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Why Advertisers Need to Finally Wake Up to Mobile


Internet Advertising Bureau UK's Mike Reynolds explains why it’s vital to embrace creativity across a range of devices.

He also shows IAB’s open letter to advertisers that tells them, “It’s time to improve your mobile advertising.”

With the letter being backed by big names such as Google, The Weather Channel, and AOL, it’ll be interesting to see the advertisers’ reactions.

(We’d love to hear your reactions as well!)

There’s no denying that mobile devices have revolutionised the way we interact with media. However, it would seem that advertisers are still trying to get to grips with consumer behaviour on these new platforms, as well as the abundance of opportunities that they present.

In the past twelve months the IAB has conducted a number studies highlighting the mobile uptake of advertisers (with more to come), and it always amazes me to see how many are struggling with the basics. In fact, 42% of the top 100 advertisers still don’t have an optimised site, despite all evidence suggesting that having an optimised mobile experience is now essential.

According to our annual Agency Snapshot Surveys, one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of mobile advertising has always been creativity. However, is this because ads aren’t being created in mobile compatible formats?

In light of this, the IAB has today published an open letter (below), a call to action targeted at advertisers, to encourage them and their agencies to develop ads in HTML5, which is a mobile-ready creative. HTML5 allows ads to run across a range of devices, which means they’ll reach a wider audience and ultimately perform better.

Dear Advertisers,

We'll just say it: It’s time to improve your mobile advertising.

In a medium that’s all about movement, your ads are inert. With consumers accustomed to content tailored to their time, place and interests, most mobile ads are peculiarly one-dimensional.

To guarantee the ads you pay for actually appear and look great on all screens, you should insist to your ad agencies that your advertising creative be developed in a mobile-compatible format. And the one open, industry-standard, universal format for building mobile-ready creative is HTML5.

Your opportunity has never been greater. Nearly 75% of the UK population has a mobile phone with internet access, and one in four pageviews on the web happen on a mobile device - a number that is growing every month (Source: comScore Device Essentials, July 2013)

HTML5 will enable you, your agencies and publishing partners to make your creative ideas captivating on every screen, elevate your brand image, and lower your creative costs. We know this may mean a change in how you develop your ad creative. But there are many tools to augment work with HTML5, such as responsive design, and a multitude of suppliers available to assist.

If you're not familiar with HTML5, IAB offers guidance on optimizing HTML5 ad code for better performance across platforms: HTML5 for Digital Advertising 1.0: Guidance for Ad Designers & Creative Technologists. In addition, IAB, in partnership with technology leaders in the space, will be producing a series of webinars focused on HTML5 and other mobile advertising solutions. To learn more, register at

Then ask your agencies and developers for mobile-friendly HTML5 so you can reach your audience across all screens.

The IAB is supporting this initiative, which also has the backing of publishers from across the industry, including AOL, The Financial Times, Future, Google, The Metro, The Telegraph, and The Weather Channel.

In short, you can be creative on mobile! The IAB is dedicated to encouraging creativity within the industry, and has supported the IAB US in releasing the Mobile Rising Star Formats, a set of best in class mobile rich media ad units. Rich media presents new and exciting opportunities for advertisers; you only have to look at a few campaigns in our Mobile and Tablet Creative Gallery or our Creative Showcase awards to begin to realise the potential mobile advertising has to offer.

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