Will Mobile Ads Compromise the User Experience?

Mobile AdPhoto Credit: William Hook

Mobile phone use has become pervasive in our lives – there are now 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, with a recent study showing that 3 out of 5 U.S. smartphone users do not go longer than one hour without using their phones. So, it only makes sense that advertisers are taking note and looking to connect with consumers in the places they spend the most time.

With that in mind, all of the major players are taking steps to beef up their offerings in hopes of cracking the promising mobile market. Both Facebook and Twitter have seen their mobile ad revenue surpass their web offerings. Following suit, LinkedIn recently announced that it too will soon begin to offer more mobile advertising opportunities.

At the end of the day, advertisers and Web giants alike recognize the need to sell more targeted and effective ads, and mobile is a prime opportunity to do just that. But, since mobile displays offer such a limited amount of space, the challenge becomes integrating ads in a way that doesn’t compromise the user experience.

A great example of this is Twitter’s “Quick Bar,” launched last year, which hovered at the top of screens to prominently display sponsored placements. However, after strong user complaints, this feature was quickly removed. This March, Twitter announced it would again enable mobile Promoted Tweets, but these would remain in feed and only where relevant, an obvious move to compromise with users. In a similar stroke, Facebook is now offering Sponsored Stories for mobile, which enables advertisers to place content in users’ news feeds. The social network will have to walk a fine line between inundating users and creating ROI for advertisers.

As the pressure to monetize mobile apps increases, it will be interesting to see how platforms maintain a quality experience lest they begin to lose users by cluttering interfaces.

Written by: Kristen Winzent, MKTG INC

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June 26th, 2012 at 12:56 pm

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