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71pc unlikely to click through mobile ads even if relevant: PwC

While consumers are highly engaged on mobile, marketers need to work extra hard to make a mobile ad feel beneficial as opposed to intrusive, per a new report from PwC.

In the ?Mobile advertising: What do U.S. consumers want?? report, PwC claims that marketers need to develop a mobile-first strategy that emphasizes context and relevance in a creative way to provide value to consumers and drive click-throughs. Even though consumers are performing more and more actions on mobile, they still tend to view mobile ads as annoying, so marketers need to target consumers with relevant and valuable content that incentivizes a click.

?We?re all users of our mobile phone and I don?t know how many times you?ll see a pop up ad and my guess is you click the x quite a bit, and we think consumers click that x because it?s got one of three things missing,? said John Swadener, strategy consulting director at PwC, New York.

?One is you?re not in a location to take advantage of that ad so it doesn?t resonate,? he said. ?You don?t have a contextual setting, so the lack of contextual setting leads you to click on the x.

?Or from a relevancy perspective, if at that point of time it?s not relevant to you, you just click on the app. It?s a combination of location, context and relevancy that will help mobile advertising take off.?

PwC surveyed 1,003 consumers between the ages of 21 and 49 from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15, 2013.

Get creative
U.S. consumers are highly engaged on mobile, with 97 percent checking news, weather or sports on their phone at least once a week, 87 percent using geolocation search and social media at least once a week, and 79 percent accessing a video Web site at least once a week, according to the report.

A majority of consumers also played a game, used GPS and made a bank transaction or paid a bill at least once a week.

Out of all 18 activities listed in the survey, 67 percent of respondents engage in seven of them at least once per week.

The respondents were asked to take note of three mobile ads they received, and 30 out of 54 ads were clicked on. Most of the respondents felt that the ads were annoying or intrusive.

Additionally, ads were more likely to be ignored when consumers were engaged in something such as researching online, playing a game or finding directions. Banner ads were also often ignored because they were considered to be in the background or wallpaper.

The report found that 73 percent of respondents were somewhat/extremely unwilling to share personal info for fewer ads on mobile devices, but some said they might be willing to give personal information if it meant they would see more personalized and beneficial ads.

Similarly, 70 percent of survey respondents were somewhat/extremely unwilling to share personal information in order to get free apps. Interestingly though, 44 percent of 18-24 year-olds were somewhat, very or extremely willing to share their personal information for free apps.

While relevance is definitely important for mobile ads, this alone did not translate to ad interest or engagement, with 71 percent of respondents saying that they were not likely to click through to watch an ad even if the ad was more relevant to them.

According to the report, respondents only clicked on mobile ads intentionally 6 percent of the time, with 50 percent of total clicks being accidental.

The most preferred ad formats are mobile coupons ? at 27 percent ? and banner ads ? at 25 percent. Other items that would provide value for consumers in a mobile ad include getting extra monthly data, getting enhanced features on their mobile device and knowing that an advertiser is doing something ?socially responsible?.

Additionally, the 18-24 group proved to be most receptive to location-based coupons and ads.

The most important elements in mobile ads were duration/size of ads at 57 percent, relevant ad content at 56 percent and location specific ads for services/goods at 51 percent. To make ads more relevant, 54 percent of respondents suggested targeting by interests and 44 percent by current location.

The top five concerns with mobile advertising were crossing the line to personal space, the inability to turn them off, too intrusive, the abundance and the irrelevance.

When it comes to app behavior, 91 percent of apps downloaded over the past 60 days were free. Thirty-four percent of respondents expect a paid app to be ad-free.

?The best example of combining all three [location, relevance and context], is the fast food chain was trying to get you to buy new stuff, it was a new product launch, they wanted you to come into the restaurant but they also knew that you might not be ready for that at noon, so they combined an offer to give something away at the time of day they thought it would mean something to you and they let you click on a box to remind you to come back and visit the store,? Mr. Swadener said.

?It gave the user the ability to say yeah its location right, its contextually aware and it?ll be relevant for me later,? he said. ?That?s probably the best example I?ve seen of combining all three.

?Use the information but in a way that delivers on context and relevancy and chances are people won?t view you as overstepping the line, if you don?t, you?re going to get the red x a lot.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York