Think Outside the Box: 3-D Mobile Ads Can Boost Engagement

The ever-changing mobile landscape gives brands lots of room to be creative in how they market to consumers in the space. Now, rather than seeking engagement through banner ads or videos on mobile, advertising technology company Amobee has leveraged 3-D technology to help brands target and engage with their audience.

By placing 3-D ads, brands can deliver a realistic virtual showroom experience on mobile, which is more compelling and immersive than traditional 2-D ads.

How does it work? For example, when automaker Ford tried to promote its new model Ford F-150 earlier this year, it worked with Amobee to customize a 3-D ad where consumers could navigate on their mobile devices to get a 360-degree view of the truck. This campaign increased Ford’s brand favorability by 19.9 percent, and purchase rate by 40.4 percent, says Amobee.

According to Brian McClary, digital marketing manager at Ford, the F-150 campaign was the first time the car brand leveraged 3-D technology. Although he declined to disclose financial details of the campaign, McClary says, “We saw a higher engagement rate, because people haven’t seen this type of creative before. 3-D ads [give consumers] the ability to interact with the product more, which we cannot do on another standard traditional mobile ads.”

3-D ads can be served in different ways, for instance in the form of full-screen sponsored content, a banner ad that requires click-through, or a contextual ad that pops up when a consumer scrolls down a piece of content.

Besides the added dynamic experience aside, 3-D mobile ads have another benefit: Amobee is able to track engagement of a 3-D ad in real-time.

According to Mark Strecker, chief executive (CEO) of Amobee, the company has an in-house data management platform (DMP) made up of close to 1 million profiles that list consumer information, including gender, age, location, and specific interests. Based on the data, Amobee knows on what devices to serve which type of 3-D ads.

Then, when consumers are in the advertising environment, the company is able to track the interactivity. For instance, if a watch manufacturer places a 3-D ad for its new watch, Amobee can know how much time a consumer is spending on the face (or other aspects) of the watch, and then will tie the consumer’s responses back to its profile in the DMP. This way, while the consumer stays anonymous, the company can still tell whether the ad truly engages the consumer, and thus help brands and advertisers refine their target audience.

Amobee 3D Watch Demo from Amobee on Vimeo.

The concept of 3-D mobile ads is certainly innovative, but creating a quality 3-D ad is no easy task. Amobee launched its first 3-D mobile ad two-and-a-half years ago. At the time, it had to serve the ads through mobile apps, but now the company has refined the technology. It uses WebGL to render interactive 3-D demographics to make its ads compatible with all Web browsers, without installing additional software. And with this technology, Amobee is able to run 3-D ads across devices, not just on mobile.

Although the 3-D format may give brands the sort of engagement that 2-D ads cannot match, 3-D mobile ads are not a one-size-fits-all solution. “3-D ads are very suitable for retail brands where advertisers want consumers to engage with a physical product, like cars, watches and cameras,” explains Strecker. But, for example, if a bank wants to advertise its banking service, it may still prefer traditional 2-D ads, he says.

Additionally, not every brand has the marketing budget to run 3-D mobile ads. Given the cost of creating and serving this type of ad, Amobee requires a minimum spend of $250,000 for a 3-D campaign that can usually run for a month. And for a larger campaign, say $1 million, 3-D ads will be bundled in an integrated advertising package that entails email, social, and other marketing approaches. Because of these price constraints, Amobee usually works with big brands like Ford, Infiniti, McDonald’s, and GM.

On top of that, markets vary. Although approximately 70 percent of Amobee’s clients in the U.S. are using 3-D ads, that’s not the case in Asia, where the company has a big presence, says Strecker. “Currently the penetration of smartphones in the U.S. is much higher than in Asia,” he continues. “But in the following three or five years, the number [of smartphones] in the Asia market will definitely grow.”

What do you think of 3-D ads on mobile? Would you be more likely to engage with a 3-D rendering than a traditional ad? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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