This Nielsen study provides some very encouraging mobile web advertising statistics. Surprisingly, 23% (58 million) of mobile web users recall being exposed to ads on their phones within the past 30 days. Of the ad-aware audience, 51% said they took some action and responded to the ad. The non-voice ad units measured include: 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.
These numbers seem to indicate a very strong response rate for mobile ads. However, much more research needs to be done. Some of the immediate questions in my mind are:
- Are the results skewed by early adopters that may not be representative of larger demographic groups?
- Will the response rates slow down as the novelty of mobile ads wears off and the medium becomes more cluttered?
- Does response rate vary based on ad unit, targeting methods or relevance to the content?
- How did users find the ad-supported content? Did the referral source impact ad response rates?
The most popular ad response was sending a text message to the advertiser to receive content or new apps (26%). 9% of respondents used click-to-call to connect with advertisers.
Mobile users are a ripe audience for marketers but we must be careful not to overextend our boundaries. Less than 1/3 of mobile internet users are willing to view ads if it lowers their monthly data plan bills, and only 23% expect to see more mobile ads in the future. Marketers should recognize that consumers regard mobile devices as extremely personal and private devices, as reflected by the low percentage (10%) of data users that think advertising on their mobile devices is acceptable. Just as users have grown accustomed to ads on TV, radio and the internet, consumers will eventually grow used to seeing ads on the mobile web.
Until then, my best advice is to create something of value to offer mobile web users. Don’t try to force-fit your traditional marketing plans into a medium that was made for interactivity.