Study: Ad Clutter Mounts On Cell Phones, But Reception Is Better

When it comes to advertising, familiarity apparently breeds acceptance. A new study by Ball State University found that more college students are receiving cell phone ads now than at the beginning of the year. And, as the frequency of ads has increased, the students' irritation with the intrusion has ebbed.

For the report, Ball State University advertising instructor Michael Hanley surveyed 669 college students last month. Nearly one in three of the respondents reported receiving ads on their mobile phones, up from one in four in February.

The recent study also found that about one-third of those who received mobile ads found them annoying, but that proportion was down from February, when 92 percent of recipients found the ads aggravating.

Most students--51 percent--said they don't want ads on their cell phones, but others indicated that they could be persuaded to accept marketing messages. Twenty-nine percent said they would consider agreeing to ads in exchange for something free--like ringtones, extra minutes, upgrades, or access to the Web.

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In a sign that coupons or other discounts might be a good use of mobile marketing efforts, two-thirds of respondents said that cash might make them more favorably disposed toward the ads. Twenty-eight percent of that group said 25 cents would suffice, while 60 percent said they would require at least $1 per ad.

Twenty percent of respondents said they had received a mobile ad from a person or company they didn't know, which seems to indicate that some companies are violating a Federal Communications Commission rule that bans marketers from sending ads to mobile devices without owners' opt-in consent.

The study also found that about 96 percent of students own a cell phone, and almost 70 percent have Internet access on their mobile phones.

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