This is a guest blog by Stephen Upstone, CEO and founder, LoopMe

A recent survey of 1,000 mobile users in the US and UK asked if people who watch mobile video ads actually go on to buy the product advertised in store or online, and if not, why not.

The results showed that 55% of people who have watched a mobile video ad had gone on to make a purchase, showing that as an industry we are doing the right things more than half of the time.

However, that still left a large percentage of users (45%) who claimed to have never bought a product after seeing a mobile video ad. Of those, more than half (51%) said it was because they were not looking to buy the product advertised at that time, 29% said the ad was not relevant to them and 21% said the ad was so irritating they were put off buying the product.

As an industry, what haven't we been doing right when it comes to advertising to that 45% of users?

Not Targeting Ads Correctly

The first issue that the industry ought to resolve is serving users ads that are not relevant to them. Advances in data gathering, manipulation, and analysis will aid this problem. Personal preferences will overtake stereotyping in time, as A.I. becomes more sophisticated and more accessible. As an industry, we must embrace and develop this in order to deliver a better, more useful service to both clients and consumers.

Advertising to users not looking to purchase

The next hurdle is more difficult to resolve – ads are being shown to users when they are not in market. Targeting is typically centred on a user's age, gender and demographic, sometimes online behaviour and, less often, offline behaviour.

But even if a user fits all the characteristics of, for example, a Samsung Galaxy S7 audience, if they have just signed up to a 2-year contract with the new iPhone, they are not going to be interested in buying a Samsung, despite fitting the target audience perfectly. That same user, 18 months on, is likely to be approaching the point where they are in market, and this is the time they should be targeted with a Samsung advertising and being led through the path to purchase, from awareness to consideration to finally purchase. 

A way of resolving this is to identify the users who are in market for a product before a campaign begins. This can be achieved by carrying out a survey among the brand's target audience and identifying the defining characteristics of each user's profile. This information is then used to identify users with similar profiles (all data is anonymous) to achieve scale and target to those in market. As the campaign progresses this information can be overlaid onto targeting information using artificial intelligence, in order to reach a higher percentage of users in market.

This approach does require advanced technology, but if such a high percentage of users are citing this as the reason they do not proceed along the path to purchase after seeing a mobile video ad, resources should be found to address the problem.

Irritating the user

The final issue is that of 'annoying' ads. This is perhaps the most tricky to resolve, partly because some users will never enjoy advertising. But serving ads which are relevant, while they are considering a product, should go a long way to improving the user experience.

In addition, choosing skippable ad formats, where the user is in control, having excellent creative content and keeping advertising short should relieve pressure on users and improve the mobile experience.

With 55% of users moving along the path to purchase we can take comfort that a lot of mobile ads are effective, and shown to the right users at the right time. By listening to the end user, we can improve how consumers react to ads and deliver far better value to brands.