when advertising to certain audiences, as a recent study from Unity Technologies found. According toeMarketer's report, nearly half of mobile gamers surveyed preferred video ads to other formats in free-to-play games. These videos are often directly integrated with the game and offer rewards for watching, providing a high level of engagement.

Rich media ads are similar to video in their versatility and relatively high price point. The format encourages creative freedom, so the final result requires more manpower and hours. These ads are interactive, dynamic, and designed to engage users with innovative graphics. Rich media ads generate are a great format for conversions. According to Smart Insights, they can improve click-through rates substantially.

≥≥ Need a Shortcut?
-There are five common mobile ad formats: banner, interstitial, native, video, and rich media.
-Each type has strengths that makes it ideal for a specific marketing purpose.
-A mixture of the ad formats will likely be your best option, so you can drive different users at various stages of awareness.
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