Jul. 2016

The Value of Mobile Ads

We love to watch the Superbowl and the Academy Awards for the ads as much as we do for the action. How often do ads work for you on your phone? We all know that if we had the option to surf the web or use an app without seeing any ads on our phones, we would. According to an article in Adweek, interstitials (ads that take over the whole screen) are not that much more promising in performance than banner ads because neither format has much of an impact on mobile viewers. The primary reason people spend more time looking at interstitial ads is because they are looking for the X to close out of the ad. It seems that many times, publishers rely on “fat-finger errors,” where users accidentally click on an advertisement by placing them next to popular buttons or by purposefully making the X button too small. That only increases people’s hesitation and overall distaste even if fat fingers provide the illusion of performance. Statistics show that you are more likely to survive a plane crash, climb Mount Everest, and birth twins than purposefully click on a mobile banner ad in your lifetime. The bottom line: ads on phones are a slippery slope because too many ads, or even the wrong kind of ads, can drive users away.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 9.52.46 AM

This brings us to our strategic approach to advertising. Here at E5A, we focus considerably more on tablet and desktop advertising, as opposed to mobile. Sure, mobile advertising is a great place to gain exposure at scale to target audiences, but it doesn’t really assist us in acquiring the upscale audiences we are typically targeting. It is challenging to measure mobile ad success even from a brand or touchpoint perspective and does not necessarily have the desired effect on awareness.

Despite the overwhelming reluctance to mobile ads, the money spent has progressively risen. According to the latest figures from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, digital advertising in the United States rose to $49.5 billion in 2014. The biggest growth was seen in mobile advertising, which grew 76% from 2013 to 2014, followed by social media advertising with 57% growth.

Mobile advertising is mostly geared and designed for targeting millennials through advertising in social media platforms and other popular apps. We frequently work with clients who are looking to license enterprise software, raise capital or gain assets to manage. So while mobile advertising has its (albeit narrow) time and place, the reason we don’t place much on mobile is because it simply doesn’t make sense for our clients. The chances of getting ad clicks, and ones that are meaningful on desktops and tablets are much higher than mobile. We have tested mobile for several clients; this  comes from firsthand experience. Keep in mind that tablets (a subset of mobile) are worthy of attention, because every year, the number of people who switch from surfing the web from a desktop to a tablet rises. More  people are converting to tablets because they are more transportablehence mobile. Desktops and tablet click remain higher quality as surfer can more easily fill out forms, purchase and not just price check at point of sale.

Overall spend on mobile is going to continue to outpace desktop and tablet advertising, but for now and until our tests prove otherwise, desktop and tablet placements will be (for our clients) our primary media.




Chaffey, Dave. “Mobile Marketing Statistics 2016.” Smart Insights. N.p., 27 Apr. 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.

Swant, Marty. “Mobile Ad Study Finds Interstitials Only Slightly Better Than Banners for Being Seen.” AdWeek. N.p., 1 July 2016. Web. 08 July 2016.


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