A recent research article by Chitika (an online search advertising company), suggests that mobile internet users are far less likely to click on ads when compared to regular internet users accessing the internet from a pc.
Chitika claims to serve over 2 billion monthly ad impressions across tens of thousands of websites.
The ads in this research were identical in both pc and mobile versions, which allows a more accurate apples-to-apples comparison. Their study examined 92 million ad impressions across a wide variety of devices and operating systems.
Mobile internet users are40% less likely to click an ad as shown in the image below.
The overall ad click-thru-rate (CTR) in this research was .48% for mobile users and .83% for non-mobile users.
Overall this study is quite interesting since it is really the first research of these type we have seen that is publicly available.
Clicking an advertisement on a mobile device is a much more disruptive user experience than on a pc. We think there are several main reasons this is so:
First, users are much more task focused on their mobile devices, particularly as consumers use “applications” on devices like the Iphone and Android devices to access specific internet features, websites or tasks. Take Facebook as an example – it is one of the most popular websites in the world. The “application” experience is much more optimized than accessing the site through the web. And the mobile experience is much more focused and uncluttered than the website version in fact, so it keeps the user even more task focused.
Second, the experience is more modal with users focusing on ONE task at a time. Some devices, like the Iphone can only run one application at a time and that forces users into this mental model.
Third, the devices access the internet at much lower speeds than typical pc broadband access, so users are even less likely to interrupt their own experience by clicking something that will take them away – knowing it will take them awhile to get back to what they were doing.
Fourth, most people we know still are not doing any serious or significant e commerce browsing or shopping on their mobile devices, so we just don’t think people are in this frame of mind while using their devices. They are even more task and information seeking focused than on their home or work computers.
We hope to see additional research on this topic published by other companies. Additional validation studies would be helpful to see if these findings are consistent and replicable across other advertising networks. If you have other data to share, please let us know in your comments.