Researcher Finds Increasing Acceptance Of Cell Phone Ads

As a debate wages on Madison Avenue whether consumers will tolerate advertising over mobile phones, a leading academic who has been studying the subject has released new findings suggesting that a sample of technically oriented college students are growing increasingly receptive to text message ads on their cell phones and other mobile devices. The research, the latest in an ongoing series of tracking studies being conducted by Ball State University advertising professor Michael Hanley, found that 56.3% of the students he has tracked over a two-year period accepted ads if they would get something for free - such as premium content or consumer promotions - in exchange.

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%.

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