Personalized mobile advertising: Its key attributes, trends and social impact


Advertising media is an important factor for advertisers. There are several different media which will create different results for the potential customers. Theory describes five advertising media categories: magazine and newspaper, TV, radio, Internet, and mobile.

The more traditional forms of advertising media can only display the messages in text, pictures, or graphics (e.g. magazines, newspapers, etc.). Radio and TV are more dynamic, since they can also deliver voice messages and video advertising to customers. The largest problem with the first three categories (magazine and newspaper, TV, and radio) is that they cannot deliver personalized messages for different markets. The other two, internet and mobile, are able to deliver personalized messages. The benefit is that customers can now search for necessary advertising information. Especially the mobile category shows great potential because of the increasing mobile internet speed and the growing amount of time people spend on their smartphones. This paper will examine the key attributes, trends, and social impact of personalized mobile advertising.

Literature review

The Mobile Marketing Association defines mobile advertising as “a form of advertising that transmits advertisement messages to users via mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), or other wireless communication devices”. The mobile advertising market in Asia is expected to reach US$7.7 billion in 2012, because of the growing amount of people that are connected to a 3G or 3.5G network. The combination of the growing amount of people using smartphones, and the increasing speed, the mobile advertising category shows a lot of potential business opportunities.

Previous research shows that customers are not opposed to personalized advertising. According to Enpocket (2006), 50% of smartphone user are willing to receive mobile advertisements, 78% of users are happy to receive personalized mobile advertisements that are in their field of interest, and 64% of users all willing to provide personal information to help companies personalize advertisements for them. Lastly, only 19% of users deletes mobile advertisements before viewing them.


Research method

The researches first compiled a list of attributes that could influence personalized mobile advertising based on previous research. The goal is to determine which attributes are important in designing mobile personalized advertising messages. The study used a Delphi questionnaire which was sent to experts. The results of this survey were used to calculate a Delphi threshold, and to determine which attributes would improve the effectiveness of personalized mobile advertising.



After analysing the results of the survey,  all attributes above the calculated threshold were identified as the important attributes for a successful advertising message. Also, the researchers analysed the differences between current practices and future trends. The result of the questionnaire indicated that six of the attributes can be mentioned as ‘important’ attributes. These attributes are price, preference, promotion, interest, brand, and type of mobile device.


Discussion point

Since smartphones become more and more popular in daily life, mobile advertising will be an important factor for companies. Personalizing advertising increases customer click-through rate and the attention paid to the advertisements. Mass-advertising can build a brand image in customers’ minds, and personalized advertising can add value and support to customers’ lives and be integrated to customers’ daily routine. However, this could also be a dangerous factor for the social impact in people’s life. Do you think personal advertisements could be disadvantageous for people’s social life?



Chen, P.T. and Hsieh, H.P. (2012) Personalized mobile advertising: Its key attributes, trends and social impact, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 79, Issue 3, pp. 543-557.

Enpocket (2006) Available at:

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