Nobody Puts Banners in a Corner

Ad Creative

Sam Knowles by Sam Knowles | July 10, 2020

Every digital marketer worth their salt knows that putting the right creative in front of your audience is a fundamental step in getting the results you need from your app marketing campaigns. 

Why waste all of that time and effort collating data and refining your target audience, only to put a mismatched creative in front of them and lose the opportunity to engage? So, quite rightly, a lot of work is done by marketers and their design teams to build and test the best possible creatives for their campaigns.

We’re all used to seeing video ads filled with captivating gameplay and eye-catching visuals, perfectly crafted end-cards with a thoroughly A/B tested call to action or large native placements with high-resolution images of this week’s best selling products.

There is, however, an ad format that appears to be regularly placed on the sidelines. I’m talking about this old-timer, the 320×50 mobile leaderboard banner

Often described as cluttering screens or attracting accidental clicks, the 320×50 can often be left by the wayside when it comes to the creative production and optimization stage. Is it possible though, that with a little TLC, you could actually be getting a lot more from this format?

Data compiled by Liftoff between Q4 2018 – Q4 2019 found that banner placements delivered the highest Install-to-Action rate (24%) for mid-funnel in-app actions when compared to all other formats. Compared to the relative expense for video or interstitial placements, it makes sense to give your smaller format a bigger chance.

Given their size, the 320×50 is a highly versatile and non-intrusive format that can be altered and tested far more quickly than say your VAST creatives. In addition, the cost of these placements is low and the volume of impressions high, meaning you can run smaller test iterations more quickly when looking for that x% uplift. Learnings from these quick tests can then be applied to your other formats, improving overall campaign performance.

So how should you be using this simple format and how can you promote ongoing testing?

We’ve run countless tests across hundreds of campaigns to put together 3 key must-knows when building banners to win over users.

Keep it simple

As tempting as it is to try and make use of those colorful graphics you’re using elsewhere, try to avoid this. Full bleed creatives scaled down this small often look overcomplicated and messy, leading to lower click and install rates. Testing shows that these sorts of banners are almost always outperformed by much simpler options. Using only your app’s logo, title, and some copy, you can quickly create a simple creative with a much stronger call to action.

Include icons or character layers

That is not to say that your banner creatives need to be boring boxes filled with text. Try cleaner and more innovative ways to feature elements of your app user experience into the format. Animating elements such as game icons, characters, or popular products in a scrolling carousel have all shown significant uplift in banner performance.

Use compelling data

The above approach may not work for all app verticals, but that’s okay. If your app is more centered around delivering a service, your banners are a clear and simple way to shout about your successes at volume. Take for example Teltech’s spam call counter, which beat out other versions with a 101% CTI lift.

Scaling back on graphics also leaves you a lot more room to be testing out your copy – something you should always be doing. Using banners to regularly test short and medium-length copy options allows you to share wins across all creative assets much more regularly.

Try keeping it clean, simple and focus on testing out those small variations that can still make all the difference. Your 320×50 banners could become your secret weapon to creative testing!

If you haven’t already, download our 2020 Mobile Ad Creative Index for more insights on how to make your creatives work harder for you.