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What Do U.S. Consumers Think About Mobile Advertising?

Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
3 min read
Posted on December 15, 2021

Brands have long used advertising to get the word out among consumers. And with consumers flocking to mobile, advertisers have followed suit. 

Today, brands have many different options for reaching consumers, including through social media, influencers, television advertising, and so many more channels. With so many options to choose from, should mobile advertising be part of the mix? 

To help brands answer this question, we commissioned a survey using InMobi Pulse, InMobi’s mobile market research solution. In 2021, we asked over 2,000 Americans what they really thought about mobile advertising. 

Here’s what we uncovered. 

TL;DR Version 

  • 55% agree or strongly agree with the following statement: I prefer that mobile apps have ads, rather than having to pay to download apps. 
  • 21% said they enjoy seeing ads in apps. 
  • One in four say they notice ads for products that interest them in gaming apps. 
  • One in three say they visit a brand’s website after seeing an ad for a product that interests them. 

American Attitudes To Mobile Advertising in 2021 

Overall, most Americans understand the value exchange that comes with advertising: namely, by viewing ads they can avoid having to pay for content. Among those surveyed, 55% said they prefer apps with ads as opposed to having to pay for them.  

But do consumers actually enjoy seeing mobile ads? Over one in five (21%) said yes. Among survey respondents between 18 and 34 years old, that figure jumps to 29%. 

When asked about their ad preferences, 18% said they prefer video ads while the same share said they prefer banner ads. But when asked about which ads they notice, 36% said they notice videos while 25% notice banners. Further, just over one in five said they notice native ads and interstitials. 

Where are consumers seeing these ads? Top answers include gaming apps (25%), social apps (23%), streaming apps (15%), mobile webpages (15%) and news apps (14%).  

After seeing and interacting with an ad for a product that interests them, what action do Americans usually take? The top response was visit a brand’s website (32%), followed by open or download the brand’s app (16%).  

How Does Our Data Compare To Other Research? 

We also wanted to see our numbers compare to what eMarketer has reported. Here’s a small snippet of what they have found: 

  • 74% of iOS device users would rather opt in to receiving targeted advertising if it meant not having to pay for features or content that is currently free. 

  • 51% of mobile gamers in the U.S. said they’d prefer to watch ads and play for free as opposed to making in-app payments. 

  • Among mobile gamers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany and France, 35%  said they like banner ads – much higher than what our research uncovered. But for rewarded ads, likeability rises to 50% or more. 

  • 20% of adults in the U.S. most disliked seeing ads for products they don’t need. 

  • Among smartphone owners in the U.S., 31% said they’d allow tracking to all apps rather than pay to subscribe. 

About the Author      

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices. 

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