Though advertising agencies have been jumping onto the digital bandwagon by attaching more importance to mobile channels, Chinese consumers still hold mixed feelings toward commercials appearing on mobile phones or tablets, an industry report said.
Released by media communications agency OMD China, the report showed that 89 percent of the 450 polled Chinese respondents said they are usually annoyed by mobile advertising. More than 70 percent of them think that brand advertising has nothing to do with them, while nearly 65 percent of the respondents regard the advertising a waste of data usage.
Most people hold a grudge toward mobile advertising as they encounter them at least 8.5 times a day on average, a frequency deemed too high by most respondents.
However, 75 percent of the same respondents believe mobile advertising is interesting and 94 percent even think it necessary. This possibly explains the finding that 53 percent of the interviewees who accidently click on an ad will read at least one-fourths of the advertising page, according to the report.
People from different cities hold disparate attitudes. Only 22 percent of the first-tier city respondents choose to ignore mobile advertising, while 28 percent have a look at them and another 25 percent find the advertising interesting. Another four percent of the respondents are even keen to buy the advertised products.
However, a majority－52 percent－of the polled third-tier city residents ignore mobile advertising, as they "fundamentally have no interest in the ads", according to Jeanette Phang, director of the business intelligence at OMD China.
In addition, people who are annoyed by mobile advertising will still notice them. But those who are interested in the ads are 2.4 times more likely to buy the advertised products.
Arlene Ang, chief executive officer of OMD China, said: "This gap is due to a lack of understanding about mobile advertising. As an industry, it is important for us to know what consumers think about mobile advertising."
But the truth is, the potential for mobile advertising is significant, not only because of the time spent but because of their ability to drive sales. Nearly 39 percent of the interviewees said that smartphones are the most influential digital channel for purchases, ahead of the 30 percent who prioritize personal computers and the 23 percent who prefer tablets.
Zhang Yun, an employee at a multinational electronics company in Shanghai, came across a mobile advertisement for a shopping website a year ago on a social network service application. Now she has become a loyal user of the online shopping platform, which she frequents every month.
"As long as the advertisement provides something practical, consumers are more likely to give a positive response," she said.
The growth of Chinese mobile users has been well documented. China boasts a whopping 649 million Internet users as of 2014, and 557 million of them use mobiles, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.