Most of the UK's consumers now believe that the growth of mobile advertising is inevitable, but there are conditions attached to its acceptance, according to research commissioned by mobile marketing technology firm Velti.
The survey, which polled more than 1,600 mobile phone users about their usage habits, found that the majority of British consumers are beginning to accept that mobile marketing and advertising will continue to increase in popularity, but that they also have a clear message for any marketers hoping to make use of the medium: "we want something in return".
Mobile ads gaining support
The study found that, while 80% of adults initially said that they did not wish to receive advertising on their mobile phones, 56% of all respondents agreed that they would support mobile marketing and advertising campaigns if it was on an opt-in basis and was also in exchange for incentives or rewards, such as cash rewards, free airtime minutes, or other relevant special offers from brands.
"This clearly shows that, although consumers expect mobile marketing and advertising to grow in popularity, brands using the medium to communicate with target groups will need to offer consumers added value to be successful," said Alex Moukas, co-founder and CEO for Velti. "Learning how to incentivise and reward participants is key. Consumers understand their value in the chain, so campaigns that fail to offer anything relevant or beneficial will at best be treated indifferently. At the worst, they may create negative feelings toward the brand."
Consumers' favourite rewards
According to the research, cash is the most popular reward with 50% of respondents admitting that hard currency is the key to securing their support. Next on the incentive wish list was free airtime minutes, free text messages, or free mobile data, with 40% of respondents citing these as an attractive reward for receiving advertising or marketing messages. Finally, 22% of respondents cited location based services (such as local restaurant reviews) as a worthwhile reward for opting to receive mobile marketing communications.
Despite nearly 60% of all respondents agreeing that incentivised marketing and advertising campaigns were attractive, 55% of mobile users over 45 were determined that nothing would encourage them to engage with mobile marketing campaigns. This was in contrast to only 29% of under 24s opposing the use of their mobile phone as a commercial channel.
Exchange of value
Chris Kaskavelis, Velti's COO and co-founder, explained: "It's understandable that financial rewards such as cash and free minutes are attractive propositions for consumers, but the reality is that great value is also derived from timely and relevant communications. If you receive information that fits with the context of your personal environment, such as location based services or community-oriented communications, it can be just as rewarding. Advertising and marketing through mobile phones has to be more about consumer intent than about getting a specific number of screen impressions."
And according to Mark Fallows, director of digital content for McCann Erickson, "Mobile advertising and marketing has opened up a channel for brands seeking to engage consumers in a more contextually relevant manner. The fact that consumers are becoming increasingly open to mobile marketing medium is an encouraging and timely development."