Zynga banking on 'fat fingers' to help mobile ad numbers -- analyst

BTIG Analyst Richard Greenfield notices larger, more difficult to avoid ads on Zynga's games, calls them a "desperate action" to encourage "fat fingers," or accidental clicks.

Richard Greenfield/BTIG

Zynga has increased the size of its ads and made it more difficult to close them, in a ploy to get more accidental clicks, according to one analyst (BTIG registration required) playing close attention to the game creator's advertising.

The new ads are, he says, a "desperate action" to encourage "fat fingers," or accidental clicks, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield wrote in a blog post today (BTIG registration required).

CNET has asked Zynga to comment and we'll update if we hear back.

With mobile advertising as the No. 1 concern for most online companies, Greenfield said Zynga was actually doing a good job of attracting "high quality, major brand advertising" for its mobile apps, but the company's recent woes may be changing the game plan.

"Yet, with Zynga's key assets, employees, literally walking out the door, company guidance of essentially zero EBITDA in the back half of 2012 and its stock price having cratered, we believe the company is resorting to questionable tactics to drive revenue," Greenfield wrote.

Zynga lowered this year's financial outlook earlier this month and reports of executives leaving the company have been circulating for months. It's probably bringing down the company's morale, and certainly, its stock price. The stock dipped to $2.41 a share today before closing at $2.43.

In his post, Greenfield provides some before and after screenshots of Zynga mobile ads. The before shows an ad that takes up less than half the screen over a bright, yellow button that says "Continue," which allows the user to leave the ad. Now the ads have a tiny "X" button instead to exit the ad. One ad takes up the entire screen.

Greenfield didn't just single Zynga out; he thinks Pandora (BTIG registration required) and Facebook (BTIG registration required) also use the "fat fingers" method when it comes to mobile advertising.

 

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