Wireless Advertising Gets Support from Consumers

Wireless phones may indeed join newspapers, radio, and television as a sponsored delivery medium for information, shopping, and entertainment services, according to a study of voice and wireless commerce conducted by The Kelsey Group and ConStat, Inc.

The “Wireless Commerce Monitor” found that wireless users are ready to treat their phones as advertiser-sponsored sources of frequently needed information, such as traffic reports, news, weather, stocks, and email, including promotional messages. In the study, almost 50 percent of wireless users who indicated a payment preference for receiving wireless information said they would opt for an advertising-supported model over a monthly or per-use, fee-based model.

“This marks the next step in the inexorable move toward advertiser-supported delivery of free services to the fast growing market wireless market,” said Neal Polachek, senior vice president of research and consulting at The Kelsey Group. “It also indicates that local advertisers are connecting the dots and expect to be able to beam their marketing messages to targeted, wireless users.”

The study also found that small businesses that advertise are considerably more interested in mobile advertising today than they were 12 months. Since the first wave of the research was conducted last year, interest levels have nearly tripled, jumping from 8 percent to nearly 30 percent.

“We’re witnessing the birth of wireless media,” said Daniel Miller, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group. “The early users of enhanced wireless services expect advertising to keep services free-of-charge. Both national and local marketers will take advantage of the new media’s ability to deliver more targeted advertising and promotions based on both personal preferences and geographic location.”

Text advertising on wireless devices got a vote of confidence recently thanks to one European study that positive consumer response to an SMS message.

A study by Engage UK and mobile Internet company Quios that examined consumer acceptance of wireless text advertising found a positive response rate among 79 percent of participants and an average 60 percent recall rate of the trial’s three participating big brand sponsors.

The study, which originated in the UK, examined results from Quios’ Euro 2000 SMS Alert service, which it offered its members in June of 2000. The service delivered more than 2.5 million message alerts, delivered to more than 30,000 cell phones in more than 100 nations. The alerts were sent to notify consumers when goals were scored by their favorite team, or to send final scores of the soccer tournament. The alerts were sponsored by Sega Dreamcast, Grolsch Beer, and Sports.com. Third-party research firm Harvey Research surveyed 500 mobile phone users who signed up for the service.

“The explosion of wireless mobile devices presents a phenomenal new business opportunity for marketing service providers,” said Paul Schaut, President and CEO of Engage. “Wireless presents us with an ideal opportunity to understand the customer and to deliver ads and promotions to match their needs.”

internet.com’s Wireless Services survey, a survey of more than 1,000 Internet professionals, found that 86 percent of its respondents consider advertising on wireless devices to be intrusive. But when asked how they would feel about wireless marketing if it helped reduce the cost of their wireless services, 50 percent warmed to the idea of accepting advertising messages.

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