Combating accidental clicks in mobile ads

Thursday, December 13, 2012 | 6:00 AM

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Ads on smartphones are effective, but many of us have at some point clicked on an ad by accident, which ultimately is a bad experience for the user, the publisher, and the advertiser who pays for clicks that may not be valuable. Our team has been analyzing the types of ad formats where accidental clicks are more likely to occur due to ad layout and placement, and are constantly looking at ways that we can combat them. Today, we’re introducing confirmed clicks into all in-app image ad banners on smartphones, which reduces accidental clicks by prompting the user to confirm that they intended to click on the ad.

We find that most accidental clicks on in-app image ads happen at the outer edge of the ad unit, likely when you’re trying to click or scroll to nearby content. Now if you click on the outer border of the ad, we’ll prompt you to verify that you actually meant to click on the ad to learn more.



This builds on our previous efforts with confirmed clicks for text ad banners on smartphones, which we introduced a few years ago. In the text ad format, tapping on the blue arrow button takes you to the advertiser’s ad destination, whereas tapping anywhere else in the ad prompts you to confirm your click.


By expanding confirmed clicks to in-app image ad banners, we’re now making this improved user experience consistent across the vast majority of the ads that we serve in mobile apps. In our initial tests, we found that confirmed clicks notably improve mobile conversion rates, with a slight decrease in clickthrough rate as accidental clicks are avoided.

This is only the beginning. As devices continue to converge there will be new challenges in the fight against what many have called the ‘fat finger’ problem. But implementing confirmed clicks is an important step that we think will benefit users, advertisers, publishers, and the mobile ecosystem overall, and we’ll continue to look for ways to improve mobile ads for everyone.

Posted by Allen Huang, Product Manager, Mobile Display Ads

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