Rewards-based ads double mobile advertising engagement: report

By Lauren Johnson

June 18, 2013

Old Navy

Consumers who engage with rewards-based advertising are more likely to click on and interact with mobile ads than the average mobile user, according to a new report from Millward Brown and SessionM.

The new “Reciprocity, Rewards and Real Breakthrough: Exploring the Role of Value in Mobile Advertising” report looks at how mobile impacts loyalty and engagement in advertising. The report looked at two different groups of consumers for the quantitative portion of the research – those that were part of SessionM’s rewards-based mobile network and a general population of mobile users.

“The study revealed a value exchange equation that consumers use to pre-assess every mobile ad experience,” said Deborah Powsner, vice president of marketing and consumer insights at SessionM, Boston. “Simply stated, this equation could be phrased as: ‘Is this ad worth my time?’

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Marketers have struggled to convey this value when a consumer first sees a mobile ad, resulting in supremely low engagement rates,” she said. “In order for this to change, brands must begin to ask and answer the value exchange equation.”

Engaged users
Five-hundred consumers from both groups were surveyed.

American Family Insurance

A qualitative group of users consisting of 25 SessionM users were also asked to blog in addition to interviews.

The report found clear differences in the consumers who interacted with reward-based advertising compared to the general public of mobile users.

Thirty-four percent of the consumers who were exposed to rewards-based ads clicked through or interacted with a mobile ad compared to 15 percent of the average mobile users.

The rewards-exposed consumers were also more likely to visit a brand’s Web site as a result of seeing a mobile ad.

Thirty-six percent of consumers who interacted with mobile rewards went to a brand’s Web site compared to 20 percent of non-exposed consumers.

Similarly, 28 percent of the mobile reward group searched for a brand online as a result of seeing a mobile ad. Only 17 percent of the non-exposed group of consumers said the same.

When it comes to driving purchases, mobile advertising is less influential to consumers. However, the rewards-based group is again more prone to visit a store or buy from a brand than the non-exposed group.

For example, 21 percent of consumers in the mobile rewards group looked for a brand in-store after seeing a mobile ad, while 12 percent of the non-exposed group said the same.

Twenty-six percent of the mobile rewards-exposed group said that they considered buying something from a brand as a result of seeing an ad. This is an 8 percent jump over the non-exposed group with 18 percent of consumers saying the same.

Interestingly, social media has the smallest difference in impact between the two groups. Nineteen percent of the group of consumers shown the mobile rewards ads visited a brand’s social media page as a result of seeing an ad. Fourteen percent of the non-rewards exposed group said the same.

Seventy-five percent of users surveyed in the report said that their favorability towards an ad depends on how it is presented to them, showing how time and context play a critical role in grabbing a consumer’s attention via mobile.

Rewards-based difference
The study also measured SessionM campaigns specifically as it related to brand effectiveness.

The metric with the highest engagement was brand awareness was mobile ad awareness, with 77 percent of the rewards-exposed consumers responding that the ad affected their awareness of the brand. Only 14 percent of the non-rewards exposed group said the same, which is a 63 percentage difference.

Message association also struck a chord with the rewards-based group compared to the non-rewards group. Sixty-three percent of the rewards-based group reported an association with the message in a mobile ad afterwards compared with 37 percent of the non-rewards group.

There are two elements that make for a great mobile advertising campaign, according to the report.

The first is about the execution, which has to be timely and relevant with options on how to engage from the consumer.

The second is around a reward that is tangible, predictable and chosen.

“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 brand,” said Jayne Dow, director of qualitative research and digital innovation at Millward Brown’s Firefly, London.

“This simple truth has powerful implications in improving the perception and effectiveness of mobile advertising,” she said.

“If a brand is going to pursue a reward-based advertising strategy, there are also some key implications to keep in mind.  Ninety-two percent of mobile consumers report it’s important they choose the reward they receive, and 68 percent of users prefer to know for certain they will get a reward, rather than be surprised. Consumers also prefer rewards that are tangible and have an element of choice in how they’re spent.”