Is Mobile Advertising Dead?

By: Nick Pappalardo

With the introduction of Apple’s new iOS 9, there comes a new hidden feature. Apple’s newest update has software capable of blocking online mobile advertising content. This software is based off of Safari’s already existing content blocking capabilities on the Mac OSX operating system. This is not the first effort to block mobile advertisements though. Applications such as Crystal and Purify are available on the App Store, and offer the ability to block mobile advertisements. These apps also promise things such as decrease page load time as well as extended battery life, all from blocking mobile ads. However, this new software could significantly hurt mobile advertising revenue.

According to Google, there are now more searches on its browser using mobile devices and smartphones than on desktops. There is a convenience factor with mobile devices that allows users to look up a topic easily on the go rather than waiting to use a physical computer. However, desktops still account for 56% of all online sales. Smartphones produce three times more traffic than they do sales. This suggests that more people use smartphones to research products first, then use a desktop to purchase the actual item. All this increase in heavy mobile traffic has shifted advertisers to increase their mobile advertising spending. In 2015, mobile advertising spending will account for 49% of all advertising spending. This number is expected to increase in 2016 to well over 60%.

So why exactly do smartphone users hate mobile ads so much? According to research done at Dartmouth College, four out of ten mobile users say they don’t even notice mobile ads. 70% of people say they are “too busy” to even acknowledge mobile ads and do not retain any information they may provide. 54% of mobile users feel frustrated, while another 69% feel annoyed when a mobile ad disrupts their browsing. Mobile internet browsing seems to be based “on the go”. A study has shown that mobile browsing rarely exceeds 15 minutes, with most searches lasting only a few minutes.

So how do advertisers move traffic to their sites with this new trend of mobile ad-blocking? Many companies such as Eyeo, allow ads that align with their content to pass if they meet their “acceptable ad guidelines”. Other companies such as RevContent utilize a new form for advertising to drive traffic to advertisers’ websites. RevContent offers a “content recommendation widget” that provides products based on the content the user is viewing. This is a much less obtrusive way to advertise without disrupting the user’s browsing. Android also offers a unique way for users to see advertisements. If an Android user has the “Android Store” application downloaded, all Google searches will provide a button that says “Show In App,” which will then bring the user to the item in the store to allow for a faster shopping experience.

Apple is not 100% pure mobile ads though. Their “News” application will feature advertisements in it. However, these advertisements will be sold exclusively by Apple to advertisers that they deem to be acceptable. Although the future of mobile advertising is uncertain, it will be an uphill battle if companies follow Apple’s lead. Mobile advertising has become such a huge portion of advertising, and companies will need to find new, creative ways to drive traffic to sell their products.


7 thoughts on “Is Mobile Advertising Dead?

  1. Melissa Santos October 16, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    I find mobile advertising to be a nuisance, however, I have noticed recently that online advertisement has become much more relevant. Its become relevant in the sense that my personal searches and also purchases I make online are popping in to my social media in the forms of advertisement. If I purchase something from a clothing store, within a few days, I see that clothing store advertising itself on my Facebook. It’s a continual pattern I’ve noticed the last few months. I don’t really like the thought of having a continuous flow of advertisements all over the screen of my phone as I’m trying to look something up quickly, or simply just browse during my free time. Since I don’t seem to have a choice, I would prefer the advertisements to be more relevant to what it is I’m looking at or for online, and what it is I’m purchased. The personalization makes it a little more interesting and also somewhat bearable. With all the advertisements popping up online left and right, it’s hard to imagine an increase in ad’s in the year 2016. With all of this being sad, I feel as though mobile advertisement is here to stay.


  2. Jameson Pinette November 9, 2015 / 12:56 am

    Mobile advertising will only become more streamlined and sneaky. By in large, many of the pop ups are extremely annoying and do not have a great return on investment because users try to avoid them at all cost. Furthermore, many of the ads are not seen by people, rather bots. Mobile phone companies will work hard over the next few years to block obvious advertising, to ensure a good mobile experience. As a result, we will see more articles, posts and other forms of native advertising present in everything that we do on our phones. As a result of big data, and our every move being watched, the design of native ads will appear to be legitimate.


  3. Melissa Miller November 9, 2015 / 7:05 pm

    Mobile Advertising can be quite annoying when a person is in a hurry to look something up quickly. They are hard to exit out of and if you acccidently click on them you are re-directed to that site. That being said, I think it would be great if they could get rid of mobile advertising. However, I think this would be very hard to do. There would be new ways to create mobile advertising. I also think that social media sites could take a huge hit from this. This being because almost all of their money comes in from advertising on their sites. If there were to be a block on advertising it would completly change the social media industry. That being said, although it is a great idea, I think it would be very difficult to get rid of mobile advertising completly.


  4. Patrick Coskren December 3, 2015 / 12:33 am

    I find myself falling inline with what Melissa S. is saying that the advertisements I see from by personal searches becoming more visible and apparent. At first I thought this was something great. It was a reminder that I was looking for a product and would often forget about. Then not only did it become annoying to see advertisements for items I had recently searched but in many ways creepy. It was as if I was being watched or almost targeted because of my interest in an item. I believe there is a fine line between relevant advertising based on searches and what can feel like cyber stalking.


  5. Adam Chadbourne December 3, 2015 / 2:23 am

    As others have said, mobile advertising can have both positive and negative effects. I find it great when I search for an item on Amazon and a related item shows up in an ad on a different site. I think that may be what most mobile advertisers have in mind, but there are different aspects that make people have a negative reaction to these ads. When I open up an app and an ad pops up that’s either a 30-second video that you can’t close or when you try to close it brings you to the app store; it seems to be what makes people annoyed with mobile advertising. I think that if more mobile ads can be related to what people are searching for, less people will be annoyed by them. As mobile technology improves, it is expected that ads are going to pop up on more mobile sites. It is not necessary for ads to disappear completely, but they will need to become less frequent and intrusive.


  6. Joe Pantalone December 10, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    Mobile advertising is indeed annoying. When looking something up I really do not want to deal with the ads that show up. It would be great if they could go away but this seems very unlikely. The ads are important to the people that are putting them out there. It would be detrimental to the businesses that spend the money to display the ads. There should be a more efficient way to display the ad without causing a person to lose time or track of what they were doing. That seems to be quite the dilemma.


  7. MIchael Arcidi December 10, 2015 / 5:32 pm

    Great article response Nick, you really hit it out of the park on this one! As we all know, online advertising has truly become the bane of the internet once marketers realized it’s cost effectiveness and ability to reach the masses. I did find it interesting that such a high percentage of online shopping was carried out on mobile devices, but it does explain the greater frequency of mobile ads. For advertisers it is very delicate balancing game; if an ad is too “in your face” then it will probably be quickly dismissed and ignored. On the flipside, if an ad is too obscure, then it risks not attracting consumer attention amidst the sea of virtual bombardment. Also found it very unsettling that my shopping patterns were monitored and redirected back at me in hopes of securing my sale. The internet has since mad advertising cheap, yet the attention of consumers now comes at a hefty price.


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