Consumers are more receptive to mobile advertisements when brands offer real value or rewards in exchange for their time, according to a research report from SessionM and Millward Brown, which found that reward-based mobile ads actually improve brand engagement and loyalty when value is reciprocated in this way. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The study, entitled 'Exploring the Role of Value in Mobile Advertising', was a continuation of Millward Brown's earlier 2012 US AdReaction Report on mobile marketing which had found that, although favourability toward mobile advertising was low, brands have the opportunity to break through by offering more tangible value in their marketing content.

"Through the earlier AdReaction Report we know that consumers want brands to provide valuable and rewarding ad experiences, and this helped us break down exactly what that means," explained Joline McGoldrick, research director for Millward Brown's Dynamic Logic digital practice. "The findings present marketers with a tremendous opportunity to deliver mobile ad experiences in line with consumers' expectations, enabling them to effectively break through to mobile consumers."

The study revealed a value exchange equation that consumers use to assess mobile advertising and found that they were more likely to engage when brands offered them tangible value in exchange for their time and attention.

Mobile advertising experiences that create a more balanced consumer experience - ones that respect time and provide a useful outcome - open the door of receptivity and have a positive impact on the brand. For example, reward-based mobile advertising is one answer to value exchange equation.

Among the key findings in the report:

  • Rewarded audiences are over twice as likely to interact with brands. After seeing an in-app ad, 34% of rewarded users clicked or interacted with an ad, compared with only 15% of mobile users who had not participated in reward-based advertising.
  • Receiving a reward expands a consumer's consideration set. After seeing an in-app ad, 26% of rewarded users considered purchasing a brand, compared with 18% of mobile users who had not participated in reward-based advertising.
  • Not all reward-based advertising is created equal. When using a reward-based advertising strategy, there are some things to keep in mind. Ninety-two percent of mobile users report it's important they choose the reward they receive, and 68% of users prefer to know for certain they will get a reward, rather than be surprised. Users also prefer rewards that are tangible and have an element of choice in how they're spent.

"Engaging consumers on their mobile devices has been a clear challenge marketers have faced with no clear solution," concluded Deborah Powsner, vice president of marketing for SessionM. "This study not only reveals the impact of reciprocity within the mobile space but more importantly why and how it can work effectively."