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Study highlights negative impact of mobile advertising on consumers

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A study into mobile advertising has revealed a stark contrast of opinion between mobile operators and their customers.

Mobile advertising firm Unlockd, which recently announced Tesco Mobile as a partner for an innovative ad-based SIM tariff, released findings which suggest mobile operators and advertisers have little understanding of the customer advertising experience. While 82% of operators believe they are delivering a positive customer experience and perception of advertising, just 47% of 1,000 consumers interviewed see mobile advertising in a positive light.

Advertising on mobile platforms has been a tough nut to crack for operators and their associated advertisers. Earlier this year, Three UK confirmed it has rolled out a network-based ad blocker, which while positive for some consumers can also be seen as a negative precedent being set by those whose revenues and livelihoods are directly linked to the success of advertising.

While modern consumers are less willing to accept needless advertising impacting their browsing or social media experiences, roughly half of millennials surveyed said they would gladly accept advertisements on their phone in exchange for incentives or rewards. Furthermore, nearly two thirds of 16-29 year olds said they would be happy if, in exchange for advertisements, they could benefit from lower monthly tariff prices or loyalty points which could contribute towards a handset upgrade.

“The disconnect between consumer experience and the mobile advertising industry highlights both the opportunity for mobile operators and advertisers to start to live up to the expectations of today’s mobile savvy consumers”, said CEO of Unlockd Matt Berriman. “Operators, publishers and advertisers need to work together to ensure consumers are offered value in exchange for receiving ads. Whether that’s valuable content relevant to the individual, or value in terms of discounts, deals or offers.

According to the research from Unlockd, 40% of mobile operators see advertising as a principal revenue generating channel for them in the next five years; however with the broadly negative user experience surrounding mobile advertising, and an increasing use of ad-blocking software, operators may need to radically reconsider the concept of traditional web-based advertising in the mobile era.


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