Once upon a time, not so long ago, creating and placing media advertising was a fairly straightforward task.  For TV, you would create an ad of a standard length, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, or a minute, and it would be placed on certain channels at certain times.  For print, the ad would be of a given size and would run in a determined page location for one or more issues.

Then along came the Web, changing the way ads need to work.  (The Web has changed a few other things, but those are beyond the scope of this article.)

Web ads need to work differently because the audience is far more dispersed than that for traditional media. This audience accesses Web content in many different ways, which have changed significantly over the lifetime of the Web. Even a few short years ago, it was reasonable to simply design an ad for a Web page, confident in the knowledge that it would be downloaded over a hard-wired network and viewed on a desktop monitor attached to a PC. No longer! Today, the ad will be accessed using devices with varying screen sizes and processing capabilities, over a wide variety of network connections, all of which will affect the user's experience of anything that is served up.

The world of mobile advertising

Whatever your role in creating and distributing ads over the Web, it's vitally important to understand and cater to the ways users will see your content. More users - especially free-spending younger consumers - access the web mostly or exclusively from their smart phones.

A survey in Europe found that

  • 45 percent of smart phone users noticed mobile advertising
  • 29 percent of these "noticers"esponded to it
  • In the UK and Germany, nearly 50 percent of users who responded to an ad went on to make a purchase.

These kinds of response rates cause advertisers to salivate.

But even smart phones are being surpassed by the growth in tablet computers - according to one forecast, tablets will account for 53% of mobile ad revenue by 2014.  Tablets have capabilities and requirements that are somewhat different from those of desktop PCs or smart phones, and it's crucial that you also accommodate these in your ad development.

4 tips for advertisers

So, what can you do to make your advertising stand out in a responsive world? Here are 4 ideas to get you started:

  • Create device-specific variants
  • First and foremost, leave behind the one-size-fits-all model. If you are an ad creator, keep in mind a minimum of 3 client environments: PC, smart phone and tablet. This means that you should not just produce one single design for any given ad. For each ad, create variants at 3 different sizes, with more or less text, graphical content, and animation to accommodate different screen sizes, network capacities, and device processing capabilities. And if you are the ad buyer, expect the space in which the ads will appear to be sold not as 3 separate slots, but as a single slot that accommodates all 3 variants of your single concept.
  • Take advantage of device capabilities
  • In addition to screen size and processor power, consider other device-specific capabilities. For example, you might create an ad that, on a PC, will respond to a mouse-over, while the same ad on a smart phone will react when the user shakes the device. Similarly, if you expect the user to enter a phone number, ensure that the smart phone automatically displays the phone's numeric keypad.
  • Make your landing pages responsive
  • It's important to provide suitable content when the user clicks on an ad. In order to provide the best experience for the user (and the highest likelihood of a purchase), the subsequent landing page needs to be device-responsive also. There's nothing more annoying than landing on a page that you can't view easily or has irrelevant information.
  • Think beyond Flash
  • There is some good work being done in the development of responsive advertising. For example, instead of large images or Flash animations that work well on a large screen but are impossibly small on a smart phone, developers are starting to find workable - and surprisingly effective - alternatives that use HTML or CSS. And, of course, the infamous Apple prohibition on Flash on its devices is a further incentive to develop such alternatives. Whether you are a coder or on the creative side of ad development, you owe it to yourself to keep up with these ideas, so you can take full advantage of them in your work.

In summary, Web advertising that is effective across a full range of platforms is a becoming increasingly necessary. To stay ahead of the game, be sure to utilize responsive advertising that takes advantage of the various characteristics of different platforms.

Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!

P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program. Learn more about how we can help improve your brand management and support your marketing needs at- www.ruffhaus.com