The floating ad that sticks with you wherever you go on a Web page is coming to the mobile Internet. That's likely to be welcome news to publishers and advertisers, but not so much to users who are already annoyed by banners crowding the small mobile screen.
Mobile ad company Crisp Wireless has introduced a fixed placement unit for smartphones that stays onscreen as a user scrolls up or down on a mobile Web page. The new "Adhesion" ads support rich media formats like expandable, tap-to-call and tap-to-video as well as the ability to share, close or save, or ad content via email or social networks.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media is among the first publishers to sign on to offer the persistent ad unit to advertisers across mobile properties including Cosmopolitan, CosmoGirl, Marie Claire and Esquire. "This new service will allow us to integrate digital advertising with mobile opportunities and create new ways for our users to interact with the trusted brands that advertise with Hearst," said Kristine Welker, who heads sales and marketing at the Hearst unit.
But what if users aren't so enamored of the in-you-face factor of the new ads? A Crisp Wireless spokesman emphasized that people can close the Adhesion ads -- unlike most banners -- and that the ads can be set to only reappear once someone stops scrolling down a page. That feature also helps prevent accidental click-throughs, he said.
Nearly four in 10 consumers don't want to receive mobile ads for any reason -- and less than 20% recall seeing a mobile ad, according to data released by technology research firm Parks Associates last November. The fixed ads are designed to ensure that people don't ignore or forget mobile ads so easily. The trick is to achieve this without alienating users.
Ali Rana, vice president of emerging media for Web analytics firm Dynamic Logic, noted that mobile advertising has proven more effective to date than online display advertising, in part because of the medium's novelty. "We've seen a trend of new formats -- as in the early days of rich media and video ads -- performing well at first, but their effectiveness then dissipating when the novelty wears off," he said.