About 37.4% of college students said it would only take the offer of a free ring tone for them to accept advertisements on their cell phones, while 21.4% preferred a discount or coupon to a restaurant, movie or grocery store and 20% wanted free minutes, upgrades, access to the Internet or music.
While it's unclear whether the research is representative of the national population, Hanley says it at least indicates some important changes among the college crowd.
"Just a couple of years ago few college students accepted ads on their mobile devices because they felt it was an invasion of their privacy," Hanley said. "Now all you have to do is offer free ring tones, cash or access to the Internet because this age group has grown up with cell phones and other mobile devices. It is the way they communicate with each other as well as with the outside world."
The study also found 36.7% of college students received a text message advertisement in 2007, up 13% from 2005. College students are less worried today about how a business obtains its cell phone or mobile device contact information. The percentage of students who said they were "very concerned" dropped by 25%, while "concerned a little" fell by 33%.