Does Three’s announcement signify the death of mobile ads?

March 3, 2016

It’s not been a good week for businesses attempting to engage with customers via their mobiles. First, mobile operator Three announced that it is to introduce ad blocking across its UK network. Then, a study revealed that consumers are growing less likely to willingly share information with brands, due to a lack of trust that their data will be handed with the care and diligence it requires.

The survey, spotted on the Reuters website, goes against the theory that end-users will willingly share personal data in return for personalised services, noted the report’s author, Syniverse.

Some 75% of the 8,000 mobile phone users quizzed said they did not trust any brand – regardless of reputation – to take care of their data. Over half (55%) of those said their trust had been eroded in recent years.

Little more than one in ten said they are now willing to share more personal data such as location and or interactions with brands. Meanwhile, nearly one in three (30%) of respondents said they had now got the point whereby they were unwilling to share any of their personal information.

"Retailers, hoteliers, financial institutions and mobile operators need to rethink their approach to harvesting, managing and using private data," the report concluded.

It seems mobile company Three were already attuned to consumers’ resistant to mobile ads, striking a deal with Israeli company Shine that will drive a network-wide ad blocking strategy.

“Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience,” said Three UK chief marketing officer Tom Malleschitz.

Not only do they affect their overall network experience, there’s a good chance they’ll affect their view of your brand if you choose to adopt such a strategy. We all know how important it is as marketers to connect with customers on the mobile platform, but there are much better ways of doing it than via mobile ads. As the rise of content and social media marketing prove, customers want brands’ marketing material to be more helpful than salesy. Only then might they be trusting enough to part with that invaluable personal information.

Kevin Mason - Director