Local and time sensitive advertising opportunities on the iPhone may be getting a lot of people excited these days, but online ad company Chitika is not among those bullish about the burgeoning mobile ad market. 

The Marlborough, Mass.-based company conducted a study that found people using mobile phone aren't clicking on ads — especially iPhone users.

Chitika conducted a study based on 92 million ad impressions and found that online viewers were much more likely to click on ads in their path than people browsing the mobile web. The clickthrough rate for non-mobile advertising was .83%, while the mobile click-through rate was a paltry 0.48%. And iPhone users were found to be the least likely to click on mobile ads.

The study is far from definitive. Chitika, which only sells ads online, doesn't need to champion the burgeoning mobile ad market. And of the 92 million impressions cited in the study, only 1.3 million (1.5%) came from mobile browsing, which is a pretty paltry percentage to prove this point.

The interesting number to look at, though, is who uses their phone to browse the Internet. Despite the low clickthrough rate, iPhone users accounted for the bulk of internet browsing with 66%. The high adoption of mobile web usage underscores the point about iPhone users passing over ads.

However, that could have less to do with iPhone users exhibiting disdain for advertising than Chitika might think. The company attributes the low CTRs to mobile phone users' impatience. According to Daniel Ruby, research director at Chitika:

"While the recent growth in 'smartphones' has sparked a renewed interest in mobile advertising, it appears given the numbers that mobile users are not receptive to advertising - a phenomenon that is not surprising, given the mobile users' propensity to be searching for quick answers or directions."

But it's exactly that tendency that gets so many people excited about mobile ads. While smartphone users may be quicker to dismiss ads that are irrelevant to them at any given moment, they're also more likely to act on information that is pertinent to them. Figuring out how to serve the right ads in that environment is what will make mobile such a lucratice ad market.

Meghan Keane

Published 15 September, 2009 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (1)


Dean Donaldson

Trying to fit square peg in round hole?! The rest of the world has moved on from looking at clicks as a sole metric to gauge online success as the flaws of this metric are well documented. Clicks were great for search and gifs 15 years ago...

I dont click on Outdoor ad I am driving by at 35MPH - therefore don't they work?!

Time to move on to a mature thinking of advertising effectiveness

almost 9 years ago

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