To marketers and developers delight, a new report confirms mobile advertising’s effectiveness to reach and engage users. The new study, from mobile audience media company JiWire, reveals mobile users want advertising to not only engage with but subsidize the cost of apps. The confluence of novelty, interactivity, hyper-relevancy and the allure of free entertainment has opened a significant opportunity for brands to effectively reach mobile users. And if brands want to maintain engagement with mobile users for the long run, ads must be highly targeted and relevant to pique user interest.
“People have a completely different perception of mobile content and advertising when they’re on-the-go compared to when they’re at home or in the office,” said David Staas, senior vice president of marketing at JiWire. “This is an opportunity brands and agencies are more rapidly embracing.” How are mobile ads different from desktops? Mobile today is what the web was ten years ago: new. Users are exploring and discovering what the platform has to offer, which includes clicking on ads.
When the web was in its infant stages, users were more inclined to click on flashy banner advertisements for free products. Since that time, online clickthroughs have declined significantly. In 2009, all clicks for online ads are derived from a mere 16 percent of internet users — down from 32 percent in 2007. This 50 percent drop could be explained by an increase in user savviness and loss in banner novelty.
Novelty in mobile is most prevalent in apps. Given Apple’s milestone of 1 billion app downloads in just nine months, mobile users are app-crazy. Of the roughly 1,000 smartphone users surveyed, 40 percent of users spend more than one hour per day using apps — the most popular of which is Facebook — and have an average of 22 apps on their devices. JiWire reports 52 percent claim they have acted on an advertisement in an app and 18 percent made a purchase directly from an app ad in the last month.
Mobile also presents a new way to engage users in meaningful, entertaining ways. Apple’s new iAd platform offers a glimpse into the future of mobile advertising. The iAd network encourages advertisers to go beyond traditional banner marketing and engage users with brand-related games, posters, downloads, etc as demonstrated by a Toy Story 3 banner ad mock up. In addition to mini-games and free downloads, Apple’s Toy Story 3 ad utilizes location-based technology to bring a personalized, relevant user experience (i.e. close movie theaters).
Mobile users seek hyper-relevancy in advertising, despite the hooplah surrounding Facebook privacy. Indeed, the astonishing growth of location-based services, such as FourSquare and Gowalla, demonstrate users are willing to sacrifice privacy for functionality. In fact, FourSquare cultivated 1 million users in just one year — growth that parallels Facebook’s early years. The majority of mobile users are willing to share their location to receive more relevant advertising and 84 percent of the On-The-Go Mobile Audience is just as likely, or more likely, to engage with an ad that is relevant to their location.
Check out the chart below via Mashable:
Mobile users also understand the necessity of advertising. Banner ads exist on hundreds of thousands, if not millions of websites. Banner and contextual advertising subsidizes the cost of maintaining the site so users do not have to pay. The same principle holds true in mobile apps. JiWire reports 76 percent of users prefer to download a free, advertising-supported app instead of paying an upfront fee for the same app.
Looking to the future of mobile advertising, if brands want to maintain engagement with mobile users for the long run, ads must be highly targeted and relevant to keep users interested. Much as Google AdWords made advertisements relevant (and consequently achieved high clickthrough rates), mobile needs to follow a similar path. Mobile ads need to be fun to explore, offer an engaging, entertaining experience, bring hyper-relevancy to products and services while subsidizing the cost of app development (equaling free entertainment). Given the chance to engage users in a meaningful and relevant way, brands have an incredible opportunity to get their message heard through the next advertising platform: mobile.
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