New Smartphone Ad Formats Fuel Higher Awareness

May 15, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Media & Entertainment | Telecom | Videogames

Nearly four in 10 (38%) US mobile phone owners, and 59% of iPhone owners recall seeing advertising on their phones in Q109, according to a research report from Brightkite and GfK Technology, which found that advertising awareness has grown 10% quarter-over-quarter.


The Q1 Mobile Advertising Report (MAR), found that among smartphone users, including those who use the iPhone, the number-one ad format is mobile web advertising, while for regular cell phone users, it is SMS.

The most striking finding, Brightkite said, is the increased breadth of mobile ad formats that consumers, and iPhone owners in particular, are noticing. Nearly one-fourth (23%) of smartphone users recall seeing SMS advertising, while 20% see ads in mobile social networks and 15% see ads in mobile TV/video. This means that in just three months, the number of smartphone users seeing ads inside a location-based network has almost tripled to 15%.

At current growth rates, Brightkite expects to see some of these newer formats surpass mobile web and/or SMS in 2009.

Mobile Services Gain Momentum

The report also found that, in addition to being more aware of mobile advertising, cell phone users are quickly adopting a much broader set of mobile services:


  • 14% now use one or more location-based services (peaking at 38% of iPhone users).
  • 10% use a mobile social network (33% of iPhone users).
  • The fastest growing application for iPhone users is games, which experiences a 21% growth quarter over quarter. Brightkite stated that 50% of iPhone owners are now playing games on their phone.

“Over the last few years, we’ve tracked the growth of mobile advertising, and this has been fueled by text messaging and mobile internet formats. Now we are seeing consumers adopting a much broader set of mobile applications and services and this is exposing them to new ad formats,” said Jonathon Linner, Brightkite’s CEO. “It’s fascinating to see that iPhone users are almost as likely to see ads in a mobile social network as they are in a text message. This was unthinkable 12 months ago.”

“If the iPhone is an indicator of future behavior across other handsets, then we would conclude that the former ‘standards’ of mobile advertising – WAP and SMS – are going to be caught up to and perhaps surpassed by ads inside of other applications and services,” said Colin Strong, head of mobile communications research at GfK Technology.

Related research from Greystripe found that rich media Flash ads for the iPhone are being well received and that 80% of Greystripe users would consider downloading more ad-supported mobile games and apps.

About the report: The Brightkite-GfK Technology MAR is produced quarterly and is distributed free to marketers. The Q109 report is based on a representative sample of 1,000 American adults interviewed by telephone.

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