Putting your ads on mobile devices might seem like a fabulous way to get brands into hands, but according to new research from Azullo, company behind the ad solution Respond, smartphone owners don’t really remember the promotions that appear on their devices.

The company carried out a survey of 1,014 smartphone owners around the UK. When asked if they could recall an advert on their smartphone whilst using the browser or apps in the past 6 months, only 21% responded positively.

When asked if they could recall brands, products or services promoted by these ads, 53% said no.

If you can recall any ads on your smartphone – or if you take a quick peek – you’ll see that many of them look dreadful and intrude upon the reason you are using your app or browser. 39% of Azullo’s survey respondents said that ads were ‘too distorted’ to tell what they were really for. This is often down to ads not being optimised for mobile.

The survey also included a fairly frank response to questions about mobile advertising, 17% of respondents noted that they could not recall the ads because of their own bad memory. That said, unless you work in the business, there are few of us who can recall all of the ads we see on billboards, TV or hear on the radio. (Maybe with the exception of ear-worms.)

Poor effort

Of those who could recall something they’d seen advertised through their mobile phone, only 14% said it was more likely to make them want to buy or try that particular product or service. When asked if they felt advertisers made enough of an effort to reach out to mobile viewers, 81% of all respondents said ‘no’.

That’s not a great reaction as advertisers pour their money into the mobile space.

Guy Cookson, co-founder of Respond, says that mobile adoption does not seem to include much relevant change for the small screen, “Most mobile ad formats are adapted from desktop. Banners ads are squeezed to fit far smaller spaces, with resulting compromises in clarity. Graphical ads are also often slow to load over mobile networks. This is no way to engage an audience, to invite discovery, to inform and delight.”

That sounds a bit like some lazy moves from advertisers. If you’re going to go to the effort and cost of putting ads on mobile, it might be worth creating something that at least works for the space.

Naturally as an ads solution company, Respond has something to gain from this report. But the results still show a shameful performance for mobile advertising in the UK.

Maybe a little thought and effort would go a long way to actually getting users to engage with mobile advertising instead of ignoring, forgetting and switching off.

Image Credit: Denis Devisevic