- Mobile ads take an average of five seconds to load, about double the time it takes for desktop ads, according to research by the Media Ratings Council (MRC) reported in the Wall Street Journal.
- While there are many factors at play, including bandwidth and network speeds, the fundamental problem is that mobile ads are too heavy, MRC CEO George Ivie told the Journal.
- The news came as the MRC released its standards for mobile ad viewability, which suggest mobile ads are viewable if 50% of the ad is in the viewer's screen for at least one second (or two seconds for a video ad). The slow render of mobile ads means they shouldn't be counted as viewable until they have completely loaded, according to Ivie.
It’s increasingly a mobile-first world but publishers and advertisers are struggling to catch up.
Nielsen research found that adults spent an average of one hour and 39 minutes on their smartphones daily in Q1, a 60% increase year-over-year. This means that a healthy mobile ads ecosystem is important for publishers’ revenue streams and marketers looking to reach an audience that is increasingly mobile.
MRC's finding of slow-loading mobile ads is an issue for a number of reasons: Users will simply skip past them and publishers could lose revenue as mobile usage grows.
“This is because of heavy ads," Ivie said. "Lighter ads and more efficient ads, with less back-end piggy backing and tagging, is the answer to this.”
The poor user experience of slow-loading ads may also lead to an increased adoption of mobile ad blocking software. Ad block tech is arguably the greatest challenge facing the advertising world right now, but while it's growing quickly, its adoption rate on desktop outpaces the rate on mobile. Still, if slow-loading mobile ads contribute to an overall unpleasant experience for users, then the industry should expect for mobile ad blocking to only grow.