Mobile Market Going Up, But It's A Slippery Slope

According to an analysis of BIGresearch's Simultaneous Media Usage Survey of over 22,000 consumers, there's good news and bad news for marketers who are wading into the mobile marketing wars. The good news, says the report, is that the audience for mobile marketing is growing. The bad news is that the audience is still relatively small and confined to a limited segment of the market. Marketers who employ mobile marketing to the wrong consumer group risk turning them off, not on.

Demographically, consumers who like mobile marketing tend to be young men. They are cell phone-centered and more likely to use social media. On the other hand, those who don't like mobile marketing tend to be slightly older women who are not as centered around their cell phone or use social media.

Key Characteristics of Mobile Marketing Users and Non-Users


Mobile Marketing Users

Mobile Marketing Non-Users







Average Age



Online search triggered by cell phone



Communicate about search via cell phone



Download music/video to cell phone



Regularly Use Facebook



Regularly Use MySpace



Regularly Use Twitter



Source: BIGresearch, November 2009

The mobile marketing user segment represents a desirable consumer group for specific products such as electronics. They are much more likely to purchase electronics over the next six months than the non-user group:

  • 22.4% plan to buy a computer (v. 13.1%)
  • 20.2% plan to buy a TV (v. 12.6%)
  • 11.2% plan to buy a digital camera (v. 7.1%)

Other study findings about mobile-marketing users say:

  • They are more likely than non-users to regularly give advice to others about products or services they have purchased
  • They are more likely to regularly seek advice than non-users
  • Their top triggers for online searches are magazines, coupons and cable TV
  • After conducting online search, they are most likely to communicate about it with others via face-to-face, email and cell phone
  • Both mobile marketing users and non-users go to, and - in that order- most often to access or download video/music content
  • They are more likely to visit Facebook, Myspace and Twitter "regularly," vs. non-users.

Additionally, the percentage of people who don't like mobile marketing has increased across the board since June 2008.

  • 66.8% of overall respondents don't like text ads (vs. 63.5% in 2008)
  • 60.2% don't like voicemail ads (vs. 56.8% in 2008)
  • 59.6% don't like video ads (vs. 56.1% in 2008)
  • 58% of people think marketers need permission prior to sending an ad (vs. 55.6% in 2008)
  • 52.1% think mobile ads are an invasion of privacy (vs. 49.5% in 2008).

BIA's Kelsey Group predicts that local mobile advertising will be the next hot trend, particularly in terms of local mobile search.  Local mobile ad revenue will hit more than $3.1 billion in 2013, up from $160 million last year. Mobile search will reach $2.3 billion. Local searches made up 27.8% of all searches in 2008, but are expected to hit 35.1% in 2013, says the Kelsey Group.

The MMA notes that a Universal McCann research study on smartphone usage patterns found that more than a third of high-use smartphone users respond to mobile advertisements. The study found that smartphone users are clicking on ads (53%), requesting more information or a coupon (35%) and making purchases via their handsets (24%). Some 82% of respondents report they use mobile devices at work. 81% use them while shopping.

Gary Drenik concludes that "... cell phones are perceived by consumers as a very personal form of media... unwanted messaging could be interpreted as an invasion of privacy. There is a risk... of turning consumers off and have a negative impact on ROI."

 For additional information from BIGresearch, please visit here.

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