Are Mobile Ads Just Plain Annoying?

It’s a small study, so take it for what it’s worth, but cites a study of female college students that suggests mobile ads are a turn-off:

A Ball State University study of a primarily female group of college students found that a majority of them had seen ads on their phones, including 51.2% of smartphone or touchscreen phone users and 61.3% of feature-phone users. Text ads were most prevalent.
Their reactions to ads were highly negative. More than 40% were annoyed to get an ad, compared with just 1.2% who were pleased and 17.6% who were neutral. Even more dramatic, nearly three in 10 said they were less likely to purchase a product after seeing a mobile ad for it. Slightly fewer reported their purchase intent was unchanged, but only a small number said mobile ads encouraged them to purchase.

I can definitely see the problem with mobile ads. I have Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook on my iPhone, all of whom are pushing geotargeted mobile messages and/or general notifications. But I turn off the “push” notifications. Otherwise, my phone would be going off constantly. Marketers may have to face the fact that only a tiny percentage of customers want mobile ads or offers from them. It’ll be a desirable audience for sure, but they risk overdoing it very quickly if the ads are sent too frequently or don’t have any real value.
Hat tip to ad-ology.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Sounds like a government funded study. Let’s spend thousands to confirm the obvious.

  2. Tom, I see what you’re getting at, but you’ve got scores of digital folks running around saying “mobile” the way “plastics” was used in the move “The Graduate.”
    And we’re being told that it’s the youngest generations that don’t mind all of this communication. So I thought it was interesting to see a study that suggests otherwise.

  3. Its about time someone brings this up. These are the most annoying advertisements ever and make me never want to buy from companies that do this.
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