Does Your Mobile Advertising “Fascinate”?

by GameHouse

Sally Hogshead is an influential marketing expert and author who wrote a book called “Fascinate,” which proposes that every successful marketing effort can tap into 7 triggers of fascination. If you haven’t checked our her book, you should definitely visit her website to find out more.

Mobile advertising is a unique medium of design, having to occupy a small space and compete with various distractions (both on screen and in the real world surrounding the person using the mobile device). But if you adopt these ideas for fascination triggers, you will be able to create more compelling and fascinating mobile ads that will command the attention of your audience.

Here are Sally Hogshead’s 7 triggers of fascination, as they relate to mobile advertising:

1. Lust: the anticipation of pleasure, which we crave

Your mobile advertising, even in a small amount of screen space, need to create the intimation of pleasurable benefits for those who click & engage. This is not just “lust” in the sense of “sex sells” – you should absolutely keep it tasteful. But think about what kind of primal needs your app is helping to fulfill. What kind of human connection should people want to make with your game? How can you help people feel more energized and fulfilled? How does your game make people feel about themselves?

App Promotion

2. Mystique: an unanswered question that intrigues us and makes us want to solve the puzzle

The small dimensions of mobile ads are ideal for creating “teasers” that leave just enough unsaid. The goal of most mobile advertising is to get people to take the next step – click for more information – so creating a sense of mystique is ideal for this form of advertising. You should try to get your audience to ask themselves, “I wonder what will happen if I click this ad…”

3. Alarm: the threat of negative consequences, which demands immediate response

Time-sensitive offers are a great way of creating urgency. “Click here for FREE COINS by November 15…” or “This is your LAST CHANCE to get a free download…” are examples of time sensitive offers. You could also use visual elements to create elements of urgency, like a ticking stopwatch or flashing lights – but be careful not to be overdramatic.

4. Prestige: symbols of rank and respect, which earn us status and admiration

Game dynamics are an ideal fit for mobile advertising. Apps, especially games, award points, badges or virtual goods as part of their experience – so perhaps your mobile advertising could offer to give away these symbols of prestige in exchange for clicking the ad. “Click here for 500 free points to get started on our game,” is one example. Or, “Join our community – first 500 members get VIP status.” Think of something special that you can offer to early adopters or influential users. Make a game of it!

5. Power: command over people and things, which draws our focus

What does your app do to make people feel more powerful? If you have a fitness app, show people how powerful they can feel by improving their health and wellness. If your app is a fantasy game, show people the sense of power they can feel by achieving success in the game. Make the user feel like “you’re the boss.”

6. Vice: rebellion against rules, which tempts us toward “forbidden fruit”

The Las Vegas Tourism Board had one of the most memorable slogans of all time: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This perfectly captures the sense of risqué adventure that people want to experience in Vegas. How can you adapt a similar attitude that is appropriate for your app? What secret, fun adventures can your app help people enjoy? How can your app help people “beat the system,” find a better way, or live life on their own terms?

7. Trust: certainty and reliability, to which we give our loyalty

With so many apps on the marketplace, how can people know who to trust and ultimately, what to downloads? Your mobile advertising can help build trust for your app by showing real stories of people who have benefited from using your app, for example: actual reviews, photos and images of game play, etc. For example, your mobile advertising could say, “Ask me about this app” and have a link to a live chat room where your staff can answer questions. Or your mobile advertising could point out your app’s perfect 5-star reviews, with quotes from awestruck reviewers.

Mobile advertising design is still catching up to the new possibilities of the technology, but I think it is safe to say that the next few years will see a wellspring of new design innovation within the mobile medium. Just because an ad appears on a smaller screen doesn’t mean it can’t fascinate – in fact, there are unique opportunities of mobile devices (intimacy, location-based messages, etc.) that make it even more possible to fascinate people and command their attention.

What’s your take on this? What are the most fascinating mobile ads that you’ve ever seen? How can you use these design principles to create more fascinating mobile advertising campaigns? 

By Ryan Morel

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