Appia - Mobile Advertising

Client:Appia Inc.

A current challenge in the mobile ad industry is delivering ads that are effective and also less intrusive. It’s a problem that I’ve been dedicated to solving since being hired at Appia. There are a lot of variables to sift through with context being the main player. Is this the right ad for this person? What about banner blindness? Is there a clear call to action? Will people mind this interruptive ad unit being displayed in their face? Trust me when I say that nobody has cracked the code just yet. But many are trying. Below is a bit of my work ranging from banner ad units to the most recent unit in the industry called the Native Ad unit.


I typically start the process for designing ad units the same way I would start any digital project.  In the beginning I’m trying to get a good understanding of the demographic which is narrowed down by the types of apps being advertised. Understanding context is important, device usage, screen real-estate, a users state of mind so you can gauge the friction level of interruption and many other things. Once that’s done, I will start off with some sketches or blueprint wireframes to feel out the initial layout and interactions of the ad units.

The thing with ad units, is that you never know what is going to work until you’ve deployed them across a large network. This allows you to collect data on things like click-through rates, install rates and impression counts. With this data in hand I work with one of the ad teams to deploy more variations of designs and layouts. We then rinse and repeat multivariate testing until we believe we have a viable candidate for generating a decent amount of installs.

Native Ads

Native Ads are new to the industry. These ad units basically look like site content and are typically fed inside of things like news feeds and Facebook feeds. However they can be added to virtually any area of a mobile site.  The goal is to ensure the ad maintains the same look and feel as the mobile site it sits on to encourage more user engagement. There’s an inherent challenge with this though and that is ensuring the ad doesn’t blend in so well it gets overlooked.