Over half of mobile device users initiate ads by mistake, reveals study

A new study conducted by in-content digital advertising company Vibrant Media analyses consumer attitudes to digital communication methods and has found that advertising is ranked as the communications method which consumers feel least in control of on their handheld devices (view press release). Nearly half of consumers (48 per cent) said they feel least in control of ads on smartphones and tablets – ahead of, in order: social media, browsing the internet, instant messaging, email, text messaging, and making and taking phone calls. The study also shows that one in three people feel out of control of ads on their handheld devices (36 per cent), and just a quarter feel in control of them (25 per cent).

Vibrant Media surveyed 1000 people across the UK. The survey was conducted by Toluna, one of the world’s leading online panel and survey-technology providers. The research highlights the disparity between widely implemented digital marketing methods and consumer preferences, hindering the performance of advertising on handheld devices:

• Over half of smartphone and tablet users (51 per cent) say they mostly initiate ads on their mobile devices by mistake
• Eight out of ten people (79 per cent) are annoyed by ads which self-initiate on their handheld device – 45 per cent of respondents feeling ‘very annoyed’
• Two thirds of smartphone and tablet users prefer advertising they initiate on their own.

According to Tom Pepper, UK Sales Director at Vibrant Media:, “Consumers want to feel empowered by their digital content experience, not annoyed. Many mobile ad formats are interruptive or triggered in error, which over half of our respondents said was most often the case. To build meaningful relationships with consumers, brands need to deliver a positive user experience, which means using ad formats which respect the consumer and their device. The simplest way to do this is by using ad formats which are user initiated – enabling consumers to control the when and where of their ad experience. When consumers are out and about using their mobile phone or tablet they don’t want to be interrupted by irrelevant or disruptive forces beyond their control, and marketers who use such methods can actually harm users’ opinions of the brand being advertised. Marketers have to change their approach and recognise the need to deploy more relevant ads which sit nimbly and natively in the content displayed on handheld screens and only launch when the user chooses to engage with an ad. They need to move towards giving consumers the controls they so clearly desire.”

The research also shows that out of all their digital devices, whether desktops, laptops, tablets or mobiles, 77 per cent of consumers feel least in control on their mobile phones – with just 12 per cent saying tablets and 11 per cent saying desktops or laptops.

Vibrant launched its new suite of cross-platform ad formats in April 2013. According to the company, the new formats deliver new controls to consumers, optimum viewability and brand consistency to advertisers, and greater revenue to publishers.

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