Mobile Ad Market Struggles To Connect With Users

Marketers have high expectations for mobile advertising, but investments still trail the media's potential. Most marketers still don't see great performance and have difficulty justifying budgets. They don't understand the unique attributes and resist the tendency to create processes that require fewer tasks.

Forrester Research released a report Tuesday that analyzes responses from 31,719 U.S. adults who use a smartphone. The report delves into the opportunities as well as the challenges faced by the mobile advertising market, and provides insight into how marketers, agencies, publishers, and advertising technology vendors can help the industry grow.

When asked how often they access the Internet via a smartphone, 58% said several times daily, followed by 21%, at least daily; 12%, weekly; 3%, monthly; 3%, less than monthly; and 3%, never.

More than 2 billion smartphones worldwide serve 31.3% of the world's population. Even with this opportunity, marketers struggle to find connections through personalization and hyper-targeting.

Consumers produce mounds of data through interactions with the phone's camera, the GPS system and the searches.

Forrester suggests the industry often acts as if experts have all types of advertising figured out, including search. Not true. The biggest hurdles are a lack of sufficient standards complicated by privacy concerns and disjointed tracking methods. Ads need to adapt to evolving format standards for creative pieces, along with countless device types, screen variations, manufacturers and operating systems.

Some 57% of online U.S. adult smartphone owners who see ads in apps say the ads interrupt their user experience, and only 20% feel the ads are relevant to them, per the Forrester Research World Smartphone Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017, Global.

Mobile advertising requires new formats, per Forrester. Lead analyst Jennifer Wise explains in the report that the majority of mobile ads still resemble mini-desktop ads. Analysts believe focusing on the mobile user experience and integrating with individual publishers will reduce customer frustration. Targeting individuals, not segments, will improve the relevancy of ads. While automation will increase, close relationships with publishers will lead to success.

Agencies must enhance their strategic approaches to mobile. Publishers need to increase their mobile inventories and enhance access to their data, while advertising technology vendors should continue their work on mobile-optimized solutions.

"Smartphone user" photo from Shutterstock.

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