All the buzz these days is about mobile advertising and how lucrative it will be. For now though, advertising on social networks on mobile devices is almost nonexistent, so the buzz is almost completely speculation. New research from Prosper Mobile Insights makes the hype seem worthy.
Of mobile users 74% say they do look at mobile ads they encounter. 35.3% say they regularly pay attention to the ads and 38.7% say they occasionally pay attention to the ads. That number is about general internet usage and not specific to social media sites, but that number is still encouraging as almost 60% of smartphone users either regularly or occasionally pay attention to the mobile ads served when browsing social networks on mobile devices. In fact, it is precisely when on social networks that users are most attentive to ads. When downloading apps or music, when shopping or when playing games is when attentiveness drops significantly.
Another interesting find is that men pay more attention to the ads than women do. The male viewers are also more likely to be influenced than women are. The other good news for the social media agency is that almost half of mobile users are unwilling to pay money for an app that is not ad supported. Women are less likely than men to make this purchase. Even though men pay more attention to mobile ads, they are more willing to spend money to not be served ads. It’s an interesting paradox, but the numbers seem low enough that it need not affect the social media agency’s strategy for reaching out to mobile users.
That study comes out at the same time as SocialCode, a FaceBook API partner, releases its findings about mobile ads on FaceBook. These ads have not been rolled out to the masses yet, but for almost a month some users have seen sponsored stories in their mobile newsfeeds.
Social code has found that sponsored stories in a mobile newsfeed receive more likes than they do when placed in other locations. The study measured between June 8 and June 18 over 7 million ad impressions, which included almost 242,000 mobile impressions.
There were five locations measured in the study: mobile, desktop news-feed only, desktop right sidebar, news-feed only on either mobile or desktop, and a control group with uniform bids. The average clickthrough rate of all five placements was .148% whereas mobile ads had a rate of .79%.
The future of mobile ads is a cash cow, assuming FaceBook can get the frequency balanced enough that users do not rebel at the clutter. For the advertiser and the digital media agency, however, these ads are highly effective and need to become a mainstay of a campaign strategy.