As the distinction between mobile and desktop begins to blur, and digital becomes an all-encompassing term, it appears that the mobile ad platform will take its place as a dominant consumer engagement process.

In the recently released 3rd Annual U.S. Mobile Path-to-Purchase study as conducted by Nielsen for xAd and Telmetrics, consumer engagement with mobile ads has more than doubled in the past year. In the report, almost half of all mobile shoppers who responded indicated that mobile ads were considered informative or helpful; forty percent said they clicked on mobile ads, with half of that percentage reporting they took secondary actions such as visiting a given website or searching for more information.

According to Bill Dinan, CEO of Telmetrics, the multi-year study shows how consumer engagement with mobile advertising is evolving as “People are becoming more receptive to mobile ad content…becoming used to ads being there… [and] becoming more engaged…”

In addition, he observes that as publishers become more proficient in making ads relevant and as consumers respond to mobile ad content (regardless of whether it is on an app or a website), secondary actions will continue to emerge.

Further analysis of the study shows that purchase intent can be found in these secondary actions. Mobile ad shoppers were looking to make their purchase quickly once they clicked on an ad and sought businesses within five miles of their location to do so. Statistically, half wished to complete the process within an hour, and 70 percent of them followed through with a purchase. The local aspect of this process must be noted: two-thirds said they looked for a business within five miles, and 18 percent narrowed that distance to within a mile.

Beyond this, Dinan says, understanding and determining the effectiveness of mobile in driving purchasing decisions must also evolve. Says Dinan, “We’ve figured out how to get people engaged, the next part is for these publishers and these agencies to make sure they can capture the right and relevant metrics to leverage the engagement.”

The key to this seems to rest in the relationship between ad relevance and consumer engagement. In the study, more than four in ten responded that relevance to their interests or research motivated them to click on an ad. In addition discounts and coupons, as well as location, played an important role in determining an ads relevance and, subsequently, clicking on it.

According to Dinan, once marketers fully embrace the implications of the consumer mantra “The mobile device is my portal to my day…my guide to life,” the age of mobile will be upon us.


Hirshman, David. “Study: Consumers Increasingly Receptive to Mobile Ads,” July 30, 2014.