College Students Growing More Receptive to Mobile Ads

August 1, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Media & Entertainment | Out-of-Home | Telecom | Youth & Gen X

College students are growing increasingly receptive to receiving advertising via text messages on their cell phones and other mobile devices – so much so that more than half would consider it – according to a new study from Ball State University (via TheStarPress).

Some 56.3% of survey respondents said they would accept ads if they were to get something free in return, said Michael Hanley, a Ball State advertising professor and mobile marketing researcher, who conducted an analysis of mobile communications by college students during 2005-07.

Among the survey findings:

  • 37.4% of college students said it would only take the offer of a free ring tone for them to accept advertisements on their cell phones.
  • 21.4% preferred a discount or coupon to a restaurant, movie or grocery store.
  •  20% wanted free minutes, upgrades, access to the internet or music.

 “Just a couple of years ago few college students accepted ads on their mobile devices because they felt it was an invasion of their privacy,” Hanley said. “Now all you have to do is offer free ring tones, cash or access to the Internet because this age group has grown up with cell phones and other mobile devices. It is the way they communicate with each other as well as with the outside world.”

Some other findings from the study:

  • 36.7% of college students had received a text message advertisement in 2007, up 13% from 2005.
  • College students are less worried today about how a business obtains their cell phone or mobile device contact information:
    • The percentage of those who said they were “very concerned” dropped 25%
    • The percentage of those saying they were “concerned a little” fell 33%.
  • The study also found that cell phones are being used less today for talking and more for entertainment than in 2005:
    • The number of college students with cell phones with video cameras increased 33%.
    • 40% of respondents sent photos via cell phone or email in 2007, up 10%.
    • 10% sent videos to another cell phone or email addresses in 2007, up 7%.
    • 50% said they had downloaded a ring tone in 2007, up from 8.5%.
    • 20% have downloaded wallpapers or screensavers, an increase of 18.1%.

“It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of the mobile industry because college students are early adapters,” Hanley said. “It is hard to find a college student without a cell phone or another mobile communications device.”

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