We Dislike Mobile Ads, But They Are 4 Times More Effective Than Online Ads

The latest study from Millward Brown, AdReaction 2012, finds that only 9% of American smartphone users have a favorable or very favorable disposition toward mobile ads. (More at Mediapost.) That’s about how much they like emails that they didn’t opt to receive (ie, spam), and less than half as much as they like online display ads. It’s a sad state of affairs when you can win a popularity contest against banner ads, eh?

Meanwhile mobile ads are working exceptionally well.

Prior research by Dynamic Logic’s AdIndex brand metrics system has shown that mobile ads are approximately four times more effective than online ads at increasing brand awareness, message association and purchase intent.

At first blush it sounds like two points of data that contradict one another. But that’s not really the case. It’s evidence of two factors that have played out across the history of advertising. One, when people actually look at ads, they tend to work. Mobile ads are more invasive and harder to ignore than online banners — there’s no AdBlocker Plus or Tivo for smartphones yet, and the narrowness of mobile screens means ads aren’t placed in that easy-to-ignore right rail — so they work better. Two, when asked directly consumers will always tell you they hate ads. Almost two-thirds of us dislike or strongly dislike ads, and yet we continue to pay a premium price to buy the stuff we see advertised. In other words, if we fail to shield our eyes from an ad — like it or not — it’s going to make an impression.

  1. # Rob Lennon said: November 28th, 2012 at 11:26 am

    The effectiveness of mobile ads is encouraging. To combat the hate, though we need to get out the “banner” mentality and think a little more like “apps”.

    Mobile advertising needs to be useful, providing experiences like mobile coupons or tap-to-call features paired with store locators.

    We have an opportunity to show real value to consumers with mobile, and when we do, people might actually like the ads a little bit more.

  2. # Chas said: November 28th, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Rob–Thanks for your comment. I agree completely. I didn’t mean to suggest that we should abuse (with crappy ads) the fact that a Tivo-like service hasn’t yet been built for mobile. Ad skipping, either by way of technology or by our brains getting better at ignoring the annoying ones, will come to mobile. So let’s get out of ahead of it and develop mobile advertising that’s native, relevant and useful.

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