Mobile Text Advertising US Response Rates Higher Than Europe’s

September 21, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Creative & Formats | Europe & Middle East | Out-of-Home | Telecom

Though the volume of SMS ads reported by mobile subscribers is lower in the US than in the five leading Western European markets, the US has the highest response rates, according to M:Metrics, which also released its July Benchmark Survey of mobile market metrics (see tables at end of article).

Text-based mobile advertising is nearly ubiquitous in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – with as many as three out of four mobile subscribers reporting they received an ad via SMS, M:Metrics found. Only 17.2% of Americans report receiving SMS ads – but the US had the highest response rate, at 12%, as of July.

“Certainly the level of interaction is impressive compared to almost any advertising vehicle available today,” said Evan Neufeld, senior analyst, M:Metrics. “It is undeniable that text-based mobile advertising is both a highly prevalent and an extremely effective medium for engaging customers.”


Among the findings of the study:

  • The majority of the SMS ads that did not originate from mobile operators were from companies that did not have permission to contact consumers.
  • The lion’s share – fully 73% – of consumers across all geographies said the ads are coming from their mobile service provider.
  • Overall, only 17.5% of subscribers advertised to said they received an ad from a company to which they had given permission; 21.1% reported they were contacted by a company that did not have permission to advertise to them.
  • Germany and Italy were the exception:
    • 22.6% of Italians received ads from a company with permission versus 9.8% without.
    • In Germany, 23.5% had received opt-in SMS ads and 19.9% received ads from other sources.
  • Overall, consumers in the six countries responded most to advertisements for mobile-phone related product and services (either mobile downloads or service plans) and for news and information or entertainment-related services.

“The early days of SMS advertising are similar to the advent of email, which was initially a very effective, high-conversion advertising platform,” said Neufeld. “However, email’s value decreased over time because of over-messaging and spam. Hopefully, the personal nature of the mobile phone will be a barrier against marketers killing the goose that lays the golden egg by taking a similar tack.”

It is not coincidental that the marketplace with the highest prevalence of SMS ads – Spain – also has the lowest level of response, he said. “The trick is to keep interaction as high as possible by keeping the messages targeted, having them come from trusted partners and capping frequency of communication.”

M:Metrics also released its July Benchmark Survey of mobile market metrics:

  • US Mobile subscriber consumption of content and applications:


  • UK Mobile subscriber consumption of content and applications:


The July Benchmark Survey tables for France, Germany, Italy and Spain are available here.


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