iPhone boosts advertising recall

19 May 2009

NEW YORK: Some 59% of Americans owning an Apple iPhone recalled seeing ads on their mobile in the first quarter of this year, a figure that dropped by 21% for users of all other types of wireless phone, Brightkite and GfK Technology report.

As previously argued, the iPhone is regarded as having the potential to revolutionise mobile advertising, and a number of big brands have increased their activity via this medium in recent months.

The two companies surveyed 1,000 Americans, and found that 28.4% of iPhone users recalled seeing mobile web ads in Q1, with 22.5% saying the same for SMS-based marketing communications, and 19.6% agreeing with this statement regarding ads on social networking portals like Facebook.

A further 14.8% of this group reported having viewed TV or video ads on their iPhone, with spots on mobile radio scoring a comparative total of 9.3%, and in-game advertising posting a recall rate of 7.1%.

By contrast, SMS ads achieved the highest level of recall among users of all other types of phone, followed by executions on the mobile web on 10.7%, and ads on social networks, on 7.3%.

Overall, iPhone users also displayed a higher rate of take-up of a range of mobile services, although text messaging remained the most widely-used tool, utilised by 81.1% of owners of the smartphone, compared with 65.7% of users of other mobiles.

Mobile web usage among iPhone owners also reached 55.8% in Q1 this year, compared with 30.1% by non-iPhone users, while the proportion of the former group playing games on their phone totalled 50.2%, 20% higher than that for the latter.

Around a third of Americans owning the Apple-made device also accessed social networks via their phone between January and March this year, compared with 10.3% of those using other handsets.

A similar difference was observable in terms of viewing mobile TV and video, with this comparative figures standing at 27.2% and 8.1% respectively.

Colin Strong, GfK Technology's head of mobile communications research, argued that the iPhone appeared to be changing the face of mobile advertising among both consumers and advertisers.

He said: "If the iPhone is an indicator of future behavior across other handsets, then we would conclude that the former 'standards' of mobile advertising – WAP and SMS – are going to be caught up to and perhaps surpassed by ads inside of other applications and services."

Data sourced from Marketing Charts; additional content by WARC staff