Where do people notice ads in their smartphones?
This graph, generated from the Google-sponsored 2012 Ipsos survey “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” should drive home the point why businesses are rushing to have their very own apps. This graph shows just a few of the countries surveyed for 2012.
For many of the countries surveyed, ads are noticed more while people are using apps than while they are using search engines in their smartphones. Noticing ads in apps is at par or even surpasses ads being noticed while people are browsing a website using a mobile browser.
It’s natural to expect people would notice ads more while they are in an app or by casual browsing in a website versus while using a search engine — people want to see relevant results, not ads (even if some ads themselves are very relevant to people’s searches).
People even coined the term ‘ad blindness’ to describe this ad-avoiding behavior. To be fair ‘ad blindness’ also happens while people are using apps and casually browsing websites, but on a lesser degree compared to ad blindness while using a search engine.
Part of the reason ads are noticed more in apps or websites rather than in search engines is that people tend to spend more time in apps and websites rather than search engines. Search engines are just a means to find interesting apps and websites — just a jump-off point for people. It’s like putting posters inside airplanes while people are waiting for their turn to skydive. Unless it’s a catchy and useful poster about skydiving, it would usually be ignored.
Which brings us to the second point why ads are noticed more in apps and websites: ads in search engines are usually text ads, while ads in in apps and websites are banner ads — no wonder app and website ads get more attention — they are more visually interesting.
But these are not really very important implications of the survey. The best takeaway in the Google survey data is this: smartphone users are spending more and more time in apps such that app usage is overtaking time spent on websites.
And this is happening as the number of smartphone users for many of the countries surveyed rapidly approaches half of their populations as shown in the graph below:
For advertisers, this is your cue where to place your best and most colorful ads. For app developers, this is good information to share with businesses wanting an app. For businesses, this is a hint to pursue smartphone users where they are hanging out the most: in apps.