UK consumers are continuing to increase their usage of mobile devices and their acceptance of mobile ads is growing in parallel, but attitudes are currently mixed, says Millward Brown’s AdReaction 2012 Report.
The study, conducted in partnership with Millward Brown’s qualitative practice Firefly Millward Brown, analyses consumer opinions and expectations related to mobile and provides a roadmap for marketers to drive brand growth through effective mobile marketing.
AdReaction 2012 confirms that 42% of owners of smartphones or tablets in the UK consider their device indispensable, and over half (52%) feel that mobile devices make them more efficient. Against the backdrop of Morgan Stanley research that forecasts an audience of 1.5 billion smartphone and tablet users globally by mid-2013, the opportunity for mobile marketers is indisputable.
The study found that over a third of consumers will tolerate ads on mobile websites and in apps, 36% and 34% respectively, as long as the sites and apps are free. This percentage is much higher among people in the 18-34 age group, who have grown up with mobile advertising, at 55% and 65% respectively. They are also much more likely to use apps, suggesting that brands targeted at this age group should consider focusing on this format.
But that doesn’t mean people are enthusiastic, as just 17% of UK smartphone or tablet users are favourable towards mobile ads, compared with 34% for online display ads, 46% for newspapers and 55% for TV. However, this is a 12% increase on those who were favourable towards mobile ads in 2009, showing that acceptance is growing as people get more used to them.
The report shows that apps on mobiles have good potential, but usability and relevance are the key to success. Display and text-based mobile ads are particularly disliked by UK consumers. Tailored and localised ads have more traction, however – 31% are favourable towards these. 29% of UK consumers reported willingness to share location in return for more tailored, relevant services and offers, trading privacy for useful content or incentives and opening the door for brands to engage in ways unique to mobile marketing.
Angela Whitelaw, Commercial Director, Media & Digital, at Millward Brown comments: “Mobile ads are around four times more effective than online ads at increasing brand awareness, message association and purchase intent, according to our AdIndex® for Mobile*. However, current attitudes towards mobile marketing are not very positive, so there remains a significant opportunity for marketers to improve how they use mobile technology to connect meaningfully with consumers. And because attitudes are mixed, having one monolithic mobile strategy will not work – marketers need a deep understanding of what different audiences are thinking, and tailor their approach accordingly.”
Attitudes toward mobile ads are more positive in emerging markets including Nigeria and Kenya (both 48% favourable), India (43%) and South Africa (30%), largely because mobile devices are even more central to consumers’ lives in these markets. Globally, attitudes toward ads on tablets are more positive (29%), as are attitudes towards social media news feeds on mobile devices (35%).
Rakesh Kumar, Chairman of the Global Firefly Millward Brown Board, comments: “Despite relatively low favorability at present, there is much room for optimism. Our qualitative findings suggested that consumers genuinely want mobile marketing to succeed. Indeed, it is because consumers have such high expectations of competence, and assumptions of built-in intelligence from mobile marketing, that delivering anything less can lead to negative perceptions.”
eMarketer predicts global spending on mobile ads will triple to $18.6 billion by 2015. The challenge for mobile marketers is to optimise the effectiveness of this ad spend. They can achieve this by improving attitudes towards mobile marketing, through demonstrating greater respect for the platform and the audience. This means delivering:
• Relevance: Mobile content needs to be tailored extraordinarily well to both the target audience and the context in which they will most likely experience it.
• Engagement: Mobile can provide opportunities for deeper engagement when consumers have the time, but marketers need to signpost these opportunities very clearly and aim for long-term repeat engagement.
• Surprise and delight: Marketers should put a smile on the face of their consumers with every mobile connection they deliver, while being careful not to intrude.
• Play to strengths: Mobile can play a unique role in the wider media mix since it is both portable and personal, and it can link to and from many other channels. However, it is not suited to heavy duty content.
• Exchange: Consumers are looking for value in return for access to their mobile phones and their personal information.
• Competence: Perhaps more than any other media, mobile marketing should be clear, functional and focused. Consumers indicate that marketers are currently falling down in very basic ways.
• Time and place: Mobile content should be tailored to when and where it is most likely to be consumed, as use is more varied with a mobile device than online.
Done properly, the report concludes, mobile marketing can inspire, connect and drive action – and ultimately help companies grow their brand.
Other findings highlighted in the AdReaction 2012 report include:
• Consumers in the UK now use their mobile phones more for surfing the web (15% of usage) than for making calls (14%).
• 63% of UK owners of mobile devices claim that they still need a PC.
• 50% of mobile users in the UK say the biggest advantage of accessing content via apps rather than mobile websites is the ease and speed of access.
• The acceptance of advertising across all media has increased since 2009 – the percentage of consumers favourable towards online display ads is up 10%, ads in newspapers 5% and ads on TV 10%.
About AdReaction 2012
AdReaction 2012 consisted of online surveys of more than 6,000 smartphone or tablet users in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK and the U.S. Qualitative research (online forums and depth interviews) was also conducted in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and U.S. AdReaction studies have been conducted since 2001.
The study addresses key questions facing marketers, including:
1. How receptive are consumers to mobile marketing, and how do attitudes compare with other media?
2. What roles can mobile best play in the media mix?
3. What defines mobile best practice and how can mobile help companies build brands?
Source: Millward Brown