89% of Chinese mobile users find mobile ads annoying

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A new survey has highlighted the difficulty mobile advertisers have in finding the right ad for the right audience in China. The data collected is almost completely contradictory, indicating the complex nature of the Chinese market. The research comes from media agency OMD and is part of the Dive Mobile study, where 450 Chinese mobile consumers from seven different cities were polled.

How contradictory? A massive 94% decided that mobile advertising was something that was necessary, but 89% thought that it was annoying, while 75% found mobile ads interesting. Finally, and perhaps most unhelpfully of all, 66% thought all the above applied to mobile ads. Those who are annoyed by mobile ads turned out to be more likely to notice them than those who were genuinely interested, at 24.5% and 22.6% respectively.

89% of surveyed consumers found mobile ads annoying

Dive Confusion

Things took a turn for the normal when it came to making a purchase through an ad, with 7.1% of those interested going on to buy something. However, 2.9% of the annoyed viewers also eventually made a purchase. Accidental ad clicks saw just 4% of people stick around to read the entire ad, and 53% got a quarter of the way in before closing it. OMD says the average person sees 8.5 ads on their mobile device each day, which could explain the annoyance level.

Another statistic which goes against trends seen elsewhere in the world is that simple, static ads are more popular than video ads, with 48.6% preferring to see a basic ad, and 36.1% enjoying a video ad. Interstitials were the least popular with 21.2%. In terms of content, most wanted ads which provided information or rewards, and the smartphone had the most influence on purchasing intent at 38.7%.

Interaction after accidentally clicking on a mobile ad

Dive Accidental Clicks

Interestingly, in attempting to find out why people are annoyed, a few mobile ad myths popped up in the study, with around 66% of those surveyed believing ads consume a lot of mobile data, and around 33% thought mobile ads were responsible for taking precious energy from the phone’s battery. Otherwise, more than 70% simply felt ads were not relevant to them.

OMD says the reason for all these inconstancies could come from China’s geography, and the differences between consumers living in first, second, or third tier cities. The study states only 9% of the population live in the wealthiest top tier cities, where 22% of people ignored mobile ads. A considerable 53% of users living in the third tier cities ignore ads. Its advice to advertisers is to focus on the top two tiers, and produce valuable, relevant ads.

Mobile ads are still a considerable source of income in China. Microblogging platform Sina Weibo said mobile ad revenue made up more than half its total $88m ad revenue during the final three months of 2014.