How I love thee … let me count the ways.

Consumers don’t like advertising. Are we shocked by this? A recent report by YouGov concluded that of all digital advertising – mobile ads were found to be the most offensive.

Let me relate an all too often conversation that I have with people I meet …

“So Dale, what do you do?”

I tell them.

“oh, you’re the one giving me those annoying ads,” or something similar to that.

This used to bother me because I genuinely wanted to be loved for what we do – not just by our network partners, but all the way to the end consumer.

But I have recently begun to wonder what is behind the negativity towards mobile advertising. I doubt whether a Creative Director at an advertising agency such a Saatchi would be met with the same level of indignation. For some reason, consumers feel that advertising on mobile is at the extremes of bad behavior.

Not to ruin a good article by jumping to the conclusion, I predict that consumer sentiment is not going to have any long term effects on the industry. The mobile is the newest medium for advertising and therefore we are very focused on it. In addition, it is crossing further into our personal domain. However, Mobile advertising will continue to grow at the incredible rates we are seeing and consumers will continue to hate it until the next advertising medium comes along and gives us something new to hate.

Consider these factors:

  • ALL content needs to be funded
  • Free content is most often funded by advertising and consumers accept this without complaint on TV, print etc
  • Paid versions of many apps exist and are therefore ad free
  • However, 96% of apps downloaded in 2011 were free – consumers opting not to pay to avoid the ads
  • Mobile advertising is effective

The last point is probably the most relevant. Response rates on mobile are far in excess of any other medium and the more dynamic (read overt (read “annoying”)) the ad, the higher the response rate. Banner ads on mobile are 6-10 times more effective than on the web.

The more dynamic ads on our network, are performing 7 – 10 times better still. Not to appear salesy, but rather to prove a point – we even have app developers earning in excess of $100 ecpm (earnings per 1000 impressions and an indicator of huge engagement levels) on some advanced ad types. If this is the effectiveness when everyone hates them (and is supposedly ignoring them) – I wonder how successful they may become when they are loved (or just indifferent).

I can’t help think what the reaction to TV ads was when they were first aired. Or now that they run 15+ minutes every hour. And still today, TV makes up 41% of global media advertising expenditure.

Are mobile ads annoying ? Perhaps.

Are they effective ? Definitely.

Are they going to face consumer backlash ? Not as long as we want to experience the variety that free content provides.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

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Dale CarrHow I love thee … let me count the ways.