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Some 23% of US mobile subscribers (or 58 million people) say they have seen mobile advertising in the previous 30 days – and half of mobile data users (51%, or 28 million people) who recall seeing a mobile ad say they responded to the ad in some way, according to a Nielsen study.

However, just 10% of US mobile data (e.g., text-messaging) users say they think advertising on their mobile devices is acceptable – but an increasing number appear to understand the value proposition of ad-supported mobile content, Nielsen said.

Some 32% of mobile data users say they are open to mobile advertising if it lowers their overall bill, according to the survey.

“Increasing levels of consumer recall, interaction and receptivity to mobile advertising reinforce the validity of the mobile marketing medium,” said Jeff Herrmann, VP of Mobile Media at Nielsen Mobile.

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Interestingly, nearly 1 in 10 of the mobile users who saw mobile ads used the uniquely mobile marketing feature of “click to call” at least once (see above chart). That feature offers mobile marketers the opportunity to bring mobile users through the sales channel and engage them further at the very moment they view the marketing message.

The findings are from the bi-annual Mobile Advertising Report from Nielsen Mobile and are based on a survey of more than 22,000 active mobile data users who used at least one non-voice mobile service in the fourth quarter.

Among other findings of the study:

  • The number of data users who recalled seeing mobile advertising between the second and fourth quarters of 2007 increased 38% (from 42 million to 58 million).
  • Teen data users (age 13-17) were the most likely age segment to recall seeing mobile advertising (46% recalled seeing some type of mobile advertisement, compared with 29% of all data users).
  • Asian-Americans and African-Americans are more likely to recall mobile advertising (42% and 40%, respectively, compared with 29% of all data users).
  • 26% of those who saw an ad responded at least once by sending an SMS text message, the most popular ad response.
  • 9% say they have used click-to-call to respond to a mobile ad (i.e., users follow a link on their phone to call a specific number).
  • 13% (18% of males) said they are open to mobile advertising if it improves the media and content currently available.
  • 14% said they are already open to mobile advertising so long as it is relevant to their interests.
  • 23% expect to see more mobile advertising in the future (up from just 15% in Q1 2007).

About the study: Nielsen’s Mobile Advertising Report examines consumer recall, responses and attitudes toward banner ads on mobile web pages, SMS text-message advertising, sponsored applications, video advertising and other types of advertising that reach consumers while using data applications on their mobile phones.

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