A Challenge for Mobile Ads: Clumsy Clicking

With 10 billion applications downloaded to Apple’s mobile devices alone, there needs to be a reliable way to monetize that traffic.

But there could be a problem: Fat fingers.

According to a survey released today, 47 percent of mobile app users say they click or tap on mobile ads more often by mistake than they do on purpose.

Accidental clicks obviously come with the territory. Today’s smartphones often have large displays, but it’s still to easy to accidentally click on a banner instead of a link.

In fact, screen limitations led Steve Jobs to criticize seven-inch tablet screens recently (vs. the iPad’s nine-inch screen), by saying users will have to file down their fingers to achieve ultimate accuracy.

Apple is only one of many companies that are investing heavily in mobile with the hopes that it will produce the next big advertising goldmine. While filing down fingertips isn’t a practical solution, there is a way to avoid spending on clumsy clicks.

To do so, advertisers are increasingly paying for mobile ads based on action, like a user providing an email address or watching a video. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Pontiflex, which is pitching its own solution for this problem.

It measures advertising through what it calls “cost per lead,” meaning advertisers don’t pay until users sign up and share their contact information.

Other findings from the survey:

  • The vast majority of apps that are downloaded are free–95 percent of mobile app users download free apps, while only 41 percent pay.
  • 71 percent of mobile app users said they prefer ads that keep them within the app they are using, instead of ads that take them to the browser.
  • 96 percent of mobile app users with a household income of $75,000 or greater said they use free apps.
  • Almost two-thirds of mobile app users selected ads that contain coupons, deals or newsletters as their preferred in-app mobile ad type.

Photo Credit: herbrm.

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