Half of mobile users initiate ads by mistake, says Vibrant Media study

More than half of smartphone and tablet users initiate ads on their devices by mistake, according to a study from in-content digital ad firm Vibrant Media.

The study, which polled 1,000 people in the UK, revealed one in three respondents feel “out of control” of the ad experience on mobile devices.

Nearly half of respondents said they feel “least in control” of ads on smartphones and tablets, compared to other forms of communications including social media, internet browsing, email, instant messaging and text messaging. A quarter said they do feel in control of their mobile ad experience.

Meanwhile eight in ten people (79 per cent) are “annoyed” by ads which self-initiate on their handheld device, with 45 per cent of respondents feeling “very annoyed”.

Two thirds of mobile users prefer ads they have initiated themselves, according to the study.

Tom Pepper, UK sales director at Vibrant Media, said consumers should be feeling “empowered” by their digital content experience, not annoyed.

“To build meaningful relationships with consumers brands need to deliver a positive user experience, which means using ad formats which respect the consumer and their device.

“The simplest way to do this is by using ad formats which are user initiated - enabling consumers to control the when and where of their ad experience.”

Advertisers that adopt disruptive methods of sending ads which are irrelevant to users can damaging people’s opinions of those brands, according to Pepper.

“Marketers must change their approach and recognise the need to deploy more relevant ads which sit nimbly and natively in the content displayed on handheld screens and only launch when the user chooses to engage with an ad. They need to move towards giving consumers the controls they so clearly desire,” he added.

The study also revealed 77 per cent of people feel “lest in control” on their mobile phones, while only 12 per cent said the same for tablets and 11 per cent for desktops or laptops.

The results show too many publishers are still focused on serving desktop consumers and therefore failing to tailor their mobile content experiences, according to Pepper.

“Vibrant Media discovered that 68 per cent of major publishers lack a site that renders properly on mobile devices.

"These non-optimised sites often deploy ad formats intended for desktop browsing, which on smaller-screen devices either display so largely they disrupt users’ content consumption, or so small they’re ineffective, which makes them a wasted asset for both publishers and brands.

“Publishers and advertisers need to adopt nimbler formats that work with the small format display, that respect the consumer, respond to the consumer’s device and enhance rather than compromise the consumer’s experience,” he said.

The survey was conducted by online panel and survey-technology provider Toluna, on behalf of Vibrant Media.

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