Mobile Internet surfers are less likely to click through on banner ads than those browsing from a computer.
According to Chitika, an online advertising network, which analyzed more than 92 million impressions, mobile Internet users had a click-through rate of 0.48%, while non-mobile users had a 0.84% click-through rate.
Chitika's analysis only registered mobile Internet use through a browser (such as iPhone's Safari), to better compare with the way computer users are viewing the same online advertisements (as opposed to comparing standard online ads with those that are more mobile-oriented), Daniel Ruby, Chitika's research director of online insights, tells Marketing Daily. It does, however, provide an apples-to-apples comparison. "If you make as many things as equal as you can, mobile users are well-behind [computer users] in terms of ad impressions," he says.
The click-through disparity may come as a result of the way people are using mobile devices for the Internet, Ruby says. "When I use a mobile device, I generally want to know something now," he says. "I don't want to be sidetracked. And [mobile] load time is a lot slower. I have to take that into account."
Of the 92 million impressions Chitika analyzed, about 1.5% -- or 1.3 million impressions -- came from mobile browsers. Despite the fact that most of the mobile hits came from iPhone users (66%), the group also had the lowest click-through rate (0.30%) of all the five major smartphone operating systems (including Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows CE, Palm OS and Research in Motion's BlackBerry).
"Most people who are using their phone for rich Internet browsing are using the iPhone," Ruby says, adding that the low click-through rate could be because "on the iPhone's Safari, you've got the truest browsing experience. There's less likely to be a mistake click-through, compared with other phones."
The key for marketers looking to exploit the mobile Internet space, Ruby says, will be timing. "Going forward, you have to have that down, so that you're hitting consumers at the right time, not happening to catch them at any time," he says. "[Marketers] have got to find ways that are less intrusive and received at the right time."