11:38 AM

Ads On Mobile Phones Reached 78 Million In 4Q

Mobile ads in the United States accounted for $421 million in sales in 2006 and are expected to reach nearly $5 billion by 2011.

Seventy-eight million U.S. consumers received advertising on their mobile phones in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a new report released by mobile entertainment provider Limbo.

The survey of 1,000 adults in the United States was fielded by GFK/NOP Research.

It found that the Short Message Service, also known as text messaging, is a very effective way of reaching consumers with mobile advertising. Out of 250 million mobile phone users in the United States, 141 million -- or 56% -- use SMS, which is the most popular nonvoice communications service.

As a comparison, 67 million consumers use the mobile Web, which means SMS's reach is twice as high as Internet reach for advertising on mobile phones, according to the report.

The report found that one in three mobile phone users have seen or heard mobile advertising in the fourth quarter of last year, with SMS being the dominant medium delivering the ads.

One-third of people who received mobile advertising recalled a brand being promoted; 41% of women recalled the ads, while only 27% of men were able to recall them.

The sectors and brands that were the most memorable include wireless carriers Verizon Wireless and AT&T; mobile phone products from Motorola and BlackBerry; entertainment brands BET, Fox, MTV, and various movies and music artists; consumer packaged goods like Coke and Pepsi; sports brands NFL and Nike; mobile services and ring tones; electronics; automobiles like Chevrolet; and quick-service restaurants like McDonald's.

But SMS isn't the only way mobile adverting is starting to reach consumers.

Microsoft last month began displaying ads to MSN Mobile customers for the first time, in hopes of generating additional revenue. When U.S. mobile users visit Microsoft's MSN Mobile Web page on their cell phone and smartphone browsers, they'll see banner and text ad placements.

In September, Google introduced AdSense for Mobile, its service for placing contextual ads with mobile Web content. AdSense publishers earn money based on the number of ads clicked on by viewers.

While some are skeptical about the future potential of mobile advertising, sales generated from mobile ads in the United States accounted for $421 million in 2006. That number is expected to reach nearly $5 billion by 2011 in the United States alone, according to market research firm eMarketer. Global mobile advertising sales will reach $11.3 billion by 2011.

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