ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

More than 100M Americans viewed mobile ads in Q3: Study

Mobile social network Limbo and market research agency GfK Technology have released their latest Mobile Advertising Report.

The third-quarter report reveals that mobile advertising awareness grew 33 percent in nine months against a backdrop of 6 percent growth in mobile phone usage. This suggests an increased allocation of advertising dollars to mobile formats through the first nine months of the year.

"The top-level findings from the report are that mobile is growing in the U.S. and the growth of the awareness of mobile ads is significantly higher, indicating that mobile ads are reaching mass market," said Rob Lawson, cofounder and chief marketing officer of Limbo, Burlingame, CA.

"Just like data services are dominated by text messaging and the mobile Web, it's the same for mobile advertising -- mobile advertising is still dominated by SMS-based content, so while the medium is growning, don't be afraid to use low-tech strategies like SMS," he said.

Nearly four out of 10 Americans with a mobile phone -- 104 million -- recall seeing advertising on their mobile device between July and September 2008.

This is the first time the number of Americans aware of mobile advertising has exceeded 100 million in a three-month period.

The most commonly viewed ads were in text messages, with 60 million consumers having recalled seeing text message-based ads, an increase of 42 percent in nine months.

Mobile Web advertising also grew strongly, but with 31 million people recalling this format, it has about half the reach of text-messaging ads.

The profile of people recalling mobile advertising offers few surprises.

The gender breakdown was 57 percent male to 43 percent female.

As far as age is concerned, 52 percent are between 35 and 64 years of age, 28 percent are aged 50 and above and 43 percent are under 34.

Their ethnic profile is also similar to the overall U.S. population -- 68 percent Caucasian, 20 percent African-American and 12 percent Hispanic.

"As the medium matures, the profile of people viewing mobile advertising increasingly looks like the population as a whole," Mr. Lawson said. "Mobile is more than a niche medium to reach teens, because a broad segment of people are looking at ads on their handset."

The U.S. is the world's dominant advertising market, but has traditionally been behind Asian and European markets in terms of consumer use of mobile devices.

The latest Mobile Advertising Report shows that U.S. consumers are accelerating their use of the mobile device and advertisers are hot on their trail, using the medium to reach consumers in new ways.

In economic slowdowns, advertisers typically divert budgets from branding media to direct marketing channels, and it appears that mobile media is benefiting from this in 2008.

Mobile offers advertisers a way to reach their core audience in an interactive and cost-effective medium.

Limbo said it anticipates that these numbers will continue to grow as more and more advertisers experience firsthand the benefits of mobile advertising.

The Limbo-GfK Technology Mobile Advertising Report is a tool used to help marketers and their agencies understand the fast-changing mobile advertising medium.

The report is produced quarterly and is distributed free to marketers.

The third-quarter 2008 report is based on a survey of 1,000 representative American adults and 1,000 British adults interviewed by telephone.

Limbo, founded in 2005, claims to be the largest, fastest-growing mobile community in the U.S., with more than 3 million members and a monthly reach of more than 5 million people.

Limbo is free for everyone to use and is paid for by mobile advertising.

"Limbo's marketing strategy is based on a mixture of viral growth, with members telling other members, mobile advertising and our relationships with carriers," Mr. Lawson said. "We work with most tier-one and tier-two carriers."

Limbo is on-deck with wireless carriers Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Virgin Mobile USA and Alltel.

Limbo's has worked with the Versus TV network, Warner Bros., Microsoft, Nokia, Disney, PNG, Sony and Sega, serving mobile advertising on its mobile social network to drive people into call centers and WAP pages.

The privately held company is backed by three venture capital funds, Azure Capital Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and New Enterprises Associates.

With a global team of 200-plus research professionals in 40 countries, GfK Technology is a provider of tailored consumer- and business-related research services to the technology, telecommunications, media and entertainment industries.

As these sectors continue to converge and evolve, the opportunities for the industry players are huge.

However, they face many challenges, including increasingly complex markets, new types of competition and the need to carefully manage growth and diversification.

At the same time, consumers and businesses are becoming more demanding, sophisticated and influential in the way that they choose, buy and use technology, data and content, increasingly on the move.

"We team up with GfK for the field work -- they make the calls and collect the data," Mr. Lawson said.

"We do mobile Web ads, WAP ads, graphical ads, text links, text-message-based ads, immersive ads in iPhone applications and ads in map-based friend finders, bar finders and restaurant finders, as well as a daily video game show for Verizon that has advertising in it," he said.

"It's a two-minute game show format that features brands as prizes. We wrap the product into the content, integrate the two things together so the branding is more effective."