Consumers don’t stick to one screen and consequently, neither do advertisers. With the average UK consumer switching between at least three devices, building campaigns that reach every channel is essential. Advertisers have become multi-screeners; adept at designing ads to complement the unique attributes of each channel — including smartphones, tablets, desktop, and digital OOH — and ensuring their campaigns are cohesive, appropriate, and impactful.

But mastering multi-faceted delivery is only first stage of producing truly effective advertising; the next step is to focus on maximising the potential of hardware.

In 2016, advertisers will start to look beyond simply optimising creative to display correctly – and will begin to utilise the hardware capabilities of individual devices. By delivering a tailored experience that immerses, engages and surprises consumers as they move between screens, advertisers can help mitigate the need for ad blockers.

Mobile is the ultimate hardware

Last year the long-expected rise of mobile to pole device position arrived. The Ofcom Communications Market Report found that mobile had overtaken desktop as the connected screen of choice for 60% of 16 – 24 year olds. This propelled mobile from a key focus in digital ad campaigns to the primary objective. To maintain the interest of the most valuable demographic, advertisers must go further to build mobile-specific ads that stand out from the crowd and captivate consumers.

Keeping ads in context

The ad blocking issue has brought the importance of ad context to the fore, especially for multi-screen campaigns. Awareness of the need to ensure creative is appropriate for each device is growing, and attitudes towards ad formats such as interstitial — which is particularly prone to disrupt and irritate mobile users — are shifting.

The industry is moving towards native ad formats, such as HTLM5, that offer greater innovation and a less intrusive way to make a valuable connection. Constructing dynamic creative that immediately responds to its environment is now vital, and the consensus that one-size-fits-all ads do not meet the needs of multi-screen consumers is building.

The next stage of this advertising evolution is to take ad context further and concentrate on device hardware. After all, if the best design is adjusted to meet the size and connection of each device, why not adapt to specific features to provide an even more engaging experience for the user? Ads that not only blend with, but also complement their environment are less likely to seem out of place — and therefore have a greater chance of reducing ad blocker usage.

Making the most of hardware

Mobile technology is in constant development and as more sophisticated features appear, the shift from static ad content to rich engaging creatives is on the rise.  Smartphones and tablets already come equipped with advanced tech, such as accelerometer and gyroscope features that adjust screen orientation as users move their mobile from horizontal to landscape, side-to-side or even rotate.

These features automatically open a whole range of possibilities, including virtual experiences, movement based games, interactive customisation and location-based targeting to name a few. Last year, Coca Cola used YouTube’s 360-degree video technology to create a rotating mobile ad celebrating the 100th anniversary of its bottle design. The ad was swiftly followed by 360-degree campaigns from Disney offering users a complete tour virtual of Disney World and Samsung placing users at the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand.

Advertisers are also discovering new ways to piqué the interest of mobile gamers and boost user acquisition by taking advantage of gyro tech. Ads with playable units enable users to try new games without downloading them first; vastly increasing their enjoyment and giving them the option to continue playing. Going one step further, ad content can now be crafted in an interactive story narrative, allowing users interact with personalised ads on their tablets and smartphones.

Multi-screening is an established element of the digital existence and the advertising industry is starting to recognise the need for flexible creative formats that adapt to suit their context. Yet there is more to mastering ad context than producing content that displays well across devices. Advertisers need to get more creative and use all of the tools at their disposal to capture consumer imaginations, which means realising the potential of the individual capabilities of each device.

By tailoring campaigns to take advantage of the unique hardware features mobile offers, advertisers can deliver extraordinary creative experiences that stand out from the crowd and turn ad campaigns into rich engaging content.

Jamie Evans-Parker

Jamie Evans-Parker


Jamie Evans-Parker, CEO & Founder, wayve.