New research spearheaded by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and supported by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), as well as neuroscience research company Neurons Inc., reports that consumers engage with – and react to – mobile advertising in less than a half-second.

“To our knowledge, the neuroscience work that we did is the largest [such project] ever done, especially in the United States, with about 900 different sessions,” said Vassilis Bakopoulos, the MMA’s svp/research and insights.

“The central focus of our research was to understand exposure time and how it relates to cognition in a mobile environment,” he explained at the 2019 MMA Impact: Shape the Future conference in New York.

“The best way to describe what we did is that we tried to put a big magnifying glass into the first three seconds of the life of a mobile ad,” he added.

And, he challenged his audience, “Think about that. You’re scrolling [in] your mobile feed” and, in the course of such handheld browsing, an ad suddenly – and often unexpectedly – appears.