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'Fat thumbs' generate up to 60% of mobile ad clicks

Mobile ad spend is set to overtake press and become the third-largest advertising medium this year, but research published this week claims that over 60 per cent of clicks on mobile display ads are accidental, with ”fat thumbs” identified as the prime culprit.   

The predicted increase in mobile ad spend comes from Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Optimedia, which claims that over 12 per cent of ad spend will be invested on mobile screens, although research published recently by location-based advertising outfit Retale suggests a great deal of that amount will be wasted, with 60 per cent of respondents claiming they regularly click on ads unintentionally.   

The study, polling 500 adult mobile users across the U.S. between January 18-25, 2016, focused on several aspects of mobile banner ad engagement, with 69 per cent of those surveyed identifying at least one occasion where they had clicked on a mobile banner ad (within mobile web or app).

Meanwhile, 60 per cent said that they typically click on banner ads while on a smartphone or tablet, “it’s usually by accident” due to the device’s small screen size, with a mere 16 per cent claiming they click on mobile banner ads because they “like the company, product or service being promoted”. It also found that even less of those surveyed (13 per cent) said they do so because “the ads are interesting.”

Pat Dermody, President of Retale, said: “Mobile display spend will hit $18bn this year. Given the investment and with the majority of mobile banner clicks done accidentally, brands, marketers and agencies should reconsider their mobile strategies. Keep in mind, mobile display campaigns may suffer, not just from accidental clicks, but from viewability and fraud. To counteract these challenges and reach mobile users, other approaches need to be part of the mobile marketing mix.”

Featured by The Drum