Are Mobile Ads Just Plain Annoying?

It’s a small study, so take it for what it’s worth, but eMarketer.com 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

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. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.