Snowmail

Channel 4

As we forge ever forward with ‘HTML5′, we uncover all manner of restrictions and complications from cross browser compatibility to device hardware acceleration problems. One way around this is to approach your campaign differently with device-specific creative.

For Snowmail, a tactical campaign designed to encourage sign-ups of the email service, we did just that. There were a number of HTML5 and traditional Flash placements on the media plan but rather than trying to create one ad that worked everywhere, we took a step back and decided to create a specific ad just for iPad. Having checked with app publisher The Week, we ascertained that we were able to restrict views of this ad to iPad in-app only. This reduced the room for problems quite significantly as we were only dealing with the WebUI view of The Week’s app SDK, ‘Pugpig’. Having taken a look over they key features of the Pugpig framework, we were confident that it could support the full range of ‘HTML5′ JavaScript and CSS techniques the iPad supported browsers, Safari and Chrome, offer. This made development a breeze as we knew the device version of Chrome / Safari operates in a very similar way to their desktop equivalents, but obviously nothing compares to actual device testing.

Another area to consider with ‘HTML5′ is whether it runs in-app or on mobile web. In-app requires an extra step to ensuring the best possible user experience. In the case of Snowmail, that came in the form of a promotional video, the core of the campaign. The challenge here lies in that the video has to be hosted online and downloaded when the device is connected to the internet. The alternative, often overlooked scenario however is when the device is offline. In this instance, while the app can still run our lovely creative would appear to be missing its key ingredient – the video. To counteract this problem we use ‘navigator.onLine’ with a switch condition. This allows us to determine and prepare the ad for both online and offline views. If the app happens to be in offline mode when the ad is viewed, the worst scenario is to present users with an option to download video from an online source – a redundant user journey! The Snowmail campaign got around this by displaying an alternative content view especially for this scenario – something that won’t necessarily be a problem on mobile web creative but in our opinion, an absolute must for in-app creative.

We’ll keep you posted as developments in advertising on mobile and tablet devices unfolds…

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