Caution: College Kids PO’d Over Text Ads

Discussion
Jun 30, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A lot has been made about the opportunity of using mobile marketing
with younger consumers. One of the elements of this topic that perhaps is not
given enough attention is the opportunity for mobile marketing to seriously
tick off kids.

A study of primarily female college students by Ball State University,
as reported on by eMarketer, found that the majority has seen text ads
on their phones. Forty percent of them, however, were annoyed to receive the
ad. Just above one percent (no typo) were pleased and roughly 18 percent were
neutral.

Really troubling for marketers is that 30 percent who received text
ads said it made it less likely they would purchase the product. Fewer than
five percent said a text ad makes purchasing more likely.

Getting these consumers
to accept text ads requires some wheeling and dealing. Thirty-seven percent
said they would accept ads if they got something at no extra cost in return.
The eMarketer piece mentioned ringtones and free
music as valued currency. Even better, two-thirds would be willing to receive
text ads if they were paid to read them. A dollar-a-pop was mentioned as the
desired going-rate to read text ads.

Coupons, the closest thing that many brands
have to giving away money, were less attractive to the Ball State kids with
49.1 percent willing to accept them via text. Discounts to restaurants and
movie theater were most likely to be accepted by the survey’s respondents.

Discussion Questions: Do marketers fully appreciate the social aspect of text
messaging with college-age kids? How should this understanding shape the types
of communications marketers send to these consumers?

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11 Comments on "Caution: College Kids PO’d Over Text Ads"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

The hype has not matched the reality of mobile ads. This post adds balance with the message: tread lightly.

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Too many marketers are stuck in the world of push advertising. Having the ability to target an audience does not mean that the audience wants to see your ad. Brands have a choice: they can pay consumers to read their text ads, or stop pushing out the advertising and wait for consumers to come looking for the information. Consumers have consistently shown a strong preference not to receive advertising on their mobile phones unless they are rewarded for viewing the ads.

Dick Seesel
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

I don’t think marketers can jump to any conclusions–one way or the other–about whether text-messaging of ads is a net positive or negative. Does the risk of alienating some consumers get overshadowed by the benefit of targeted reach? Do consumers who are more likely to object have the ability to “opt out” (just as they can filter out e-mail ads or telemarketers)? If so, there is a lot to be gained by the smart use of technology in a “handheld app” world.

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 10 months ago
Marketers have to “meet the consumer” on their terms. And, sending unwanted messages on a mobile device may not meet that maxim. BIGresearch has been asking the question: “How do you feel about receiving advertising messages on your cell phone” in the semi-annual Simultaneous Media Usage (SIMM) Survey for 5 years. The Survey, which has over 23,000 Adult respondents every 6 months, has not seen an uptick on welcoming these messages. The December SIMM only had 8.3% of 18 – 24 year olds saying they “Liked receiving text ads” vs. 4.3% of the 18+ population. Fully 54.3% of these young adults said that they “Did NOT like receiving text ads,” while 61.8% of Adults 18+ held this view. It doesn’t get any better on voice mail messages or video, with only 5.5% of 18-24 year olds saying they “Like text voicemail.” Interestingly, in our ‘China Quarterly’ surveys, these types of messages are more welcomed by young adults. Perhaps carriers should be studying what the China Telecom, China Unicom, and China Mobile are doing to attract… Read more »
Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
10 years 10 months ago

Irrelevant, interruptive marketing is never appreciated regardless of where it’s received.

If, however, you get the right message at the right time, it’s always welcomed, regardless of where it’s received–or how young you are. It’s all about context and relevance.

As our digital profiles as consumers become better mapped and more robust, marketers can and will get it right and mobile ads will become a very acceptable (if not preferred) form of advertising.

Roy White
Guest
Roy White
10 years 10 months ago
The power and outreach possibilities of mobile are truly staggering in terms of content, interactivity, and response. As a result, mobile messaging is growing and is well on its way to being a preferred medium. A study from the Center for Media Research from late last year indicated that 26% of marketers interviewed were planned to use mobile SMS texts, and, putting it in context, the same survey revealed that non-traditional media, such as online and mobile, will be selected by 57% of marketers, compared to 43% for traditional media. Marketers like mobile messaging, and, according to a Direct Marketing Association survey, 70% of those who have responded to a mobile marketing offer say they have responded to a text message, compared to 41% responding to a survey and 30% to an e-mail offer. But there are issues as the discussion question bring to light, and many are concerned that an e-mail spam situation may develop. Some states are exploring legislation curbing unsolicited text messages sent on behalf of products and services, with fines ranging… Read more »
Sandy Miller
Guest
Sandy Miller
10 years 10 months ago

The issue will rapidly become a legal issue. Many, maybe most people are concerned about privacy. If 1% were pleased and 18% neutral, then 81% were not happy. Maybe it will be more effective and ethical to focus on reasons to buy.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Text ads to college students is possibly the next largest market for retailers and brands to effectively penetrate. One has to be careful and move slowly. If a retailer goes too far too fast, this can cause the college students (or high schoolers) to jump ship and purchase elsewhere. Even if just for spite. That plus the new word of mouth is texting. Imagine how fast negative news will travel.

I agree that discounts to restaurants and retail stores will be more effective than coupons.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

Several weeks ago in commenting on this subject, I said, “Advertisers should take great care in their messages.” Unfortunately, most marketers see the ability for one-on-one advertising to give “TV commercials” to their target audience without the waste of broadcasting to non-target audiences.

If you are going to invade the individual’s domain, you better be welcome. Even vampires can’t come in without being invited. An entirely different mindset must be developed with brand marketing and advertising creative. This will be a challenge as it is counter to what has been the ideal marketing/advertising practice of the last 80 years.

It is time for a change and it is an opportunity for new and small brands and businesses. It is not likely that the big guys will be able to adapt.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
10 years 10 months ago

40% + 1% + 18% = 100%??? No; something doesn’t add up here (quite literally).

But regardless of the actual number(s), a text ad will always have an inherent problem of valulessness. Advertising can be valued if it is entertaining or contains useful information; by its nature (i.e. brevity) a text ad will fall short in both of these areas.

Gib Bassett
Guest
Gib Bassett
10 years 9 months ago

Like any advertising, isn’t the key question here around relevance? Text messaging requires consumers to opt in, basically “raise their hands” and say “yes, I want to be communicated with in this fashion.”

Advertisers have the opportunity at the opt stage in to ask some basic questions that should help inform the advertising message and call to action. In the best case, advertisers will experience solid redemption rates or recipients may forward or recommend offers to their friends and social networks. Worst case, you turn off your intended customers or more damaging, word of your poor efforts spreads in the social universe making it that much harder to re-engage at a later date. Taking a more thoughtful, CRM-like approach makes a lot more sense.

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