Mobile phones the final frontier for advertising

Games more popular than ringtones

In this age of 24x7 communication devices and mass marketing, it's no surprise to learn that the mobile phone is emerging as the final frontier for advertisers.

The high adoption of mobile devices has led to organizations like MasterCard International testing mobile phone payment systems, this of course will be used to support mobile content.

A survey released by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) yesterday, found 39 percent of mobile phone users are willing to receive mobile advertising.

Recognizing user acceptance of mobile advertising will influence mobile content consumption habits, the AIMIA released the Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index, which researches the mobile advertising market and is sponsored by m.Net Corporation and Ideal Interfaces.

Only 32 percent of those surveyed like using their phones beyond voice and SMS. The survey also shows that those who purchase content tend to purchase a significant amount of it and the past year saw a huge increase in consumers downloading digital music (600 percent) and videos (400 percent). This is the third edition of the report, which was first compiled in May 2005, and almost 4000 people from across Australia took part in the latest edition of the online survey. Consumers connected to mobile operators offering advanced interactive services were shown to increase content purchasing habits, with a significant number (47 percent ) of 3 customers for example, stating they had paid for content over the last twelve months compared to just 22 percent of Optus customers in second place.

AIMIA CEO, John Butterworth, said this year the top three types of content purchased by consumers are games (42 percent), true tones (38 percent) and polyphonic ringtones (37 percent) which suggests a change from last year's results where polyphonic ringtones and wallpapers were the most popular choices. The report shows that consumers are becoming savvier, with 68 percent of respondents saying they wanted to choose between paying for content and having advertising subsidise it, a similar model to commercial TV.

Around 30 percent of respondents said they would accept subsidised content or advertisements for free, over one quarter of respondents (26 percent) indicating that they would only accept ads if they could opt out. Following the launch of 3G last year, the number of respondents who claimed their phone was 3G has more than doubled, from 11 percent to 30 percent, since survey two was carried out in early 2006. Mobile usability specialist from Ideal Interfaces, Oliver Weidlich said, the Index clearly shows that there is a long way to go in making mobile services relevant, useful and easy to access for the general mobile phone customer.

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Sandra Rossi

Computerworld

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