Consumer Control and Common Sense Key to Halt the Rise of Ad Blocking

IAB SuperheroesGiving consumers more control and using common sense are the main ways to improve mobile advertising and make it more acceptable to consumers, according to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK.

The study, conducted by Differentology, used a mixture of online surveys, consumer diaries and in-depth interviews to understand what consumers really think about mobile ads. 10 per cent of respondents said they currently block mobile ads, with millennials accounting for 63 per cent of this group.

“Almost four in five consumers accept that ads fund free internet content but they need to feel in control, particularly on mobile, and ad blocking is the way to gain control,” said Mike Reynolds, the IAB UK’s mobile and video manager.

The study advises marketers to keep ads simple, fun and short, to be creative and relevant. It also advises them not to “hijack” the user experience, and not to omit the x/skip button. Other “don’ts” include taking the user straight to an app store or another site; running ads too frequently and making the ads too data-heavy.

58 per cent of respondents identified a clear X button or a skip ad function as the best way to make ads more acceptable. 52 per cent said that making ads less obtrusive in terms of how much content they cover would make them more acceptable – the same number who cited stopping ads that slow page loading.

In what some might see as a slightly odd move, the IAB has also assigned a “superhero persona” to a number of ad formats to help advertisers deploy the best ones depending on the campaign parameters. In the IAB’s words, the standard banner is “The Soldier” – Simple. Reliable. Well-liked. Never outstanding or exciting. Favoured by older and lighter users. The rich media banner is “The Star” – Everyone’s favourite. Engaging. Creative. Choice to pass or engage fully. Pre-roll video is the “New Kid on the Block” – Interruptive. Engaging. Creative. Liked by Millennials. In-Read is the “Team Jester” – Interruptive. Preferred by younger audience. Very engaging, especially with short-form content (social). The MPU is “Loyal Help” – Accepted by consumers. Not as engaging. Easy to miss. Finally, the Interstitial is a “Reckless Hero” – Extremely engaging. Communicative. Can be annoying.

The superhero theme carries through into an also slightly odd animated film trailer the IAB has put together to promote the research. You can see the trailer, and make your own mind up about that, here.