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Upstream and YouGov Research Shows Consumers Unmoved by Mobile Display Content

LONDON, 14th FEBRUARY 2011 – In spite of the current industry hype around mobile ad networks, only a minority of UK consumers claim to have clicked on a mobile display advert, according to independent research commissioned by Upstream and conducted by YouGov, which polled 2,198 consumers.

Broadcast, ‘one-to-many’ tactics unsuited to mobile

The 2011 Upstream Mobile Marketing Report found that just 14 per cent of consumers have ever clicked on a mobile display banner, with the figure rising to 23 per cent amongst smartphone users.

However, most worrying for the mobile advertising industry are the figures showing that one third (32 per cent) of mobile users and nearly 50 per cent of smartphone users (47 per cent)say that they find mobile banners to be an ‘irritation’.

The data also reveals that branded or advertising applications are even less likely to influence consumers, with just seven per cent having ever knowingly downloaded an application designed for advertising purposes.

Upstream CEO Alex Vratskides commented: “As smartphone penetration and mobile advertising spend grows, there’s clearly a very important role for mobile display advertising but it’s vital to realise that, like all advertising, it is only ever as good as the relevance of the messages it delivers.”

“When considering mobile’s role in the marketing mix, the key point is that it is not a one-to-many broadcast or volume-driven medium. Marketers need to base their thinking around mobile’s inherent limitations and advantages – devices will always involve small screens but it will always be a deeply personal medium. To play to its strengths, personalisation and intimacy must come into the equation. Consumers have zero tolerance for spamming or advert bombardment.”

“Even for smartphone owners, mobile internet experiences are typically of a short duration and generate only brief engagement – people don’t spend hours browsing the mobile web the same way as they would with a PC. As such, mobile display advertising cannot follow the same rules of traditional web display. Marketers focus must be on effectiveness and personalisation – actual response rates rather than total reach. ”

Intimate, short-text messages generate best response

The research indicates that the most effective mobile marketing medium for eliciting direct consumer response is SMS. When asked what medium would make them most likely to respond fastest to a relevant deal or offer, 15 per cent cited SMS messaging while just three per cent said mobile banner advertising and 2 per cent in-application advertising.

Interestingly the percentage of people who said they would be likely to respond fastest to SMS messages was subject to a 40 per cent increase among smartphone owners (25 per cent).

Vratskides continued: “Whether it be on SMS, Twitter or display advertising, for the time being, it seems clear that the most effective means of marketing to consumers via mobile will be through personalised, short and contextual messages. The bottom line is that mobile is most effective when viewed as a direct response medium – as such marketers need to be wary of metrics like total reach, or impressions delivered, and concentrate on contextualisation; getting the right messages to the right people at the right time and, ideally, when they’re in the right place. Succinct calls-to-action, that can be completed in seconds rather than minutes and that don’t require downloads will always offer the best chance of success.”


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2198 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29th November – 1st December 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Press contacts
Alasdair Townsend
Diffusion PR
020 7025 1504

Laura Nettley
Diffusion PR
020 7025 1506




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