Are consumers receptive to mobile adverts for a cheaper phone bill?

Unlockd, a Melbourne-based mobile tech startup just raised an additional $15million, backed by big names including Lachlan Murdoch. This mobile based platform combines the telco and digital advertising worlds to offer mobile users data and discounts in exchange for their attention.
Will consumers accept mobile adverts for a cheaper phone bill?

What is it all about?

Mobile advertising shouldn't sound unfamiliar to most people, but it is no longer restricted to the traditional methods of using SMS, MMS or online channels to deliver campaigns. Unlockd's platform is changing the way people use their phones and pay for their bills. Mobile users will receive "smart ads, offers and other relevant content from major brands and media" every few times they unlock their phone in exchange for a discount on their phone bill or extra data.

So why are advertisers looking into this new 'Unlockd' way of mobile advertising?

In this technology friendly world, phones are increasingly interwoven with our lives. On average, consumers open their phones 150 times a day. This high frequency phone-checking behavior offers a tremendous opportunity for advertisers to reach out to users before they've opened anything else. In Australia alone, there are 5 million smartphone users and an opportunity to reach consumers in a targeted manner, no matter where they is incredibly valuable. If widely adopted, this will open up a $100 billion annual mobile advertising market.

Is it really beneficial and effective?

As Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research says:
"The future challenge for advertisers and their media agencies using this new, broad-reaching channel will be to achieve accurate and cost-effective targeting—and the only way to do that is to understand the people holding each device."

Some say that Unlockd is a win-win situation for both advertisers and consumers. Advertisers benefit from a new way to reach consumers whilst retaining the ability to retain targeted messaging. Consumers benefit from discounted phone bills and ads that are relevant them. Yet, the effectiveness of this new form of mobile advertising remains uncertain. Whilst 37% of Australia's smartphone users are open to the idea of receiving ads on their phone in exchange for a discount on their bill or extra monthly data, we won't know how effective it is until we see the ads in action.

For consumers, using Unlockd could be time consuming and could pose a threat to the effectiveness of the ads placed there. There is the potential that mobile users will just ignore ads, without taking the time to pay attention to their content. For advertisers, this means that content will need to be engaging and valuable for users – similar to YouTube advertisements needing to capture attention of viewers so that they don't skip over or ignore them. The question is what is their attention span worth to consumers?

Consumers are likely to consider these questions before signing up: 
  • Am I happy to see ads popping up on your mobile screen every now and then?
  • Would the ads restrict how I use my phone?
  • Are the ads worth the discount?
  • Am I willing to give up personal information to digital media companies and mobile companies?

To find out more about this new form of mobile adverts or to sign up (if your smart phone is running Android OS v4+), go to www.unlockd.com .
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

3 comments

  • Eugene Angelilli
    19/06/16

    Hello, your tutorial really help me and inspiring me for my project, thanks... keep posting!

  • Krish
    Krish
    03/06/16

    I feel like this could perhaps work. However, my primary concern would be about the future implications of this business model - especially in regards to consumer privacy and data integrity.

    Furthermore, the idea of incentivising such a 'push' strategy is one that leaves a slightly bad taste in my mouth.

  • Giovanna
    07/05/16

    This is quite an interesting point. I think that the most attractive part is the discount, but I genuinely think this can only be referred to the first phase of the consumer journey. The idea of paying less is always inviting, but what customer may not consider at the first place is the pay off between time and money. That is, if I have to waste my time avoiding or skipping or watching ads every "now and then" on my phone, I would honestly prefer to pay a bit more but do not be annoyed by ads popping up and distracting me. I think the tricky part of evaluating this strategy is not the evaluation of the first stage, but more the outcomes in terms of retention and duration of the relationship, thus loyalty.

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