A NEW REPORT BY NIELSEN Mobile suggests that consumers are gradually warming to mobile advertising. Among the findings: nearly one-quarter of all U.S. mobile subscribers )23%) say they have viewed mobile advertising in the last 30 days.
The Nielsen study also found the number of mobile data users who recalled seeing advertising jumped 38%--from 42 million to 58 million between the second and fourth quarters of 2007.
Furthermore, more than half of mobile data subscribers )51%) who saw an ad responded to it by sending a text-message, clicking on it, or calling a specific number. )Nielsen estimates 199 million Americans use some type of non-voice mobile service from text-messaging to video streaming.)
"We're seeing growing receptivity by consumers to mobile advertising," said Jeff Herrmann, vice president of mobile media at Nielsen Mobile. While only 10% of data users said they find mobile advertising acceptable, "an increasing number of mobile users understand that mobile devices and mobile content will become more robust if driven by an advertising model."
In short, data subscribers are more willing to accept advertising in exchange for lower costs or better content. In that vein, 32% said they're open to mobile advertising if it lowers their overall bill, while 13% will welcome it if it boosts the quality of their mobile media offerings. And 23% expect to see more mobile advertising in the future--up from 15% at the start of 2007.
Herrmann noted that the recent round of flat-rate, unlimited plans introduced by the major carriers, especially Sprint's $100 plan including voice and data, could help broaden the mobile media audience. "Advertising as a revenue stream is something that's more realistic than a year or two ago," he said.
In analyzing the mobile audience, Nielsen found that teens were the most likely to recall seeing some type of mobile ad )46% compared to 29% of data users overall.) Asian-Americans and African-Americans were among other demographic groups with high recall rates, at 42% and 40%, respectively. Whites, by contrast, had only a 24% recall rate.
Still, Herrmann cautioned against overstating the advance of mobile advertising at this point. "It's a big opportunity, but it's still in the very nascent stages."
The Nielsen study was based on a survey of more than 22,000 active mobile data users who used at least one non-voice service in the fourth quarter of 2007. Participants were asked about responses to banner ads, text ads, and video advertising, among other mobile formats.