Are Mobile Ads Still Annoying?

In 2008 a Forrester research report said that most forms of mobile advertising were annoying to most people. Of those surveyed, 65% said they were annoyed when an ad appeared while a web page was loading, 57% found ads appearing alongside maps annoying, 56% found banner ads annoying, 48% found paid search ads annoying. The least annoying ad format was pre-rolls for mobile video clips or games. How are we doing two years later?

According to Steve Jobs we’re not doing much better. Last month, Apple unveiling iAd its new mobile advertising platform called iAd. Built in to the new iPhone OS 4.0 operating system. Why the need for a new system? Jobs explained, ” Our developers are putting ads into apps, and for lack of a better way to say it, we think most of this kind of advertising sucks.” In the video below is a Nike iAd demo that does not.

iAd includes an emphasis on “emotion and interactivity.” Ads will allow users to stay in the app they’re using. Apple will sell and host the advertisements that appear on iAd, sharing 60% of the ad revenue with the developer. Steve Jobs noted that currently users are discouraged from clicking on app ads because it takes them out of the application they’re using. Apple’s solution is to create an interface that lets users access the advertisers’ interactive and video content without leaving the app.

According to Crisp Wireless there are other ways to ensure that your mobile ads are not irritating:

  • Frequency Capping – This limits impressions to no more than one to two a day per visitor.
  • ‘Layer’ the Ad – In full screen ads use a gradient or other technique to make sure the users site is still visible beneath the ad, so they don’t think they’ve arrived at the place.
  • Ability to Skip – Always offer the ability to skip the ad. This is common practice online. People are used to it.
  • Time Out – The ad should time out after 7 to 10 seconds, so the user is taken to their content without any further action.

Will Apple once again take the lead in a new digital area or can others step up to the task?