Last week, the IAB hosted the second webinar in the "Make Mobile Work" Initiative, a program aimed at helping advertisers unlock the full value of mobile advertising. The webinar, entitled "Design with device in mind," focused on strategies for designing ad creative to work properly across screens. 

For those of you who weren't able to watch the webinar, you can view the recording here, but we also thought we'd share the strategies more broadly. 

Five strategies for developing successful cross-screen creative:

Note: "Step Zero" is to build your ads in HTML5, so that they can even show up across screens. We talked more about that in our first webinar. 

1) Design ads differently for mobile phones vs. tablets. 
Too often, advertisers lump mobile phones and tablets together as one and the same. But consumer behavior is very different on these two devices. On a smartphone, consumers are typically on the move and their information gathering is action-oriented -- they are searching for a specific answer or piece of information and want to find it quickly. On these smaller screens, you want to keep things short and provide information easily and quickly to users.

With tablets, on the other hand, consumers tend to be stationary and their information gathering is more entertainment-oriented -- they are browsing for interesting things and are more inclined to spend time flipping through content. On these larger screens, you can provide longer, more engaging experiences that use interactive elements, games, photos or videos. 

2) Make ads feel more like content. 
Consumers now expect engaging and interactive ad units, and they won't tolerate ads that are intrusive or unhelpful. Think of your ad as another opportunity, just like your website, to provide useful information for people to engage with your brand and learn more about your products. This is true for all of your digital creative -- desktop, tablet and smartphone -- but it's especially important for the tablet environment, where consumers are often in the “browsing” mentality. Here, they may be more likely to engage with an ad unit, so it's critical to ensure that your ad grabs their attention.

Cadillac used interactive video and multiple content areas in this ad to provide multiple ways for people to engage with the brand and check out the product, directly within the ad unit.

3) Take advantage of the device form-factor.
Build your ads to mimic the way people already interact with the device. Use the touch screen and the accelerometer within mobile phones and tablets to build in interaction modes like swipe, touch, tilt, and shake, giving people new ways to interact with your content.

The Alka-Seltzer ad unit from Project Re:Brief illustrates how you can build these interaction modes into your ad creative in a way that works seamlessly (and even augments) the creative narrative.

You should also take advantage of the call functionality and geo-targeting capabilities inherent in mobile phones. According to the “Mobile path to purchase” research, 69% of consumers searching on mobile phones expect businesses to be within 5 miles or less of their location. And 55% of users who search for a product on their mobile phone want to purchase within an hour of searching. (83% want to purchase within the day.) Use click-to-call, location extensions, and the maps API to help consumers learn more about your company and reach a purchase faster.

4) Alter your assets to work for mobile.
Your standard 30-second TV commercial may not be the best video format for your digital placements, so you should get creative about the length, frequency and sequencing of your video content. You can try shorter 5-15 second video ads on mobile phones, and longer video units on tablets. (Many of the best YouTube videos from brands today are two- five minutes long!) You should also consider sequencing your video ads to create a linear story for a viewer through subsequent ad units.

Another thing to consider is the speed and cost of people's internet connections on smartphones and tablets. People streaming or downloading video content when they are not on wifi have to pay for those data charges, so you should be smart about the file size of the ads that you show people. Identify whether the person is on a mobile network vs. wifi, and then serve smaller file sizes to the person on the mobile network, and larger file sizes (higher res assets, more interactive elements) to the person on the wifi network. This helps reduce viewers' frustration when they can't download and ensures that your mobile video message gets through with the quality you intended.

5) Create both in-app ad units in addition to mobile web ad units. 
Smartphone users spend up to 5 times more minutes per month on apps than they do using the mobile web. (Nielsen Smartphone Analytics, March 2013) So it’s important to build in-app ad units, in addition to mobile web ad units, that can get in front of that audience. Mobile applications also offer different contexts for you to place your ads, so it provides more variety when considering your creative and targeting strategies. 

These 5 strategies are just a taste of the content available through the "Make Mobile Work" Webinars. Our next webinar will be in mid-August and will focus on how to target your campaigns and reach the right people across devices. (RSVP here.) We hope you'll join us!

Posted by Becky Chappell, Product Marketing Manager, DoubleClick