Consumers care more about control than relevance in mobile ads, study shows

Making mobile ads easy to close or skip past is rated by consumers as the number one way to make them more acceptable, according a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK.

The IAB created superhero characters which personify mobile ad types: The Soldier (standard banner), The Star (rich media banner), New Kid on the Block (pre-roll video), Team Jester (in-read), Loyal Help (MPU), Reckless Hero (interstitial)
The IAB created superhero characters which personify mobile ad types: The Soldier (standard banner), The Star (rich media banner), New Kid on the Block (pre-roll video), Team Jester (in-read), Loyal Help (MPU), Reckless Hero (interstitial)

58% of 1012 adults polled by Differentology for the IAB UK said that mobile ads were better or more acceptable when they were easy to skip or avoid – followed in a list of other criteria by ads that were unobtrusive (52%) and that didn’t slow the page from loading (52%).

But the results also suggest that the goals of programmatic advertising may be less significant than many in the industry think; just 35% of respondents said they would find mobile advertising more acceptable if the ads they saw were relevant to them.

Slightly more (40%) said mobile ads could be improved by being simple and clear about what is being advertised.

The study found that 10% of consumers currently block ads on their mobile devices – but these are far more likely to be millennials, who account for more than six in ten of those than do.

But the good new for advertisers is that almost four out of five respondents accepted that ads had a role to play in funding free internet content.

Mike Reynolds, IAB UK’s mobile and video manager, said: "Getting mobile ads right is a delicate balance – even consumers have mixed feelings about what they like. For instance, ads with higher impact can be more annoying, while relevant ads based on location or behaviour are welcomed but may raise privacy concerns.

"With higher impact comes higher risk but the golden rules involve common sense – don’t hijack the user experience (78% "can’t stand" ads that take over the whole screen) and don’t omit, or make it difficult to find, the ad close/skip button, which inevitably annoys people."

Video

To illustrate the ways to get the most of mobile advertising, IAB UK has personified the types of mobile ad an Avengers-esque troupe of superheroes, and created an animated short film to introduce them.

The idea was about "understanding what consumers really want from mobile advertising and, consequently, knowing which format, or hero, to call on," said Reynolds.

"Each format has a role to play and using a mix of high impact ads alongside standard ones, such as MPUs, will ensure you grab consumer attention without annoying them. This improves the ad experience, resulting in more effective campaigns and less reasons to block ads."