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Users of Apple’s iPhone are 23% more aware of mobile ads than non-iPhone users and 66% more likely to respond to them, according to findings from the Q4 2008 Mobile Advertising Report, which is based on a survey by Limbo and GfK Technology.

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The quarterly research, which – for the first time – compares the behaviors of iPhone users with non-users, also finds that iPhone users are more than twice as likely as non users to browse the mobile web, and more than three times as likely to use a location-based service (LBS).

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With more than 80% of iPhone users taking advantage of non-voice mobile data services (vs. just more than 60% of non-iPhone users), Limbo and GfK say the findings suggest that advertisers can reach iPhone users with mobile campaigns more easily than with other platforms.

“We found that the iPhone users are not only more accessible, but are also more aware of all mobile ads including those outside of the typical SMS and mobile Web formats,” said Limbo CEO Jonathon Linner. “In addition, this report shows that other mobile ad formats, including location-based services, are growing and gaining traction, with iPhone users serving as the early adopters.”

One in ten mobile phone users in the US used a location-based service such as a map, friend or restaurant finder in Q4. The 25 – 34 age group has the highest levels of interest in this type of offering, with 22% penetration. In contrast, iPhone users are four times as likely to recall LBS ads as non-iPhone users, the study found.

Moreover, while 33% of mobile consumers recall seeing mobile advertisements in Q4, 41% of iPhone users recall seeing mobile ads. The vast majority of these ads were seen in SMS text messages, twice as much as mobile Web ads, which are the second most common mobile ad viewed.

Significantly fewer consumers see other forms of mobile advertising – unless they have an iPhone, Limbo said.? iPhone owners are twice as likely to see mobile Web ads and four times as likely to see an ad while playing a game on their phone or while using a location-based service.

Additional comparisons uncovered in the report:

  • One in three consumers that recall seeing a mobile ad responded in some way; this rises to one in two for iPhone users.
  • Calling a toll-free phone number published in a mobile ad is the most common means of response; iPhone users called twice as much as non-iPhone users.
  • One in seven mobile phone users visit a mobile website, the second most popular response. This rises to one in five for iPhone users.
  • One in seven consumers reported buying a product or visiting a store as a result of seeing a mobile ad; for iPhone users, more than one in four bought something as a result of seeing an ad.

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  • While men and women are equally likely to recall mobile advertising, women are 85% more likely to respond to ads than men.

The report “reveals a huge opportunity for advertisers to create iPhone-specific campaigns in order to see higher response rates for their mobile efforts,” said Colin Strong, head of mobile communications research at GfK Technology. “With this report serving as a benchmark, we will be able to analyze how the landscape is changing throughout 2009 and monitor the impact of iPhone user behavior on the rest of the US mobile market.”

About the research: The Limbo-GfK Technology Mobile Advertising Report is produced quarterly and is distributed free to marketers. The Q4 2008 report is based on a survey of 1,000 representative American adults and 1,000 UK adults interviewed by phone.

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