Mobile Ads Reach 76.8 Million in Q2, Response Rates Flat

September 22, 2008

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Though 76.8 million US mobile users recall viewing ads on their mobile phones in Q2, mobile advertising has not kept pace with the rapid growth of mobile media consumption and ad response rates are flat, according to a report (pdf) from Nielsen Mobile.

Below, additional findings from the report, “Realizing Potential: Overcoming Barriers to the US Mobile Advertising Market.”

As of Q2, there were 258.9 million wireless lines in the US, of which 69% (178.6 million) used their phone for at least one data service and 76.8 million subscribers recall seeing some form of mobile advertising while using their mobile phone, up 81% year-over-year.

In Q2 2007, 23% of mobile data users recalled seeing some form of advertisement, and by Q2 2008, that numer rose to 30%.


When looking at users across different types of media:


  • Mobile internet users (57%) said they had seen mobile ads while browsing the mobile internet, up slightly from Q4 2007 (53%).
  • 54% of viewers remember seeing text ads via SMS.
  • 34% of ad viewers saw an ad during Q2 2008 while watching mobile video, compared with 29% two quarters prior.

However, 63% of mobile ad viewers see mobile ads just once a month or less frequently. In addition, mobile advertising is present on less than two-thirds of website homepage pageviews across leading mobile websites, and roughly half of that is unpaid house advertising.

Overall response rates to mobile advertising also appear flat. In Q2, 13% of mobile data users (45% of those who saw a mobile ad) report responding to it in some way. This compares with 12% of all data users (52% of those who saw an ad) who responded in Q2 2007.

According to Nielsen, three factors are holding back the mobile advertising market:

  1. Unawareness of audience size: Advertisers and agencies aren’t yet fully aware of the sizes of mobile content audiences, particularly at the channel level.
  2. Complexity of the ecosystem: Many marketers are hesitant to enter the space because they see it as a complex marketing environment with a steep learning curve and technical hurdles that reduce ad-buy efficiency.
  3. Lack of trust in the medium: Advertisers are reluctant to enter into mobile because they don’t trust consumer receptivity, ROI and their ability to track performance.

Despite these hurdles, the market can still grow considerably once advertisers understand the audience’s critical mass, achieve greater focus in their efforts and develop more disciplined ROI and measurement for the medium, Nielsen said

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