Most People Click On Mobile Ads In Apps Accidentally

No one likes their game of Bedazzle Blast or whatever it may be interrupted by an annoying, floating mobile add popping up on the screen. So it’s really not surprising to hear that most of the clicks those ads get from consumers are accidental.

Listen up, mobile app advertisers — you might want to forgo the pop-up ads and integrate your ad into the game, instead. A survey by Pontiflex and researcher Harris Interactive says that 47 percent of people say when they click on a pop-up add, it’s not on purpose. In addition, 61 percent of the 18-34 age group say that’s the usually what happens.

More evidence on the side of ads that allow users to stay in their game: 71 percent of mobile app users prefer the ads that don’t take them out of the app to a web browser.

Since about 95 percent of users use the free mobile apps, while only 41 percent pay up for ad-free apps, those ads are bound to be somewhere.

“If you are a mobile marketer, why would you run a [cost-per-click] campaign?” Pontiflex’s CEO Zephrin Lasker tells paidContent. “Steve Jobs was right: keep people in the app. The problem with the approach of a lot of mobile advertising is that the old online model has been transferred to the mobile device.”

Pontiflex: About Half Of Mobile App Clicks Are Accidental [paidContent]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Quibbs0 says:

    angry birds!

    • Chmeeee says:
    • bastion72 says:

      Since the new updates the ads have been even more intrusive. They block the top left of the screen and the bird flys behind the ad. Lame.

      • greggorthechamp says:

        It’s only .99 for the full ad-free version. Worth it to me for such a fun game that someone took the time to make. Maybe you should invest a buck rather than moan about what is in a free app.

        • theblackdog says:

          There is *no* ad-free (paid) version of the game for Android, and I just checked the AppBrain market again

        • DarthCoven says:

          Could you link to this “99 cent ad free version”? There is no paid version in the market. Rovio sure as hell doesn’t offer it.

          • greggorthechamp says:

            Apple’s App Store has a paid version of Angry Birds that is ad free. I did not know there wasn’t an option for this on other mobile platforms.

        • SanDiegoDude says:

          You’re talking for the iPhone right? I just checked the Android Market and I don’t see a paid version available from Rovio at all.

    • SanDiegoDude says:

      The scrolling advertisements in Angry Birds on my Droid absolutely ruin the game. They slow the game down to the point where if you try to “launch” a bird while the stupid scrolling ad is displayed, the bird is going to shoot in any direction but the actual angle you choose. Worse, they block the top right 1/3 of the screen, so on maps where the pig building is really intricate, you have to wait the 15 or so seconds for the ad to remove itself.

      Please please please offer a paid version of Angry Birds for android. soooo annoying that there is only the ad supported free version available. I’ll happily pay 5 dollars so I don’t have to wait for the advertisements to slowly go away before I can play a level.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        If you can afford to be “off the air” while you play, switch to airplane mode before you launch the game.

  2. axiomatic says:

    Marketers…. a different breed of cat. Don’t expect them to ever understand users though as they have already proven they are incapable of existing in the “real world.”

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      It’s amazing. Then, once in a while a marketing department actually develops a campaign based on the user and it flourishes. You’d think they would want this to be the end result every time.

      I can’t count how many times I’ve butted heads with people in the marketing department who cite “focus groups” and “stats” while ignoring actual users.

      • summeroflove says:

        Because you know, eventually the user will get used to the ads and begin to love them and miss them if they don’t see them. They LIKE to have that “interactive” experience. (Or whatever they are telling themselves currently).

  3. framitz says:

    The ONLY times I’ve clicked an ad it was accidental, the BACK button is a good thing.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Pretty much. Typically if I see an ad that isn’t shady or useless to me, I am already aware of the service.

    • Wombatish says:


      Except on my Sprint news app, the back button doesn’t work since the News is an internal app and the ad launches in the browser.

      And the way the page loads if it lags at all, the ad ‘hops down’ to right where the ‘top stories’ button is.

      It really bugs the shit out of me.

  4. obits3 says:

    I have this problem with mobile youtube. It loads your search results and then right when I want to click on the first one a mini-add pops up so I touch it instead…

  5. haggis for the soul says:

    I don’t know anyone who would click on them on purpose.

  6. Ouze says:

    I think you can snip the words “Mobile Ads in Apps” from that headline for an even more accurate line.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Savvy marketers focus their advertising on in-content displays…like when you’re watching NCIS and you get to see the brand on every car they drive as being a Chrysler product. That’s smooth marketing, and if it makes it from your subconscious to your conscious brain, you are more likely to say “hey, Chrysler supports this show I like – I appreciate that.”

    On the other hand, intrusive advertising simply annoys the observer…a pop-up ad for a Chrysler product that covers part of the screen and/or does something else to draw your attention away from the show – including a traditional break-in-the-show commercial – is more likely to engender a “EFF YOU CHRYSLER!” kind of response. Ever more so if you’re using a paid-for service to watch said show.

    • Talisker says:

      I just wonder why people who are allegedly so smart are driving Chryslers.

      I actually find in-show product placements really annoying. There were two characters in Bones last season who were oh-so-impressed with their Toyota Pious. And I remember two characters in the first season of Heroes being so excited that their rental car was a Nissan Versa, and another character the next season who was thrilled that her daddy bought her a Nissan Rogue for a graduation present. There was a whole episode of Bones that was pretty much a 40-minute commercial for Avatar, too.


      • ReaperRob says:

        I noticed the Prius pimping, and I HATED the Avatar episode.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Well, fair point that an in-content ad can be overbearing and annoying too.

        If you have a shot of Gibbs pulling up to a crime scene in his Dodge Charger such that you can see the badges on it and know it’s a Dodge Charger, that’s one thing…if you have the entire cast of Sex and the City do a group orgasm for 3 minutes about somebody’s new iThing, that’s a massive failure for both the show and the advertiser.

      • Matt says:

        Yeah, really. I don’t mind product placement if it’s just that; the product is placed in the show. Characters who drive and go out to eat can drive real brands of cars and eat at real restaurants but it annoys me when they waste actual dialogue talking about them. If I remember correctly, Jack Bauer drove Fords in 24 but at no point did he ever beat the crap out of a guy yelling, “TELL ME WHERE THE BOMB IS, YOU CHEVY-DRIVING SON OF A BITCH! FORD OWNERS KNOW THAT QUALITY IS JOB #1 BUT IT MUST BE JOB #39 FOR YOU LAZY TERRORISTS!”

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I still think it’s really weird that Booth (on “Bones”) drives a Toyota SUV. I thought government vehicles were all from the big three automakers. On NCIS: Los Angeles, I think the only foreign car that has appeared as part of the NCIS “fleet” is an Aston Martin.

      • rawley69 says:

        That Avatar episode annoyed me. It was still funny, but the idea that one of my favorite shows was being hijacked for marketing purposes bugged me. Although it would be characteristic of Hodgins to be into a movie like Avatar.

        The one about the Prius was funny though, Hodgins and Angela were talking about how it could alert them to unintended lane changes which then gets them arrested because it looked like they were drunk-driving and they had warrants.

  8. evilpete says:

    Happens all the time when I play Angry Birds on my android phone.

  9. Matt says:

    I hate mobile ads. I’d much rather pay a few dollars for an app or game that I like than deal with those things. As it is, I’ve made a habit of turning on “airplane mode” before I start most games so it can’t load ads at all. Works great for Angry Birds and Rocket Bunnies.

  10. TheRedSeven says:

    Learn your statistics:

    47% =/= Most

    Article Title: “Most people click on Mobile Ads in Apps Accidentally”
    Article Text: “A survey by Pontiflex and researcher Harris Interactive says that 47 percent of people say when they click on a pop-up add, it’s not on purpose.”

    Meaning that 53% click on the ad on purpose, or some other answer that isn’t included in 47%. To use the word ‘most’, the survey results would have to be 50% + 1 person.

    Math skills and/or accuracy are apparently no longer important in the world of reporting, even on a consumer blog. *sigh*

    • Rachacha says:

      Unless there was a third or fourth category of “clickers” perhaps some breakdowns like this:

      47% Accidental click
      30% Were interested in the ad
      13% Don’t recall seeing in app ads
      10% don’t have a phone

      I don’t know for sure, but that is a reasonable explanation why 47%=most

  11. richcreamerybutter says:

    On a somewhat-related note about how marketing is oblivious of the actual user experience, I present: .

    After your ass has been laughed off completely, you will proceed to cry wondering why and how these “ideas” receive any kind of capital whatsoever.

    • davidsco says:

      Because the entire 20-something generation is made up of spoiled morons with zero business sense or experience, but too much money thown at them

      • richcreamerybutter says:

        I definitely agree to an extent, but these ridiculous startups have been funded for years, with involved parties well out of their 20s (from what I’ve seen firsthand, anyway). It’s less age-based than indicative of a certain new media personality type and their investment cronies. In the beginning, it was easy to be more open-minded about innovation due to lack of precedence. Now I’m convinced these groups just intentionally come up with the most terrifically stupid ideas so their partners have another outlet for tax write-offs and possibly money laundering. I read one article on Adkeeper wherein the CEO said something similar to, “Either Adkeeper will be a huge success or a huge flop.”

  12. davidsco says:

    NOBODY clicks on those adds purposely. Are marketers REALLY that stupid to think they do?

    • evnmorlo says:

      Nobody buys from email spammers either, except the ones who do.

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      My admittedly anecdotal evidence would suggest that yes, in fact most people in marketing/advertising seem to be under the delusion that people want and/or enjoy viewing ads.

  13. Amnesiac85 says:

    I’m actually surprised more people don’t say they accidentally click on the ads. I figured that’s how they got most of their traffic. If I see an ad that might be interesting, I Google it first.

    • rawley69 says:

      Yea, me too, usually in the form “{product} sucks” so a lot of bad reviews end up higher than the company’s website.

  14. Goatweed says:

    rooted phone + ad-free andoid app = zero ads in games

  15. Cicadymn says:


    More on this at 11!

  16. johnperkins21 says:

    Using the word “add” when you mean “ad” is one of my pet peeves. I had always thought the people complaining about a lack of editing on this site were just being too picky, but I’m starting to agree with them. It’s become somewhat ridiculous.

  17. dpung says:

    OMG NO WAY I WOULD HAVE NEVER GUESSED oh wait that’s not true

  18. The Black Bird says:

    I have an app on my Evo which I use to stop whatever programs I want from accessing the internet. I have used that app on any program that needs internet access to get ads. Since I’m not interested in putting my stats online I’m not worried about blocking that either. Angry Birds and all the other apps I’ve blocked work great, and with no ads. Blocking internet access has not stopped me from being able to update the apps. If I ever do run into an app that won’t update because of the block all I have to do is temporarily unblock it, update it, and then put the block back on.

    I do purchase programs that have a paid version in order to get ad-free usage of said programs.

  19. Tiandli says:

    Accidental clicks are still recorded as clicks. Money in the bank! The ones who should really be mad are the advertisers who have to pay 0.0001 of a cent for each false click.