US Consumers Warming to Opt-in Mobile Alerts

David Murphy

A May 2010 online survey conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Placecast reveals that consumer receptivity to opt-in mobile marketing is growing, as is intent to visit stores.

One-third of Americans who have signed up for mobile marketing alerts indicate that such services impact their decision to go into stores, and 27 per cent report that such programs have impacted their decision to buy products in physical retail locations. The survey was conducted online in the US from 17 - 19 May, among 2,046 US adults aged 18 and over, of whom 1,710 owned a mobile phone.

Since the first survey on location-based mobile marketing and advertising in the Summer of 2009, overall consumer interest in such programs has increased, with ‘somewhat interested’ consumers growing by 2 per cent to 28 per cent of all mobile phone owners. As in the first survey, interest is most pronounced among the youngest owners: 42 per cent of those aged 18 - 34 are at least somewhat interested. Interest grew six points to 40 per cent among women aged 18 - 34 from the survey conducted in 2009. Interest levels between men and women are now about equal overall.

Groceries (68 per cent), national restaurant chains (64 per cent) and fast food items (50 per cent) took three of the top four most popular segments for those who are at least somewhat receptive to overall opt-in mobile marketing. Women skewed higher than men when it came to interest in offers/promotions for groceries and apparel, while men skewed higher in interest for electronics and sporting goods products.

One data point across all mobile phone owners is the importance of texting. An average of 40 per cent of all mobile phone owners say that texting is “extremely important” or “very important” to them.

The survey also delved into consumer attitudes about using the location of their phones to trigger opt-in marketing messages. 37 per cent of those who have opted to receive text alerts thought location-based texts could be useful, 29 per cent thought they would be interesting, and 24 per cent thought they could be more relevant and innovative.

“Our findings demonstrate that if done correctly and on an opt-in basis, location-based mobile marketing is resonating with consumers,” says Placecast CEO Alistair Goodman. “I think now that more data is becoming available to retailers, more exciting and valuable programs will be created now that the technology and market receptivity is there.”

The survey forms part of a larger body of research work entitled The Alert Shopper, which is focused on understanding consumer attitudes towards mobile marketing messages.