IAB: 90% of smartphone users recall mobile ads

Dive Brief:

  • Smartphones are not only popular worldwide, but they also are an effective marketing medium, according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. About two-thirds of smartphone owners use their device every 30 minutes or less, while 22% tap into their phones every five minutes, the IAB survey found.
  • Ninety percent of smartphone users recall seeing mobile ads within the first few days the ad was originally shown, while 86% recall ads from mobile apps, the survey found. About half of respondents said they took action after seeing mobile advertising.
  • About nine out of 10 smartphone users surf the internet with their mobile devices, while 84% use primarily apps, the IAB found. The trade group surveyed smartphone users from 18 countries throughout North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Dive Insight:

IAB’s study of smartphone usage confirms the power of mobile media to reach audiences that are more likely to rely on their wireless devices for news, information and entertainment than other electronic media. The most common responses to seeing ads on the mobile web or in mobile apps were remembering the brand, interacting with the ad and visiting the brand’s website. This demonstrates a shift since ad firm Azullo surveyed U.K. smartphone users in 2012 and found that only 21% of respondents could recall an ad they had seen in the past six months, according to CNET. Of that number, just 14% said the ad urged them to want to buy the product displayed. Marketers should proceed with caution when considering surveys, as they are not fail-proof or generally able to survey a massive sample to better represent the broader population.

Perhaps ad recall has improved because marketers are delivering better ad experiences on mobile. Smartphone users also reported seeing improvements in load speed for ads and the creative quality on both mobile web and mobile apps in the past year. Consumers in Brazil, Russia and South America saw the most progress in their mobile ad experiences. While survey respondents expressed concerns about the increased quantity and intrusiveness of ads, regions like Brazil and France saw improvements in the relevance of mobile advertising.

The IAB's findings are encouraging as ad blocking has been growing on mobile in response to what many users perceive as poorly executed, intrusive and annoying experiences, putting pressure on marketers to improve quality. The findings suggest at least some have responded. 

Despite differences in regions and cultures, smartphone owners around the globe show many similarities in the way that they use their devices, the survey showed. The mobile web is more commonly used for functional services like search, purchasing products and booking services. It’s also preferred for accessing information for school or work, travel and current events, the IAB found. Meanwhile, mobile apps are the favored choice for on-the-go entertainment content like videos, movies, music and gaming. Apps also are most popular for communications activities including email, messaging, social networking and making voice and video calls, regardless of location, according to the survey.

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Filed Under: Ad blocking Apps Mobile marketing trends