Monday, July 16, 2012
Tablets & Smartphones Generate Strong Ad Engagement, According to IAB Mobile Research

Differing Consumer Usages of the Two Devices Should Inform Marketers’ Strategies

NEW YORK, NY (July 16, 2012) — Illuminating the different ways that smartphones and tablets are changing consumer behavior, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence today released “Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day,” an in-depth research report that reveals how receptiveness to advertising and media consumption varies by device, time of day, and location.

According to the report:

  • There is a strong degree of ad interaction among tablet users, with nearly half (47%) saying that they engage with ads on that device more than once a week
  • One in four (25%) smartphone users also said that they interact with ads at that same frequency
  • Once these mobile device users engage with an ad, they are extremely likely to take action (80% smartphone users, 89% tablet users)

“Both tablet and smartphone users show an impressive interest in mobile advertising,” said Anna Bager, Vice President and General Manager, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB. “The key for marketers is looking at how consumers use these devices in different ways, and tailoring brand messages and strategies accordingly.”

In regard to behaviors, smartphone users consider that device to be mission-critical for their day-to-day lives, with 70 percent saying that they “never leave home without it.” In comparison, 70 percent of those surveyed said that their tablets served as entertainment and media hubs.

Those that have both devices echo this sentiment, with 60 percent preferring a smartphone to “look up info on-the-go,” in contrast to 22 percent who would choose a tablet for that activity. However, when asked how they preferred to consume traditional media like print and video on mobile devices, consumers overwhelming choose tablets (69% print, 68% video) over a smartphone (9% print, 8% video).

Time of day also has a direct impact on how consumers use their mobile devices. For smartphone users, the three most impactful media moments of the day are:

  • Early Morning – When they first wake up, nearly 20 percent access social media
  • Midday – Almost a third (28%) cite “free time” windows during this time period that allow them to access media
  • Primetime Evening – Both general media and social media consumption spike during primetime TV viewing hours

It is harder to generalize with tablet users, but waking up stands out as a key social media time, with 28 percent engaging social media on their tablets first thing in the morning.

Nearly one-third of mobile device owners (30% smartphone users, 32% tablet users) said that they were likely to respond to ads that related to their current location. It is important to note, however, that “current location” often refers to home rather than somewhere on the go. In fact, 48 percent of smartphone users and 59 percent of tablet users say that they regularly conduct local searches on their mobile devices while at home in front of the television set.

“Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day” was released at IAB Mobile Marketplace, “Make Sense of the New First Screen,” held at the Crowne Plaza Times Square in New York City. To download the complete report, please go to

The IAB commissioned ABI Research to conduct the survey behind the “Mobile’s Role in the Consumer’s Media Day” report. For this survey, the sample was balanced at 50 percent males and 50 percent females in the U.S.; and aimed for the following typical census age groups: 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-64, and 65+. ABI Research surveyed 552 U.S. consumers who use a smartphone at least once a week and use data service, and 563 U.S. tablet users who also are on their devices at least once a week and utilize data service too.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 500 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

IAB Media Contact
Laura Goldberg
[email protected]