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There’s good news for in-app advertisers: the majority (63%) of US mobile app users say that they believe the quality of the ads in both paid and even free apps is high. That’s according to the 1,500 US mobile app users (ages 18 years old and older) surveyed [download page] for a recent report by Aki Technologies.

When it comes to the type of apps users download, free apps are clearly – and logically – the most popular. Close to three-quarters (73%) of respondents download only free apps, while another one-quarter (24%) say they download both free and paid apps. Only 3% of respondents say they shy away from free apps and only download paid apps.

The most popular app categories among respondents are Games and Social Networking apps. Shopping, Music, and Weather apps are also popular.

So, what is it about an in-app ad that grabs the attention of users and ultimately influences engagement with the ad? A little more than 7 in 10 (72%) respondents report that they notice ads that match their general interest. This same factor is also the major driver of engagement, with two-thirds (66%) of respondents saying that when they tap on an ad it’s because it matches their interests.

There are also other factors that have influence over whether an app user notices an advertisement. One-third (33%) of respondents say that they notice an ad if it matches their mood, while 32% notice ads that match their current activity. Another 3 in 10 (29%) respondents say they notice ads that match the theme of the app content they are viewing. However, only about one-fifth (19%) say they notice ads that match their current physical location.

When it comes to engagement with an ad, the rank order of interest remains the same, with users tapping more on ads that match their mood and current activity than those that match the theme of the content of the app or their physical location.

More broadly, mobile advertising should continue to be of increased interest to advertisers based on other studies, namely that time on mobile continues to increase and is set to overtake time spent watching TV, and that a growing number of Americans rely mostly on their smartphone to go online.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The 1,500-respondent panel included U.S. adults 18 years and older, with an income above $25k a year, working outside of the marketing or advertising industries.

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