July 01, 2008

Mobile advertising has been the next big thing for a while now. But although text messaging is popular among young adults, the 160-character format has yet to become a mass influencer.

Still, consumers who respond to mobile ads are most likely to engage with text messages, according to a survey of mobile users ages 15 and older in the US by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). Seven out of 10 respondents to the DMA's "Mobile Marketing: Consumer Perspectives" study who had acted on mobile ads said that text messages for a product or service had prompted their actions.

That was more than three times as many as responded to a mobile Web offer or coupon.

But even text messaging is not about to replace other marketing mainstays such as e-mail or direct mail. In fact, only 1% of US Internet users surveyed in February 2008 by ExactTarget picked text messaging as their channel of choice for opt-in communications. Instead, the medium is better-suited for targeting specific audiences, and as part of multichannel campaigns.

Text messaging may not dominate mobile advertising as more mobile users with sophisticated phones and data plans come into the fold (think iPhone and its ilk). Yet the simplicity and compatibility of texting is likely to ensure its long-term appeal in the same way text-based e-mail has remained viable.

In the meantime, the bigger issue is when mobile advertising will become a common campaign tactic. For most marketers and advertisers, mobile is still only getting experimental budget at most.

Mobile advertising's toddler status was reflected in a February 2008 iMedia Connection survey of US online marketers. Although about one-quarter of respondents said they were open-minded enough to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to use mobile ads this year, more than two-thirds said they would do no more than dabble in the channel.

Still, "excitement about mobile advertising is building," said John du Pre Gauntt, senior analyst at eMarketer. "Even those who currently discount mobile do so from the perspective of timing or tactics, not so much because of the inherent attraction of the idea."

Courtesy of http://www.emarketer.com

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