August 15, 2008

Syncing up with existing interests is key.

Mobile marketers do not need to worry about whether college students are capable of receiving their messages: Nine out of 10 US college students surveyed in August 2008 by Harris Interactve for Alloy Media + Marketing said they owned a mobile phone.

Fully 70% of that group said they used text messaging.

Text messaging by college students is also on the rise. More than seven out of 10 responding college students surveyed by Youth Trends in May 2008 said they were texting more often than they had during the previous year.

This does not mean the university set wants marketers to start hitting them with broadcast text messages. Even opt-in is not a safe way to reach mobile collegians: More than one-half of respondents to the Youth Trends survey said they were not at all interested in receiving opt-in ads.

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"Young people recognize that ads support what they do, but they don't want to be interrupted," said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst at eMarketer. "If ads pop up when they don't want them, that doesn't make sense, but if there's a reason and an advertiser supports an activity they're already doing, that's great."

One example of such advertising is sponsored information for festival concert-goers available by text. Mobile users text to receive the day's schedules and other information, along with a short promotional message.

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