Mobile ads learn from past mistakes

This time last year, you probably won’t be happy to recall, the Crazy Frog ringtone was still annoying an awful lot of people. While the tune might have been forgotten, it has left a lingering fear among many people about using their mobile ph

This time last year, you probably won’t be happy to recall, the Crazy Frog ringtone was still annoying an awful lot of people. While the tune might have been forgotten, it has left a lingering fear among many people about using their mobile phone for anything other than making a call or sending a text message.

The business model used by Jamster, the company behind Crazy Frog, meant many who thought they were making a one-off ringtone purchase were actually signing up to a subscription.

According to new research from Pitch, a soon-to-launch mobile content service, 38% of consumers are still worried about being bombarded by advertising, while 33% worry they will find themselves unable to unsubscribe from a service. “That’s our biggest challenge. People have been burnt in the past,” says Pitch chief executive Lourens de Beer.

With mobile ad spend is growing fast, the frog’s legacy is a timely reminder of the dangers for brands that get it wrong. And mobile is now a sector where some brands are spending over &£1m a year, according to Jeremy Wright, co-founder of mobile marketing company Enpocket.

But, despite the fears of some consumers, plenty of people are receptive to receiving commercial messages via their mobiles, particularly 16- to 25-year-olds, and even more so if it comes with free content or other incentives.

According to Pitch’s survey of 1,700 people, 46% of 16- to 25-year-olds are happy to receive ads in exchange for free content, 60% said they would visit a company’s website if the incentive was strong and 48% would pass advertising messages on to their friends.

Even among older people, a significant number are open to mobile ads. Some 32% of those aged 26 or above said they would be happy to receive ads in certain circumstances, 45% would follow the ad to a website and 41% would visit a store or venue to redeem a promotional voucher.

The key element is control. “We’ll all throw our mobiles away if we’re being inundated with messages we don’t want,” says Wright.

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