Survey: Mobile Users Most Receptive To Paid-Search Ads

An Ingenio sponsored survey conducted by Harris Interactive, released today, captured a broad range of user attitudes and behaviors toward mobile phones and mobile advertising. The survey polled just over 4,000 adults in the US. Among other things, it confirmed that more people own mobile phones than landlines and that users were most receptive to the equivalent of paid-search ads vs. other types of mobile advertising.

Below are some of the highlights from the survey findings.

Forty-nine percent of mobile phone owners currently use their phones for more than just making and receiving phone calls. However the study found that 57 percent of respondents anticipated using their phones for more than just making and receiving phone calls in the next three years.

The study found that men are more likely than women to use their phones to check email, access the Internet for something other than search and find information using an mobile search engine. By contrast, women were more likely than men to use their phones to send or receive text messages and to take/send/receive photos.

The survey confirmed an existing data point: that there are now more mobile phones than landlines. According to the findings, more than four out of five U.S. adults (85 percent) own a mobile phone vs. seven in ten (71 percent) who have a landline. That becomes a bigger gap among younger users (18-34), where 89 percent own a mobile phone and only 57 percent have a landline.

Younger mobile phone owners are also more likely than to be receptive to mobile ads. The study found that only 30 percent of mobile phone users recall seeing or hearing an advertisement on their mobile phones in the past 12 months. In asking about different forms of mobile advertising, the survey discovered the most favorable response was to sponsored links following a mobile Web search. This was then followed by audio ads that play while waiting for someone to answer a call or text ads.

Other surveys have shown that mobile users are resistant to advertising unless they perceive ads to be “relevant,” which is consistent with the sponsored links finding above.

Ingenio provides mobile sponsored links and audio ads to Microsoft, 1-800-Free411, AOL Mobile, JumpTap and Medio Systems.

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Search Ads: Mobile Search | Search Marketing: Mobile | Stats: General | Stats: Search Behavior


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Winooski

    “The survey polled just over 4,000 U.S. mobile phone owners. Among other things, it confirmed that more people own mobile phones than landlines”

    Wait, isn’t that like saying, “A survey of 4,000 Chevrolet owners confirms that more people own Chevy’s than any other brand”?

  • Danny Sullivan

    Good point! I double-checked the release. It was a survey of over 4,000 adults, not 4,000 mobile phone users. Of those 4,000 adults, 85 percent had a cell phone compared to 71 percent with a landline.

  • Chris Parente

    But we’ve got a long way to go. Only 7% said they ever use their phone for searching. See link for AdWeek’s negative take.

    IMHO the first kind of effective marketing that will really prove successful on phones will be direct marketing, relevant coupons, that sort of thing, rather than advertising. But maybe if millions pay $600 for an iPhone that could change.

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