LONDON: The faster loading times and greater bandwidth of 4G mobile networks has increased the acceptance of mobile ads among European users, who are also consuming more content and showing a greater propensity for m-commerce, new research has said.

A study for the Orange mobile network – Orange Exposure 2013/2014 – conducted online interviews with 1,000 mobile media users across France, Spain and the UK to assess the impact of 4G networks on consumer behaviour as well as exploring the increasingly digitised 'path to purchase'.

4G users in Spain, for example, indicated a greater acceptance for advertising and better perception of it over their 3G counterparts. They rated sponsored games 5.6 out of ten against the 4.4 of 3G users.

And 30% of 4G users in the UK regularly used their mobile to download videogames, compared with 17% of their 3G counterparts. In general, 4G was seen to encourage greater use of a phone's functionality – eg downloading video, using geolocation – with this rising to 25% more use in the case of French consumers.

Faster speeds were also encouraging m-commerce, with 53% in the UK using their mobile to pay for something in the last six months compared with 34% of 3G mobile multimedia users.

Orange noted the impact that product type, sector and culture all had on how consumers behaved and interacted with the various touch-points on the path to purchase, arguing that advertisers would need to consider these nuances as they sought the ideal balance between paid, owned and earned media channels.

Thus, for example, French consumers preferred paid media when looking at high-tech products, while Spanish ones leaned towards earned media for all sectors.

But in all markets and all sectors, the mobile device was emerging at the pivotal element with in the purchasing funnel, said Orange, as it became the first stop for research and price comparisons and ultimately purchase.

Jean-Marie Culpin, Head of Marketing and Customer Intimacy at Orange, said mobiles were becoming ever more central to people's lives and drew attention to the growing acceptance for advertising. "The possibilities for advertisers to deliver meaningful and relevant campaigns seem self-evident and are there for the taking," he said.

His comments were echoed by Alex Kozloff, Head of Mobile at IAB UK, who said that the evidence of changing consumer behaviour "opens up tremendous opportunities for the advertising industry".

Data sourced from Orange; additional content by Warc staff