Want to sell a home, a car, a washing machine via mobile advertising? It just might help.
But a toothbrush, movie tickets, or hedonic items like a fancy watch or handbag? Maybe not.
Researchers at Columbia Business School wanted to find out if banner ads on a smartphone’s web browser actually work. Their results reveal that they do, but are only effective for certain products.
The story was told at BizReport and the conclusion is clear: for major purchases, mobile can make a difference.
The Columbia Business School report — “Which Products Are Best Suited to Mobile Advertising? A Field Study of Mobile Display Advertising Effects on Consumer Attitudes and Intentions”– shows that mobile ads do work, but only for certain types of considered purchases.
In its analysis of survey data collected from 40,000 consumers in the U.S., researchers discovered that mobile display ads work best for products that have a practical and important use that require considerable thought when decision-making. Such items might be a lawnmower, family car, or washing machine.
“However, when it comes to less important and low-involvement purchases, like entertainment purchases (movie tickets) or everyday essentials (toothbrushes) or fancy items such as watches, mobile banners ads aren’t as effective,” according to the story.
Miklos Sarvary, co-director of the Media Program at Columbia Business School, says that marketers still use a “spray and pray” approach to mobile advertising (running ads and only hoping they will work).
But Sarvary thinks there’s a lot more going on in the minds of consumers. More thought goes in to comparing one product to another and “this psychological process is intensified when the purchase under consideration serves a useful purpose.”
Mobile ads may not induce the purchase so much as reinforce decision-making.
“If a display ad for that car shows up on your smartphone, even if it’s tiny and doesn’t provide you with new information, it’ll reinforce what you already know about the product,” Sarvary says.
Sarvary thinks mobile display advertising’s strength lies in reminding consumers of what they already know and prompting them to rethink about the product. He suggests that mobile display advertising is more effective after a product has been advertised in other media.
“That way,” explains Sarvary, “the banner ad seals the deal.”