Make mobile ads simple, fun and relevant, says IAB UK

Most consumers accept that advertising – while not always a welcome interruption – helps fund free content on the internet. But mobile ad blocking is gaining popularity, and advertisers need to understand why, and make their ads more acceptable to consumers.

That’s according to a new study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK), which found that giving consumers more control and using “common sense” are the main ways to improve mobile advertising and make it more consumer-friendly.

The study, conducted by research agency Differentology, investigated what consumers really think about mobile ads through a mixture of online surveys, consumer diaries and in-depth interviews.

It revealed that 10% of people currently block mobile ads. Of these, 63% are millennials — showing that young consumers are most likely to use ad blocking software.

“Almost four in five consumers accept that ads fund free internet content but they need to feel in control, particularly on mobile, and ad blocking is the way to gain control,” explained Mike Reynolds, mobile and video manager for IAB UK.

Thinking about how advertisers could make ads more acceptable, nearly six in ten consumers (58%) said that a clear ‘X’ button or a ‘skip ad’ function was important.

Over half (52%) cited making ads less obtrusive in terms of how much content they cover, and the same number said that ads would be more acceptable if they didn’t slow page loading.

According to IAB UK, the “golden rules” for marketers to maximise campaign success and minimise ad blocking are:

  • Do’s = Keep ads simple, fun and short. Make them less frequent. Be creative. Be relevant.
  • Don’ts = Hijack or take-over the user experience. Omit X/skip button. Go straight to app store/other sites. Overload by frequency. Overload amount of data/ad size.

“Getting mobile ads right is a delicate balance — even consumers have mixed feelings about what they like,” Reynolds added. “For instance, ads with higher impact can be more annoying, while relevant ads based on location or behaviour are welcomed but may raise privacy concerns.

“With higher impact comes higher risk but the golden rules involve common sense — don’t hijack the user experience (78% ‘can’t stand’ ads that take over the whole screen) and don’t omit, or make it difficult to find, the ad close/skip button, which inevitably annoys people.”

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