Study: Social media puts mobile users in bad mood compared to games



  • Mobile users said they feel saddest while using social media apps in a study that compared consumer attitudes while engaged in smartphone activities. Consumers in social apps were 3.2x more likely to be in a negative mood than the average mobile user, according to the survey by mobile ad platform AdColony. Social app users were also 2x more likely to be in a negative mood than consumers using a news app.
  • Consumers are happiest while playing mobile games, with about three out of four people reporting they were in a good mood using a game app at the time they were surveyed, compared with only 61% of those engaged with a non-gaming app, the survey found. Mobile users who feel happy are likely to engage with in-app ads, with 75% of consumers who clicked on an ad saying they were in a good mood.
  • Forty percent of consumers said rewarded video was the most acceptable ad format, about twice as much as any other ad format. Consumers were asked to rank the acceptability of various ad formats on a 7-point Likert scale, AdColony said.


Overall, the report underscores the strong positive connection between mobile and gaming. Mobile users are more amenable to in-app advertising while they are in a good mood, suggesting marketers should put more money into gaming platforms, according to AdColony’s findings, which is somewhat self-serving given the company’s source of revenue. Still, it’s important for marketers to consider appealing to consumers while they’re already in a positive state of mind and to avoid ruining the mood with an intrusive ad. While directly addressed in the study, the findings also underscore the opportunity brands have to create a positive experiences for consumers by developing their own mobile games or with playable ads, a burgeoning area in mobile advertising. 

The study’s findings also suggest that money spent on social media is wasted on people who are annoyed, perhaps from looking at pictures of the fabulous time their friends are having at other restaurants, events and vacation spots. AdColony asked consumers to rank their mood on a 5-point Likert scale that was compared to the app they were using while surveyed.

Mobile game usage varies widely with 87% of consumers saying they have games installed on their phones, but only 14% saying they have 10 or more games installed. More than 70% of mobile phone users have 1 to 9 games installed, suggesting that consumers are loyal to a small group of gaming apps. That focus also shows that in-app ad placements need to emphasize quality over quantity in campaign targeting, AdColony said.

In-app spending accounted for 94% of total mobile ad spending in Q2 — a record high — compared with 75% a year earlier, according a recent study by Smaato. The shift to in-app ads drove up eCPMs 79% in Q2 2017 from a year earlier, resulting in in-app ad spaces becoming 224% more valuable on average than those on mobile browsers, Smaato found.

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