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Smaller mobile advertisements that appear embedded in the context of apps spark more engagement, visual attention, and action-taking than do larger interstitial mobile ads, according to recent research from MediaBrix, TrueImpact, and Neurons Inc.

The report was based on an in-person study in which participants were given a mobile game to play and had both interstitial video ads (full-screen takeovers) and embedded ads (smaller targeted units based on user action/context) presented as part of the experience.

The researchers used three methods to determine reaction to the ads: sensors and a headset to measure eye movement and heart rate; a neurometric monitor to track cognitive load and positive/negative emotional intensity; and post-test interviews to solicit additional feedback.

Study participants spent three times as much time viewing the contextual ads than the interstitial ads.

Users' focus tended to drift to the corners of the screen with the full-screen video ads, most likely looking for a close button, whereas attention stayed focused on the center of the screen with the contextual ads.

The full-screen interstitial ads were twice as likely to spark a negative "fight or flight" reaction from participants than did the contextual ads.

Check out the infographic for more findings from the study:

About the research: The report was based on a study in which participants were given a mobile game to play and had both interstitial video ads (full-screen takeovers) and embedded ads (smaller targeted units based on user action/context) presented as part of the experience.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji