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Face It Advertisers, Mobile Users are Different

The need for detailed mobile user information - and how these users respond to ads - is rapidly growing as both content and devices proliferate.

Measurement and analytics providers have been responding to this demand: earlier this year, for example, Mobclix and Nielsen inked a deal to integrate Nielsen's ad targeting data into Mobclix's mobile ad exchange. Still, as the number and types of devices continue to grow, such efforts are barely keeping up with changes in the market.

Mobile Call to Action

Some baseline data is now apparent, of course - and yields interesting information on the differences in this format. For example, a recent inMobi report called "A Global Consumer View of Mobile Advertising" found that comfort levels with mobile ads are much higher than anticipated and suggests consumers are ahead of advertisers. However, women are less enthusiastic than men about these ads - which, interestingly, is the opposite of the fixed web. inMobi concluded that because of these gender, as well as age, differences in attitudes, advertisers need to have multiple calls to action in a mobile campaign for it to perform well.

Specifically, it found that no one CTA covers more than a third of motivated mobile consumers.

iPhone Users are from Venus; Android Users, from Mars

Other insights about mobile users can gleaned from the digital coupons downloaded to their devices. Coupons.com routinely looks at this data stream and draws rough - if not humorous - conclusions about the characteristics of certain device owners. For instance, it stereotypes Android owners as manly-scented, pork-eating, bird lovers, while iPhone users are feminine-smelling, chicken-eating, fish owners.

Device Proliferation

However as devices continue to evolve, much of this data can become obsolete - sometimes in a matter of months. Extensive research about the iPad, conducted by Conde Nast, for example, has found that iPad owners use them more as household devices than as mobile devices, and they may not already be familiar with an Apple device's functionality, according to AdAge (via MediaBuyerPlanner).

The fact that many iPad users see the device as a household item mean that there are more readers per "copy" of a magazine - but it also means people may be spending less time with a magazine app than initially thought: the time spent with an app may be spread out among several people, something it is important for magazine publishers and advertisers to know as they try to measure reader engagement.

Additionally, if iPads are not being used away from the home as much as previously thought, it may be less important for marketers to build location-based functions into their ads. Conde Nast had also expected that most people who purchased an iPad would already own an Apple device like an iPod Touch or iPhone, which would have meant that they were already familiar with functionality such as swiping and zooming. But assuming such familiarity may be the wrong move, because it may leave users unaware of the extra content available by horizontal or vertical swiping. "If you have content that goes below the page, you better make sure it’s clear with a little arrow or something," explains Scott McDonald, senior vp for market research at Conde Nast.

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