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Consumers accepting of mobile advertising: InsightExpress

Smartphones are an excellent platform for advertising and represent a golden opportunity for marketers to reach consumers wherever they are, according to InsightExpress.

This was the key finding of InsightExpress' latest research, which explores mobile Internet engagement levels among smartphone owners in comparison to owners of other devices. The study also examined which factors drive mobile Internet users to return to specific sites.

?The nose-to-screen interaction with smartphones makes you block everything else around you out (at least it does for me, much to the annoyance of my husband), similar to what we see when people are focused on a task on the computer,? said Joy Cicman Liuzzo, director of marketing and mobile research at InsightExpress, Stamford, CT.

?We?re looking at the perfect storm of advertising,? she said.

InsightExpress?s latest numbers show that overall the adoption rate of smartphones is at 18 percent in the U.S.

Smartphones are way past just being for the early adopters and offer opportunities for consumer campaigns that go beyond a simple banner.

As smartphones reach mass adoption, marketers and advertisers will use the technology differently?integrated cross-media campaigns that leverage the strengths of each medium, according to InsightExpress.

What factors should be considered in order to encourage increased engagement and repeat site visits for mobile Internet users?

Design is certainly important, but if visitors are not engaged, then even the most sophisticated mobile site will not succeed.

However, the impact of the device itself, and the level at which it allows users to engage with the content, should not be ignored.

The InsightExpress study isolated engagement levels that users displayed while browsing the Internet.

Specifically, the analysts examined positive engagement?enjoyment in a particular activity?while on three different devices, a feature phone, a smartphone and a computer.

The researchers found that 68 percent of smartphone users reported feeling positively engaged while using the mobile Internet, second only to the 70 percent of users who were positively engaged while on a computer.

Alternately, only 47 percent of feature-phone users reported positive mobile site engagement.

These results indicate that smartphone users are as engaged with mobile Internet content as those who are browsing the Internet on their computer.

When mobile Internet users were asked to identify the top three elements that most influence their decision to return to a mobile Internet site, they reported: No. 1, the speed at which the site loads; No. 2, the ease of navigation on the site; and No. 3, the quality of the content on the site itself.

Among mobile Internet users, several small but telling differences were revealed when comparing smartphone owners to feature-phone owners.

While both groups prioritized the speed at which a mobile site loads, smartphone users looked next at the quality of the content, ranking ease of navigation as less important.

In contrast, feature phone users found ease of navigation almost as essential as their No. 1 concern, how fast the mobile site loads.

These differences can be explained by the limited navigation capabilities available with feature phones, making simple interfaces an absolute necessity.

Smartphones, with their advanced browsers and inputs, allow for more complex page navigation.

Mobile Web site features that had the least impact on a user?s decision to make a return visit were the absence of advertising, the ability to personalize and the number of links, videos or images on the site.

Publishers will likely welcome the news that the presence of advertising on a site does not lessen its appeal.

The lesson here for advertisers is that mobile advertising presents a unique opportunity to take advantage of high engagement levels and less clutter on the pages, according to InsightExpress.

Plus, advertisers enjoy a large share of voice per page, since there is often only one advertisement on the page and it takes up more screen space.

?So, we take this engaging device, the smartphone, and now we factor in the unique elements of the experience,? Ms. Liuzzo said. ?Most mobile Internet pages are not very cluttered, have only one ad per page and proportionally, the ad takes up more of the page than online ads.

?All of a sudden, advertisers, agencies and marketers have access to an engaged audience that will be seeing a campaign in a near-perfect environment,? she said. ?Quite honestly, you can?t ask for much more than that.?