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Why You Should Take a Visual-First Approach To Your Advertising


It’s common knowledge among advertisers that first impressions are critical, but it is a commonly held misconception that this judgment begins once consumers have already downloaded your app. In fact, the most critical interaction points are before your potential user ever enters your app interface. The recently published comScore 2017 U.S. Mobile App Report found that 21% of Millennials deleted apps with designs that didn’t appeal to them. That’s right, something as simple as your logo can make someone scrap your app. It’s clear that when it comes to design, details matter. If you want to set yourself up for success, you should devote attention to the engaging experience you provide before consumers ever enter your app, utilize a data-driven mentality by testing your designs, and place yourself in a potential user’s shoes to make the most of a few seconds to impress.

Give Them An Experience Before They Open Your App

With programmatic advertising, within an instant, the user is shown a highly relevant ad from the highest bidder. Phew. You won the first battle. You are in front of your viewer for your first impression. Now it is your time to shine….now what? In the past when ads were static, there was only one decision for the consumer - to click or not to click. However, in today’s visual world, interactive ads give the advertiser the opportunity to be proactive, not reactive. Think of this time as an invitation to engage and interact. If the user chooses to click, you have opened the door for a series of interactions with each increasing your chance to make a positive first impression.

Test and Improve Continuously - It’s More Than Just Interactive

Test different variables in your creative design. We tested different iterations of our creatives to see how much first impressions really matter. With the focus, in one case, on text sizing and strategic placement of text prompts, we found creative click-through rates increased from 3.3% to 4.4%. In the case of an interactive ad where we tested a different interaction mechanism, like using a tap versus a swipe, the click-through rose from 7.3% to 8.7%. These results were entirely independent of any changes in our bidding model. Details matter - from how you say something to the colors you choose. Pay attention to aspects like when and how you serve your calls to action, the size and wording of buttons on your ad, the icons you choose, and, most importantly, the ad’s overall layout and aesthetics.

Impress Them In Seconds

On the programmatic advertising side, milliseconds can make or break bids for Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) buying traffic. What if you had a similarly brief amount of time to capture the attention of your potential target audience to get them to interact with a deeper experience? Consumers make snap judgments, deciding whether your app is worthy of an interaction. Once you hook them in, you have the opportunity to show them the in-app experience resulting in a pre-qualified user who understands the core functionality of your app. This is why traditional mobile ad formats are no longer enough for ROI-driven advertisers. And even compared to typical video ads, interactive ads go one step further as you can zoom in on interaction points within the creative to find your users’ likes and dislikes and optimize toward higher conversion. Your first impression could be your last or a proud place on the homescreen of your consumer’s phone. According to a study outlined by Rick Nauert Ph.D, first impressions are very difficult to overcome as new experiences are “bound” to the new initial context. Thus, in the case of your app, even if a user were presented your app later, it is more difficult to change his or her mind about it because the person will be dominated by what he or she first saw.

When you only have seconds to impress, you should make the most of it to ensure your first impression isn’t your last. In the new age of advertising, both data and creative become important in reaching your consumer. You want to have every tool in your arsenal to capture their attention, which begins with dynamic and engaging ads.