BEIJING: Mobile advertisers in China have only a small window of opportunity to make a positive impact on their target audience, new research has found.

According to mJoule, GroupM China's mobile marketing agency, a mobile advertisement needs to run three times to make an impression but the audience will dislike it after an average of 4.8 times.

The company surveyed a total of 3,476 respondents in a two-stage process, including interviews with 1,276 consumers from six particular groups – upper-middle class males, upper-middle class females, business travellers, students, sports enthusiasts, pregnant women/new mothers – as it sought to develop insights into the habits of mobile users and their attitudes towards mobile advertisements.

Business travellers were the most active mobile users among all six groups, and they owned more devices than other groups on average. Over three quarters (77%) possessed smartphones, tablets and PCs.

Business travellers also evinced strong demand for e-commerce, online payment, email and instant messaging.

Upper-middle class males used smartphones for working more often than the other five groups, showing a particular preference for news-related apps. Upper-middle class females relied on navigation apps more than any other group.

Music apps were also popular with many groups, especially upper-middle class females, students, pregnant women/new mothers and sports enthusiasts.

Students and pregnant women/new mothers were the most frequent users of social networks, while women/new mothers also liked to use note-taking apps.

Tony Chen, President, GroupM Interaction, China, observed that mobile communications were moving from being "device-centric" to "people-centric" and from being location-aware to context-aware.

"The irreversible era of mobile internet is coming," he declared. "As marketers, we need to pressure ourselves to boost integrated communication strategies," he added.

The research also found that the WeChat messaging app was an increasingly important channel for brands to reach consumers. Some 78% of WeChat users followed public accounts, while 64% had obtained brand discount and promotion information through the platform.

In addition, 47% had participated in offline activities after getting event information via WeChat.

Data sourced from Asia Media Journal; additional content by Warc staff