- A consumer's mental state is 39% more important than their physical surroundings in influencing engagement with a mobile ad, per a survey by mobile ad platform Aki Technologies. The study of U.S. adults found that location was the least relevant factor in determining receptivity to mobile ads.
- Physical surroundings also affected ad receptivity by industry group. A mobile user's location was most influential on affecting engagement with healthcare ads. The finding suggests that over-the-counter brands can be most effective with in-store and point-of-purchase advertising, such as at drugstores. Environment was least relevant for alcohol ads, with participants showing greater receptivity in the moments leading up to getting a drink than their time in a bar.
- Most respondents said paid and free apps were equal in terms of quality, impact and relevance on ad receptivity. Aki said the finding challenges the idea common among brands that paid apps are more valuable than free apps for ad placements. Aki surveyed 1,500 people ages 18 or older with multiple choice questions and statistical survey methods.
Aki's research suggests that mobile marketers should consider the mental state of target audiences over their physical locations in their ad campaigns. While investment in mobile advertising continues to grow, the research also underscores the challenges marketers face in understanding how and when to reach mobile users, as smartphones and tablets have opened up the possibility of reaching consumers at all times as they consume media throughout the day. U.S. adults spent an average of three and a half hours a day on mobile devices last year, and that time is expected to surpass TV viewing sometime this year, according to eMarketer.
Aki's study shows the pitfalls of trying to engage with consumers when they're unreceptive to mobile ads. Almost three-fourths (72%) of consumers said they're most likely to notice ads that match their general interests, a higher rate than for ads that match their mood (33%), current activity (32%), app content (29%) and physical location (19%). The findings as they relate to location are interesting, as the ability to target ads to mobile users based on their location is often praised as one of the channel's unique benefits.
Marketers want to reach consumers when they're feeling energized, but determining a consumer's mood is particularly challenging. Traditionally, marketers have relied on phase-of-day targeting that makes assumptions about how people feel. For example, a restaurant chain might send coupons to mobile users around lunch on the assumption that they deciding what to eat at that time. The need for more accurate measurement of people's moods is underpinning the development of tools to track emotions, per Aki's report. The technology is controversial, though, as Facebook learned amid congressional scrutiny of its patents for emotion detection and eye-tracking technologies.
The survey results line up with Aki's past findings about ad recall. The company found that ad recall was highest during activities such as watching TV, eating a meal or getting ready for bed. Ad recall was highest during these activities among all generations, especially while watching TV. That finding suggests that "second screening," or watching TV while using a mobile device, doesn't affect receptivity to mobile ads. Aki also found that video ads on mobile devices get the most attention at bedtime compared with banners, with viewers being 64% more likely to watch at that time.