Mobile devices are quickly evolving beyond smartphones and tablets into smartwatches, fitness trackers, and more but marketers are still struggling with the same issue: delivering compelling content on mobile devices.At the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mobile Marketplace conference this week, Ned Newhouse, executive director of mobile and native at CondÃ© Nast, noted that creative is the "linchpin" of the publishing company's success. In acknowledging the challenges the marketing industry faces including issues of viewability and content, Newhouse told attendees, "if you buy an ad, it should be seen, but please make sure the ad you're going to post is worth my time. We don't have banner blindness--we have bad creative."
Capturing people's attention is also harder than ever. In fact, the average attention span of a human being dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, which is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information .
Additionally, device fragmentation and a lack of standardized mobile measurements are major obstacles to mobile advertising, reported a joint survey by the IAB and Ovum. The top 5 mobile concerns according to 200 marketing executives include the following: device operating system fragmentation; lack of standardized metrics to measure mobile advertising; lack of agency expertise in mobile advertising; and too many different ways to source or buy mobile inventory.
Privacy is also becoming a growing concern. This year, 37 percent of the respondents cited privacy as a very important issue compared to 22 percent who said the same in 2013.
And as screens get smaller, marketers and publishers must find more succinct ways to communicate. The New York Times said yesterday that it will publish "one-sentence stories" (which look like headlines) to Apple Watch, in what it described as a "new form of storytelling to help readers catch up in seconds" in a statement.
While there are no easy solutions to lifting mobile ad performance, the answer lies in combining innovative content with data, said Matevz Klanjsek, co-founder and chief product officer at mobile marketing and analytics firm Celtra. "Instead of creativity, we have the conversion path," Klanjsek lamented. "We need to find a balance between the two."