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Mobile Internet Engagement and Ad Clickthroughs Out of Sync

2009 September 23

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(NOTE: This is a reprint of an email I received 9/23/09. I didn’t see it online so I’m reposting here and will refer to in in a subsequent blog. All attributions follow the article. I am not responsible for any of the content of this article. Read at your own risk. )
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Mobile Internet Engagement and Ad Clickthroughs Out of Sync
According to the results of research exploring mobile Internet engagement levels among smartphone owners, as compared to owners of other devices, InsightExpress found that 68% of smartphone users reported feeling positively engaged (enjoyment in activity) while using the mobile Internet, second only to the 70% of users who were positively engaged while on a computer. Alternately, only 47% of feature phone users reported positive mobile site engagement.When mobile Internet users were asked to identify the top three elements that most influence their decision to return to a mobile Internet site, they reported:

  • The speed at which the site loads
  • The ease of navigation on the site
  • The quality of the content on the site itself

Among mobile Internet users, several small but telling differences were revealed when comparing smartphone owners to feature phone owners, says the report:

  • Both groups prioritized the speed at which a mobile site loads,
  • Smartphone users looked next at the quality of the content, ranking ease of navigation as less important
  • Feature phone users found ease of navigation almost as essential as their number one concern, how fast the mobile site loads.

Mobile Web site features that had the least impact on a users decision to make a return visit were the absence of advertising, the ability to personalize, and the number of links, videos or images on the site. Publishers will likely welcome the news that the presence of advertising on a site does not lessen its appeal, concludes the study.

Joy Liuzzo, Director of Marketing and Mobile Research. “Mobile advertising presents a unique opportunity to take advantage of high engagement levels and less clutter on the pages… advertisers enjoy a large share of voice per page since there is often only one advertisement on the page and it takes up more screen space… ”

And, an almost concurrent study by Chitika of mobile vs. non-mobile Internet usage, based on a sample of 93 million impressions, mobile users are approximately half as likely to click on an advertisement as non-mobile users. Non-mobile held an 0.83% clickthrough rate, while mobile as a whole pulled a mere 0.48% – just over half of the average.

It appears, given the numbers, that mobile users are not receptive to advertising. This phenomenon that is not surprising, concludes the report, given the mobile users’ propensity to be searching for quick answers or directions.

Of the five major smartphone operating systems, iPhone ranked the worst for clickthrough rate at 0.30%. iPhone also accounted for the bulk of mobile hits, at 66%. The group which clicked on ads the most is the “Other” group, comprised mainly of BlackBerry users and a small handful of other phone operating systems (including Symbian, Nokia, and HTC).

Mobile Internet Browsing & Clickthroughs
Smartphone Systems % Hits Clickthrough Rate (% of browsing, rounded)






Windows CE









Total Mobile


Source: Chatika, September 2009

The clickthrough rates, says the report, are certainly lower than expected, given the industry’s general consensus that mobile users are more likely to click ads. Possibly, concludes the study, because the ads displayed on mobile devices are the same as the ones displayed to non-mobile, rather than comparing standard online advertising with mobile-oriented ads.

However, concludes the report, though “… (though) mobile accidental clicks are more relevant than in non-mobile ad serving, it appears that mobile Internet users are disinterested in advertising at an extremely high rate… ”

To review the Chitika report, please visit here, and to read the InsightExpress release in its entirety, please go here.

We use the term research in the broadest possible sense. We do not perform an audit, nor do we analyze the data for accuracy or reliability. Our intention is to inform you of the existence of research materials and so we present reports as they are presented to us. The only requirements we impose are that they are potentially useful and relevant to our readers and that they pass the rudimentary test of relying on acceptable industry standards. We explicitly do not take responsibility for the findings. Please be aware of this and check the source for yourself if you intend to rely on any of the data we present.

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