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Millennial Media study shows advertisers’ advantage on mobile

As mobile advertising continues to steal prominence from its more traditional desktop counterpart, a new study from Millennial Media suggests that this trend will help brands better promote their products.

Survey responses from more than 4,000 people in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany indicated the effectiveness of mobile advertisements, with potential customers saying they were twice as likely to remember a product or message from a mobile ad than a desktop ad.

Essentially, shifts in consumer behavior yield shifts in brand behavior, Brett Kohn, marketing director for mobile advertising company Thinknear, said. And with consumers spending more time than ever on their mobile devices, it makes sense that advertisers would follow.

Consumers spent more time on phones or tablets than on laptops or desktops last year, and by 2016, mobile advertising budgets will surpass online advertising budgets for the first time. By 2018, mobile advertising spending is expected to reach $58 billion, industry analysts say.

“Brands want to be where their consumers are,” Kohn said.

And being on mobile has additional advantages for advertisers: Mobile users are more likely to engage with ads. One-fourth of respondents said they had clicked on at least one mobile ad in the last month to learn more about a product, with an additional 20 percent having clicked on one in the past three months. That frequency increased with Millennials, 25 percent of whom had clicked on a mobile ad just within the last week.

That’s largely because the mobile experience allows for more engagement with the ad, Millennial Media’s report concluded. The report’s tips to advertisers included tailoring an ad’s message to its targeted audience and using “mobile endemic features” such as touch responsiveness and video to engage users. Video in particular is a valuable means to attract Millennials’ attention, Kohn said.

“One of the key themes in the industry right now is personalization,” he added. Indeed, 48 percent of respondents in the survey said that they would be more likely to click on an ad if it were relevant to their interests.

Location targeting

For Thinknear, that personalization comes in the form of location targeting, by which mobile ads for products will be directed toward people in the area of associated stores.

“If we know that you tend to shop at a certain genre of store,” Kohn said, “we can make sure that the content that you’re receiving is relevant to you because you’re more interested in that.”

While the report noted that some people oppose the more intimate feel of mobile advertising, which reaches them on their “personal” devices, Kohn noted that targeted ads can help allay this fear.

“Where you do see negative reaction is if you’re receiving ads that are in no way relevant to you and they’re interrupting your consumer experience,” he said.

Millennial Media, a Baltimore-based mobile advertising company, declined multiple requests for interviews for this story.

Getting known

Another important shift in the business is toward building overall brand awareness. Previously, Kohn said, “The primary focus for mobile advertisers had really centered on a brick-and-mortar experience, where you had restaurants or retailers who wanted to drive foot traffic into the stores.”

Now, instead of looking for an immediate response, more advertisers are simply looking to make their name known—a strategy that works, as two in five survey respondents said they were more likely to click on an ad for a product or brand they had seen previously advertised.

And then, once the brands are known and the targeted audiences are clicking, advertising will have its ultimate effect and turn mobile users into product consumers.