Prof. Siddharth Bhattacharya is an assistant professor in the Information Systems and Operations Management Area at the Costello College of Business, George Mason University. Before joining George Mason University, Dr. Bhattacharya completed his Ph.D. from Temple University’s Fox School of Business in 2021. Read More
Costello College of Business, George Mason University
November 28, 2023
Mobile Advertising in Distracted Environments: An Investigation into the impact of External Distractions on Dual-Task
It is increasingly common for consumers to use their mobile devices amidst other distractions like malls, concerts, or when watching television at home. While this split in attention within the environment poses an ongoing challenge for mobile advertisers, it also opens valuable opportunities for creating targeted ads based on information that firms can infer about the nature of the user’s environment. Across a series of controlled lab experiments, we demonstrate how marketers can optimize mobile advertising within consumers’ dynamic, distraction-filled environments. In doing so, we characterize the effect of distractions within a consumer’s external environment on dual-task interference (DTI) and extend DTI knowledge from a fixed frame of reference (as investigated by earlier studies) to a continuously shifting frame of reference, wherein a consumer’s attention is diffused across multiple contexts.
Our results indicate that there exists a facilitating relationship between the attention paid to the mobile device and the effectiveness of advertising. However, this relationship is moderated by the extent of attention diffusion from environmental distractions. As the distance between the user’s mobile device and the external distraction increases, consumer attention to the mobile screen is more diffused, resulting in poorer encoding of the pop-up advertisement. Critically, optimizing the context and timing of the pop-up ad on a mobile screen to external content impacts its effectiveness. Our results have significant implications for helping marketers develop actionable strategies for mobile advertising in distraction-filled environments.
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