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Millward Brown global study shows mobile consumers expect more from marketers

27 November, 2012


- And Will Reward Brands That Deliver

Mobile ads shown to be effective, but fewer than one in four global smartphone users favorable towards mobile ads; higher favorability in Africa & India

LONDON — Consumers are prepared to reward brands that deliver on the promise of mobile marketing, but are, so far, disappointed, says Millward Brown’s AdReaction 2012 Report. The global study, conducted in partnership with Millward Brown’s qualitative practice, Firefly, analyzes consumer opinions and expectations related to mobile and provides a roadmap for marketers to drive brand growth through effective mobile marketing.

AdReaction 2012 confirms that 60% of owners consider their smartphone or tablet indispensable and nearly two-thirds feel that mobile devices make them more efficient. Against the backdrop of Morgan Stanley research that forecasts an audience of 1.5 billion smartphone and tablet users by mid-2013, the opportunity for mobile marketers is indisputable.

The study found that the majority of consumers will tolerate ads on mobile websites and in apps, 68% and 65% respectively, as long as the sites and apps are free. But that doesn’t mean they are enthusiastic, as on average across the countries measured, just 23% of global smartphone or tablet users are favorable toward mobile ads, compared with 36% for online display ads, 47% for newspapers and 51% for TV. On a slightly more positive note for marketers, 38% of consumers reported willingness to share location in return for more relevant services and offers, trading privacy for useful content or incentives and opening the door for brands to engage in ways unique to mobile marketing.

Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director for Digital, at Millward Brown comments: “There are many fresh and innovative brand-building examples in the mobile space and our AdIndex® for Mobile norms show that mobile ads are approximately four-times more effective than online ads at increasing brand awareness, message association and purchase intent. However, current attitudes toward mobile marketing are not very positive, so there remains a significant opportunity for marketers to improve how they leverage mobile technology to connect meaningfully with consumers.”

Attitudes toward mobile ads are more positive in emerging markets including Nigeria and Kenya (both 48% favorable), India (43%) and South Africa (30%), largely because mobile devices are even more central to consumers’ lives in these markets. Globally, attitudes toward ads on tablets are more positive (29%), as are attitudes towards social media news feeds on mobile devices (35%).

Rakesh Kumar, Chairman of the Global Firefly Millward Brown Board, comments: “Despite relatively low favorability at present, there is much room for optimism. Our qualitative findings suggested that consumers genuinely want mobile marketing to succeed. Indeed, it is because consumers have such high expectations of competence, and assumptions of built-in intelligence from mobile marketing, that delivering anything less can lead to negative perceptions.”

eMarketer predicts global spending on mobile ads will triple to $18.6 billion by 2015. The challenge for mobile marketers is to optimize the effectiveness of this ad spend. This can be achieved by demonstrating greater ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ and delivering the following:

Relevance: Mobile content needs to be tailored extraordinarily well to both the target audience and the context where they will most likely experience it.
Engagement: Mobile can provide opportunities to go deeper when consumers have moments of downtime, but marketers need to signpost these opportunities very clearly and aim for long-term repeat engagement.
Surprise and delight: Marketers should put a smile on the face of their consumers with every mobile connection they deliver, while being careful not to intrude.
Play to strengths: Mobile can play a unique role in the wider media mix since it is both portable and personal, and it can link to and from many other channels. However, it is not suited to heavy duty content.
Exchange: Consumers are looking for value in return for access to their mobile phones and their personal information.
Competence: Perhaps more than any other media, mobile marketing should be clear, functional and focused. Consumers indicated that marketers are currently falling down in very basic ways.
Time and place: Mobile content should be tailored to when and where it is most likely to be consumed, as use is more varied with a mobile device than online.
Done properly, the report concludes, mobile marketing can inspire, connect and drive action – and ultimately help companies grow their brand.

About AdReaction 2012
AdReaction 2012 consisted of online surveys of more than 6,000 smartphone or tablet users in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK and the U.S. Qualitative research (online forums and depth interviews) was also conducted in China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and U.S. AdReaction studies have been conducted since 2001.

The study addresses key questions facing marketers, including:
1. How receptive are consumers to mobile marketing, and how do attitudes compare with other media?
2. What roles can mobile best play in the media mix?
3. What defines mobile best practice and how can mobile help companies build brands?

For further information on the Global AdReaction study please contact:
Delyth Hughes +44 (0) 1926 826 247
If you are interested in more detailed country level findings, please contact your local Millward Brown Office via 

Customized analysis reports are also available.

About Millward Brown
Millward Brown is a leading global research agency specializing in effective advertising, strategic communication, media and brand equity research. Millward Brown has helped its clients build strong brands and services through a set of comprehensive research-based –qualitative and quantitative solutions. We have 82 offices in 52 countries. Our additional specialist practices include Dynamic Logic (global leader in measuring digital marketing effectiveness), a network of media experts (measuring mass media effectiveness), Firefly (our global qualitative network), The Neuroscience Practice (using neuroscience to optimize the value of traditional research techniques) and Millward Brown Optimor (focused on supporting clients to maximize their return on brand and marketing investments). Millward Brown is part of Kantar, the insights, information and consultancy division of WPP.

About Firefly Millward Brown
Firefly Millward Brown is a global qualitative boutique research agency with offices across 42 countries. By combining the best of what a qualitative boutique group offers with the reach and resources of Millward Brown, Firefly drives brand growth for clients by unveiling the elusive and explaining the “why” behind consumer behavior, choice and preference. Millward Brown is part of Kantar, WPPs insight, information and consultancy group.

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