Commentary

Ads Seem Just As Irritating On Mobile Devices

Whenever the public is asked, “Do you like to watch advertising?” I don’t think it is possible to get a majority of people to say “Yes” regardless of the pleasing adjective the poll puts before the word “advertising.”

So if you ask people if they like to see “relevant” advertising, or “interesting” or even “funny” advertising I would guess most of them would still say, no, not especially.  

These stats do change when respondents are given options: Would you rather be beaten with a rubber hose or see relevant advertising? Well, okay, let’s take a look at those ads.

I think the business misundersands. People recognize advertising is here to stay. It is is their obligation, really, to avoid as much of it as they can. It doesn’t mean people hate advertising, per se.

It means they understand that it often shows up when you are enjoying yourself or can’t fend for yourself. So avoiding advertising, when you can, is part of the equilibrium of life in these commercial United States.

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Online advertisements can be particularly annoying because they often seem as long as the content they arrive with, and that’s probably especially irritating on mobile devices because a) you’re paying data charges and b) you may actually be mobile and in no position to ponder the wonders of engagement.

Or the ads just don’t register.

The Q1 Nielsen 2016 Connected Device Report, highlights of which it released as a blog of sorts, cites a survey of consumers that says 35% of smartphone users and 31% of tablet owners don’t remember an ad they’ve seen on their device in the last 30 days. And of course not. It’s not the kind of event you want to remember for your journal, even it’s one damn fine ad.

In the same report, 65% say strongly or somewhat agree that mobile ads are annoying/intrusive.

Only 23% say, in some positive way, that they “don’t mind” the ads. Likewise, 23% find them “helpful/informative.”

That really seems quite positive. I don’t know if 23% of us would honestly say we “don’t mind” our closest associates, or find them to be the kind of folks who know something worth knowing, or are of any real use to them.

We co-exist, with the people around us, and with commercials. 

Make the best of it, people.

Look on the bright side. As Nielsen points out, “Five percent of tablet users find the ads more interesting than other types of ads, compared to just 3% of mobile consumers. The win for advertisers? Fifteen percent say that if there was an offer attached to the ad, they’d be much more likely to take action.”

In other words, bribery.

The good news in the Nielsen study is that virtually everybody has a smartphone or tablet or both. Mobile connected devices are in more than 90% of all U.S. households, and they are used equally by men and women. The bad news are all the stats above, if you happen to believe that a smartphone or tablet should have ads that are more agreeable. That’s not happening.

CBS research chief David Poltrack, among others, has noted that devices do have a plus for networks: Because people use mobile devices while they watch TV, it’s possible they’re at least hearing the TV commercials while otherwise engaged. Sometimes that TV message will get across.

That seems likely true, and a pretty pathetic selling point for TV.

The new connected report says while watching TV, 59% of tablet users say they are surfing the Web; 57% say they check email; 49% say they go to Facebook; and 48% play games. But 36% also use TV time to shop online and 20% look for deals. There are similar but lower numbers for smartphone users.

All those distractions from TV ads lead to the conclusion that people will flat out ignore TV ads. But they despise and instantly forget mobile ads.

So pick your poison.

pj@mediapost.com

1 comment about "Ads Seem Just As Irritating On Mobile Devices".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 13, 2016 at 3:57 p.m.

    I'd be much more impressed if Nielsen took a representative set of ads that appeared in each of the venues and measured their recall and motivating power, then showed us how they performed, on average. The study, as reported, is basically worthless.

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