Mobile Advertising Key to Reaching Consumers in Economic Downturn

May 29, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Email | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Despite rising fuel and food prices, over one-third of consumers say the economy will not affect their spending habits – so most say it will – and one way for advertisers to grab consumers’ attention in such times may be via their mobile devices, according to a new study.

For marketers interested in reaching fickle consumers during this economic downturn, there’s hope in that 41% consumer say they have no plans to stop or cut-back on the purchase of cell phones, found a Harris Interactive study on people’s attitudes toward the economy and technology.

Most (60%) of consumers who say they will limit their discretionary spending will curtail going out to restaurants (74%) and purchasing electronics (71%), among other choices like buying fewer clothes and taking fewer vacations.

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Meanwhile, the use of mobile phones has become an indispensable part of their lives for many, and many are even severing ties to landlines: 16% of US homes are using wireless phones exclusively – more than double the number from four years ago, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

These trends support the push by marketers to leverage mobile advertising as part of an integrated marketing program to promote their brands and sell products and services, Harris analysts conclude.

Mobile Advertising Findings

Mobile advertising can gain a foothold if it is unobtrusive, targeted toward an individual’s personal tastes and offers something unique, Harris said:

  • Among teens surveyed, over half (56%) said they would be interested in viewing mobile ads with incentives, while over one-third (37%) of adults noted that they would be receptive to such advertising.

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  • As the best mobile advertising incentive, cash is king, with 80% of adults and 70% of teens identifying it as the top incentive for responding to mobile advertising:
    • Entertainment downloads (61%), free music (57%) and complimentary minutes (53%) also are popular incentives among teens.
    • Among adults, free minutes (49%) and discount coupons (37%) are appealing incentives. Free entertainment (31%) and music (24%) downloads also captured the attention of adults.
  • As for types of ads preferred, adults tend to favor dining deals (53%) whereas teens are interested in outdoor activities, travel and entertainment (70%).

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  • Text messaging is the most preferred advertising approach for over two-thirds (69% of adults and 64% of teens) of consumers:
    • Teens are more willing to accept advertising images on their mobile phones (47%), versus adults (35%).
    • The allure of video imagery in mobile advertising is down 10% among adults from last year, but adults are now more open to ads’ being transferred automatically to their email (30%) than in the past.
  • Providing personal information to marketers to help them target advertising messages and products has always been a sensitive topic, but more than half (54%) of adult respondents say they are comfortable doing so for mobile advertisers, especially if offered for the right incentive.
    • Others agree, but want to choose who sees this information (21%).
    • Teens, surprisingly, are guarded about their personal information – only 35% would divulge it, even if an incentive is offered, and 25% say they would never provide personal information.

About the data (pdf): The 2008 Consumer Acceptance of Mobile Advertising study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive in February 2008 among 1,000 US adults age 18 and over and 200 teenagers age 13-17. The 2008 Telecom Report was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive in April 2008 among 1,000 US adults age 18 and over. The data were weighted to reflect the US population.

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