Consumers Say No to Mobile Ad Tactics

By Stewart Mitchell


Advertising companies are eyeing the potential benefits of smartphone marketing, but research suggests consumers are wary of their tactics.

According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, mobile ad industry was worth £203 million last year, more than twice its 2010 value - and with increased smartphone uptake, marketers see huge potential.

Yet the industry's vision of the future is greatly at odds with how users want their information used, according to research from Berkeley University.

The study from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology found that some of the key ways advertisers and app developers want to interact with users are hugely unpopular.


Under our current regulatory regime, firms can and do cram questionable demands for contact lists and other sensitive information in disclosures


One of the great promises of mobile advertising from an industry point of view involves adverts being tailored and sent to consumers depending on their location, allowing shops to flag offers when potential customers are in the vicinity.

However, more than nine out of ten mobile phone users said they would reject this intrusion if they were given the option.

"Consumers are overwhelmingly against this," the report found. "We asked respondents whether they would allow wireless service providers to use their locations to tailor advertising to them. Overall, 92% of respondents said that they would 'definitely' or 'probably' not allow the use of location data for this purpose."

Whether consumers will be given the choice remains to be seen, with the report concluding that the phone apps and advertising ecosystem were fundamentally geared against privacy.