Mobile Ads: I May Be Able to Hear You Now

by Marianne Richmond on October 3, 2006

A new study from Enpocket and Harris Interactive finds that among mobile internet users, targeted mobile ads are 50% more acceptable than un-targeteds ads according to iMedia Connections.The report also indicated that 78% of those surveyed "would be happy" to receive ads on their mobiles phones if the ads were for things of interest to them 64% of the 78% said they would be willing to provide personal information to make the ads more relevant. Banner ads were preferred to text ads by 58%.

The study, conducted among 1200 mobile users over the age of 16 in the US, India, and Europe, is an indication that consumers may be entering the acceptance stage of mobile advertising. Conventional wisdom has seemed to indicate that consumer acceptance was moving slowly, especially in the US and especially among adults.

According to Jason Hoffman at Avenue/Razorfish , "Over half the population now uses a mobile phone as their primary phone line; even two years ago this was not the case. According to M:Media data, in the United States alone, 39 percent of all SMS text users are adults 35+. M:Media also indicates that 69 percent of all mobile news subscribers are over 25. That’s nearly nine million people."

In 2005, an empirical study conducted by Hans Bauer, Stuart Barnes, Tina Reichardt, and Marcus Neumann noted that, "even though companies are investing heavily in mobile marketing, the nature and implications of this channel are not yet fully understood." Their study, detailed in the article, Driving Consumer Acceptance of Mobile Marketing: A Theoretical Framework and Empirical Study, Bauer, et all 2005, reviewed a number of theories from Cognitive Dissonance Theory, to Innovation Theory, to the Theory of Reasoned Action, to Optimum Stimulation Level (OSL) among other all time favorites. From these theories they identified, hypothesized and tested variables that influence consumer acceptance of mobile marketing.

The variables were behavioral as well as attitudinal, including social norms, attitudes towards advertising in general, privacy concerns, and perceived utility in terms of entertainment value and/or information provided. What they found was that over all other variables that consumers would be receptive to mobile marketing if it were entertaining, designed creatively and/or if they provide a high level of information value. Marketers, they wrote, "should be advised against using imperialized mass messages for communicating advertising content."

The current Enpocket and Harris Study seem consistent with this and bode well for the future of mobile marketing that meets the criteria outlined.

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