We’re in the middle of the most massive media shift in history, and brands are lagging behind.

While 2.1 billion mobile users have downloaded over 350 billion apps, time on device grew 76 percent last year, and we are spending more time on our phones than watching TV, brands have yet to completely embrace mobile advertising. That’s led to what Mary Meeker has called a $25 billion opportunity gap in mobile ads.

Disney buit an interactive game-in-an-ad for Big Hero 6, which generated 14.8% engagement.

Above: Disney buit an interactive game-in-an-ad for Big Hero 6, which generated 14.8 percent engagement.

Image Credit: VB

But some brands aren’t waiting. And they’re discovering how to win.

Disney, for instance, discovered that with the right confluence of targeting and creative, outsized results can happen. The company achieved 7 times the average video ad engagement rate using smart audience targeting and great, interactive creative. And video ads already generate 5 times the engagement of static banner ads.

A national consumer goods company, working with Kroger, recently achieved a 3.7-times increase in the number of customers visiting Kroger go buy its product, after a geotargeted mobile advertising campaign that focused on factors such as device data, location history, and offline purchase data.


VB’s new Brands & Mobile Advertising: How to win report is available for
$499 on VB Insight, or free with your martech subscription


Part of the challenge for brands, of course, is the sheer complexity of the mobile ad ecosystem. The number of calculations that go into which ads you see in Facebook or Draw Something is staggering, with easily 11 separate steps happening in milliseconds, and handoffs between ad networks, exchanges, demand-side platforms, supply-side platforms, and data management platforms:

Today, VB is releasing a report on brands and mobile advertising that includes both the good (like the above examples) and the bad. There are five ways brands are failing at mobile advertising, and they include repurposing ads from other media, not using data, and using data inexpertly.

In fact, not using any data at all results in ads that are almost 800 percent less likely to be seen, engaged with, and tapped on.

The report includes 12 ways brands are succeeding, one of which is planned spontaneity: something we’ve seen from both Adidas and Oreos.

soccer-balls.jpgFor instance, last year Adidas was in the enviable position of having two teams wearing its equipment in the final of the World Cup of soccer: Germany and Argentina. Minutes after the World Cup was over, a special commemorative jersey was available for purchase at Adidas.com. Unfortunately, no one knew about it, Onefootball CEO Lucas von Cranach told me recently.

That meant the response was nowhere near what it could have been.

This season, when German player Thomas Muller scored a goal in a game for his home club of Bayern Munich, Adidas had his jersey ready in seconds, just like at the World Cup. And this time, the company also had an ad and an offer live within seconds … which generated a massive 6.6 percent clickthrough rate to Adidas.com.

Other techniques brands are using include tracking and optimizing in real time, “moneyball” style tactics, coordinated campaigns with TV and offline media, and — of course — video advertising, which grew 600 percent last year.

The entire report is available on VB Insight.

We will be unveiling the results live and in-person at our invite-only (but free!) roadshow event at NASDAQ in New York City on June 16.

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