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Move Over, Mobile Ad Fraud — “Fat Fingers” Could Also Be Throwing Off Advertisers’ Numbers
A new report from mobile platform Retale finds that 60 percent of respondents accidentally click on mobile banner ads.
If you find that your fingers click ads you didn’t want them to, you’re not alone.
In a new study from location-based mobile ad platform Retale, 60 percent of respondents report that when they click on banner ads on the mobile web or in an app, “it’s usually by accident.”
Reasons given: the small screen size, a finger slipping, or both.
This result, of course, isn’t just heartening news to the fat-fingered among us (I’m looking at me) who think they are clumsier than normal members of the species.
It’s also disheartening news to those advertisers who are counting those impressions as indications of interest by the mobile users. Only 16 percent of respondents reported that they click on the mobile banner ads because they “like the company, product or service being promoted.”
Worse yet, only 13 percent said they click because they find the ads “interesting.”
In other words, 64 percent said it was “unlikely” they might look closely at a mobile banner ad and the company, while only 29 percent said “likely.” Sixty-six percent described mobile banner ads as “useless” and “not very useful.”
This fat-fingering occurred in all kinds of situations. Sixty-five percent said it was while they were reading the news or just surfing the web on their mobile device. About half reported other occasions, as well: while using social media, playing games, watching videos, or even listening to music. (One assumes they meant when they go to change songs and such.)
Last summer, Google made an effort to address fat fingering in the mobile display ads it serves. It made such changes as not counting taps close to the edge of an image ad as clicks and only allowing an ad to be clickable when it’s been on the screen for an undefined “short period of time.”
Retale’s survey considered all display ads to be banner ads, although the ad-to-finger-size ratio is undoubtedly a factor.
The company offers localized ads and coupons, which Retale president Pat Dermody described to me as “advertising [that] is actually content.” So, although its intention is to provide more purpose-driven advertising, Retale operates in the same small mobile screen spaces where fingers are giant instruments.
The online survey queried 500 randomly selected mobile device users, aged 18 and over.