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Some 41% of cell phone users who remembered seeing mobile advertising could remember at least one brand – that’s up 20% from three months earlier, when 34% recalled at least one brand, according to Limbo’s “Mobile Advertising Report Q1 2008.”

“[B]rand recall is at an all-time high in the mobile channel,” said Rob Lawson, chief marketing officer and cofounder of Limbo.

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SMS (text) is the dominant cell phone service, with usage highest among the 24-and-under age group, with 82% penetration, according to Lawson.

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Nevertheless, “SMS continues to transcend the generational divide, with 50% of SMS users age 35 or over and 75% age 25 or over. Therefore, SMS should not be pigeonholed exclusively as a youth medium,” he said.

Key findings of the Q1 report:

  • Mobile penetration: There are more than 255 million cell phone users in the US, up from 251 million in fourth quarter 2007.
  • Mobile usage: More than 50% of cell phone users make use of SMS, but WAP (mobile web) – with still only 50% of the reach of SMS – is the fastest-growing medium, with 69 million users.
  • Mobile advertising recall: The number of people who recalled seeing advertising on their cell phones in the last three months has risen significantly, from 78 million to 82 million.
  • Males engaged: Men are 10% more likely than women to recall a brand they had seen advertised. Those age 25-34 are the highest-performing age group.
  • Income and recall: There is a reverse correlation regarding income, with those earning the least much more likely to recall brands than those earning the most.
  • Brands making waves: The most commonly recalled brands were the mobile operators themselves, most notably Verizon and AT&T, followed by mobile service providers (ringtones, games, music, dating) and handset manufacturers.

About the data: Limbo’s Mobile Advertising Report, produced in conjunction with Gfk/NOP Research, is produced quarterly and is distributed to marketers. The Q1 2008 report is based on a survey of 1,000 representative American adults interviewed by telephone.

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