App Users to Marketers: Do Not Disturb

Disruptive ads—especially ones that take mobile users out of their applications when they accidentally click on them—shouldn’t just annoy the 47 percent of app users who report making the mistake. It should disturb the advertisers who pay for those wasted clicks, finds Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Pontiflex, a cost-per-lead marketplace.

On Jan. 27, Pontiflex announced findings from surveys conducted on its behalf in December 2010 by New York-based research firm Harris Interactive. The research firm surveyed adult mobile app users online and discovered most app users specifically dislike commercials and videos that disrupt their experiences. (About 15 percent of those surveyed do prefer that type of ad, according to the combined findings Pontiflex reports in “Consumer Perceptions: In-app Mobile Advertising.”)

“People are turned off by advertising that causes them to stop what they are doing and disrupts their experience,” says Deb Swider, director of eMarketing at the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), in the Pontiflex announcement. “The mobile advertising solutions that are going to work are those that are respectful of [the] user experience.”

From the marketer’s point of view, these findings mean that cost-per-click (CPC) campaigns are ineffective in mobile apps, says Zephrin Lasker, co-founder and CEO of Pontiflex. Commenting for this story, he explains: “Click-based ad models don’t work in a mobile world. A large portion of mobile app advertising is sold on cost-per-click pricing models. Given that nearly half of the mobile app users in the U.S. state that they click on apps accidentally, mobile advertisers must be cautious while purchasing CPC mobile advertising solutions.”

Other major survey findings include:

  • About 71 percent of those surveyed prefer ads that keep them within the app they are using;
  • About 63 percent say in-app coupons, deals or newsletters are best;
  • Free apps, which are ad-supported, are downloaded by 95 percent of users and are even more popular among those earning $75,000 a year or more (96 percent of whom report using free apps); and
  • The main app users, those aged 18 to 34, are more likely to mistakenly click on ads (61 percent report doing so).

In the announcement, Pontiflex recommends that marketers:

  • Realize that “traditional online ad units and measurement models—namely banners and clickthrough rates” don’t work in mobile apps (a finding highlighted in another Pontiflex white paper); and
  • Deploy in-app advertisements consistent with consumer preferences. In the announcement, Pontiflex says its technology works for the ASPCA because in-app signup ads allow consumers to opt-in during “non-disruptive points in app usage,” such as during the opening process, between game levels or during a ringtone download. This means the society only pays for “qualified signups.”

In a separate response, detailing tips for direct marketers, Lasker adds: “Provide compelling offers to consumers in mobile apps. Consumers want to sign up for deals, information and newsletters from brands that they like via mobile apps. To best utilize these insights, marketers should offer relevant and compelling messages to consumers via mobile apps.”

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Related Content