Nokia claims users want ads on their cellphones

Mobile phone users don't mind receiving commercial text messages on their handsets according to a study commissioned by Nokia, the company said Wednesday. Meanwhile, analysts warn mobile marketing could be headed south, just like email marketing.

          Mobile phone users don't mind receiving commercial text messages on their handsets according to a study commissioned by Nokia, the company said Wednesday. Meanwhile, analysts warn mobile marketing could be headed south, just like email marketing.

          Users are not only receptive to marketing via SMS (Short Message Service) text messages, but would actively welcome commercial messages if they get something in return, a discount coupon or cheaper service, for example, the Finnish handset maker says.

          More than 3300 mobile phone users aged 16 to 45 in 11 countries, including the US, Brazil, UK, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Korea were interviewed in mid-2001, Nokia says. The study was done by HPI Research Group.

          Eighty-six percent of the respondents said they would accept "some advertising" if it helped keep the cost of mobile services down, while 88% said they would not mind coupons sent via SMS. Nearly a third (31%) said they would actually welcome coupons on their phone, Nokia said.

          Acceptance is subject to conditions, the study found. Users want to be able to bypass and filter the messages and decide whether or not to receive messages, Nokia says.

          Marketing via SMS is fairly new and early adopters are getting good results, according to analyst firm Forrester Research in a report issued late last week. The average response rate is 11%, much higher than, for example, online advertising with banners.

          However, SMS marketing in the long run requires careful planning and marketers shouldn't be overly excited, Forrester cautions. Marketers should be skeptical, as another marketing channel billed as revolutionary two years ago, email marketing, has now lost its effectiveness.

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