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Minimal Engagement with Mobile Advertising Formats


According to the latest assessment by eMarketer, advertisers will spend $1.1 billion on various mobile platforms this year. The upside potential for growth is of great interest to the whole mobile marketing ecosystem.

Display ads, including those viewed in browsers, are expected to post solid new growth -- they're predicted to soon become the top mobile advertising format.

With smartphones able to perform a variety of tasks, from communicating to information-seeking to shopping and beyond, consumers are spending more time using these multifaceted communication devices.

And, forward-looking marketers now have a greater chance of reaching consumers via the mobile device channel -- particularly with the increased adoption of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad.

According to research from Yahoo! and Ipsos, smartphone users spend the bulk of their mobile time (38 percent) connecting with other people -- including by voice, SMS, IM, email or social media. They spend just under half as much of their mobile time with online search or entertainment, and just 7 percent of their time shopping.

But, of course, mobile shopping is the task marketers are most interested in measuring, especially in regards to their growing investment in advertising. Given the current level of engagement with these ads, one has to wonder if this is a wise use of marketing budgets.

U.S. smartphone users were most likely to recall and engage with ads that they saw while actually shopping on their phone. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents had seen an ad while shopping and more than half that number had clicked on one.

Moreover, most of those ads are likely to have been seen in a mobile phone browser, since smartphone users typically preferred to shop using a browser vs. an application.

In fact, for three of the top four ad recall activities, smartphone users were likely to be using a browser. Connecting, by contrast, was most likely to be done outside a browser -- and least likely to involve an ad that smartphone users had remembered.

That's understandable, since ads are likely to seem disruptive when mobile phone users are conversing with friends and family via voice calls or by texting. For the time being, it appears that U.S. marketers will continue to spend on mobile advertising -- regardless of the financial justification challenges.

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