IAB press release

Advertising effectiveness study identifies targeting, user experience and brand-building as three key trends for mobile marketers in 2010

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New research from the Internet Advertising Bureau – the trade association for digital marketing – has revealed that using mobile and online advertising in combination can significantly increase brand awareness and purchase consideration.

The study, based on a sample of 875 mobile internet users and qualitative focus groups, investigated current trends in consumer behaviour and specifically the impact of cross-media ad campaigns on a range of brand metrics.

The IAB partnered with research agency Brand Driver, mobile agency Mobext, part of MPG Media Contacts and financial provider Nationwide Building Society, who ran a series of mobile and online display ads promoting Home Insurance.  The campaign, which ran simultaneously over the mobile operator sites of 3, O2, Orange, T mobile and Vodafone, and the mobile and web portals of MSN and Sky, found that:

  • When exposed to ads across online and mobile, recognition was 43% greater than those exposed just to the online component.
  • Consideration of Nationwide Home Insurance increased by 24% when respondents had been exposed to both the mobile and online ads.
  • Spontaneous brand awareness was 50% higher amongst those who had seen mobile ads than those who had seen no Nationwide advertising, and increased to 114% when the sample were exposed to both online and mobile.
  • Advertising across both platforms increased performance – the click-through rate online was 150% higher amongst those that were exposed to – and recalled – the mobile ad.

The study also identified 3 key trends for the mobile internet relating to consumer attitudes and behaviour, which marketers should be incorporating into their 2010 communications strategies:

1. Using mobile to build brands and raise awareness. The research emphasises the fact that even in its relative infancy, mobile advertising can be a great brand-builder, raising awareness and prompting consumers to seek information.  37% of consumers stated that when they saw advertising on a mobile phone that interested them, they go to a PC or laptop to find out more.

The study also found that consumers are still unsure of the cost implications of clicking through on mobile ads, with 60% respondents still wary of clicking for this reason. However, this figure is around 17% lower than the last IAB mobile research, with KitKat®, in July 2009. It is critical for brands to address this challenge by using mobile to spark intrigue or reinforce marketing messages to increase the impact of their cross-media campaigns.

2. Targeted advertising on mobile phones. The study confirmed that mobile internet users respond better to advertising that is more relevant to their interests or intentions:

  • Those in the purchase window for buying home insurance were 38% more likely to recall the mobile ads.
  • In addition, for both media the click-through rate was higher for those who were in the purchase window for home insurance – 6 times more effective in both cases.
  • Irrelevance was the top barrier for respondents who did not click on the mobile ad, with some 48% of respondents citing this as the main reason for not clicking through for more information.

Brands across all sectors should look to complement the user’s session by looking to target their advertising based on interests or demographics, particularly as such mobile internet techniques have become more sophisticated.

3. User experience is critical. Ads on what the user considers to be a ‘quality site’ are significantly more effective.  Recognition of the mobile ads was 112% higher for those who enjoyed browsing the mobile site and click-through rates were also 200% higher for those who rated the mobile site as ‘good or very good’.   Whilst mobile internet usage may be more basic than PC-based surfing behaviour, consumers still felt that the experience and ease of which they were able to access information was of fundamental importance.

And with 18% of respondents stating that within the next year they expect to use the internet more on a mobile than on their PC, brands need to be aware of the user experience not just on their own sites, but of those on which they advertise.

Alex Bennett, digital marketing manager at Nationwide said: “In order for mobile to become a core part of any advertiser’s marketing mix it’s essential that it is able to prove its effectiveness alongside more traditional media. The use of industry research will be a key way of demonstrating the benefit of including mobile within a marketing plan.

Partnering the IAB on this project has provided some valuable insight into how mobile can influence the performance of other media and the results have provided a positive case for the increased use of mobile as our digital strategy matures.”

Jon Mew, head of mobile at the Internet Advertising Bureau said: “Over the past 12 months we’ve seen mobile come into its own as a unique, extremely beneficial medium for consumers, and our research shows that it will play an even bigger part in our daily lives over the next five years.

“This case study proves that adding mobile to an online campaign can have a massive impact on the things that advertisers crave – brand awareness, recognition and even consideration – but the medium still has room to grow.  We’ve highlighted brand-building, targeting and usability as the most significant trends for marketers to watch in 2010 to push the medium higher up the agenda, and make their mobile communications even more effective.”

Chris Bourke, head of Mobext, said: “This evidence – that mobile acts synergistically with online display investment – is a clear indication of mobile’s importance in the integrated mix. We’re delighted with these findings.”


For more information contact:

Amy Kean, senior PR and marketing manager, IAB, 07739372042 amy@iabuk.net


A pre-post quantitative methodology was adopted for this research building on the mobile advertising evaluation research conducted by the IAB and Brand Driver in 2009. 875 participating respondents followed a three stage process; firstly a pre-exposure questionnaire completed online, then an exposure stage where respondents were exposed to either the mobile advertising, the internet advertising or both and then finally a post-exposure online questionnaire which revisited the key performance measures of brand awareness and imagery collected in the pre-wave. The quantitative research was augmented with a series of focus groups amongst mobile internet users to provide a greater depth of insight.

About the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the trade association for digital advertising. With around 500 member companies, it’s run for the leading media owners and agencies in the UK internet industry. Online is an exciting and fast-growing medium and our job at the IAB is to work with members to ensure marketers can identify the best role for online and mobile, helping them engage their customers and build their brands. Through the dissemination of research and the organisation of regular events, we aim to put digital on the agenda of every marketer in the UK, acting as an authoritative and objective source for all internet advertising issues.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world’s largest building society with around 15 million customers and assets of around £200 billion.  Nationwide has mutual (as opposed to Public Limited Company) status, which means that it is owned by its members.  Nationwide offers a broad range of retail financial services including mortgages, savings, current accounts, life assurance and investment products, personal loans and household insurance.

The Society is the UK’s third largest mortgage lender and the second largest savings provider.  The Nationwide Group has around 700 branches and customers can manage their finances in branch, on the telephone, internet and post.  The Society has around 16,000 employees.  Nationwide’s head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton and Bournemouth and operational service centres in Duffield, Macclesfield and Dunfermline.  The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

About Mobext (UK)

Mobext (UK)  is one of seven worldwide mobile marketing agencies supporting MPG Media Contacts and Havas Digital with mobile strategy, planning and production. Mobext (UK) was launched in 2007, making Mobext the the largest mobile marketing agency network in the world, offering international strategic mobile consulting & services. Mobext currently operates in the UK, US, Spain, France, Mexico, Argentina & Brazil. Mobext (UK) clients include the BBC, Magners, Camelot and Nationwide.

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