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Mobile campaigns continue to be a powerful ad channel for marketers, outperforming online advertising by roughly three times across a variety of metrics, including ad awareness, message association, and purchase intent, according to a study by InsightExpress.

Benchmarked against performance norms developed for online advertising, the norms of mobile campaigns conducted from Feb. 2007 to Dec. 2010 were 2.6 times higher than online in unaided awareness, 2.0 times higher in aided awareness, and 2.7 times higher in brand favorability.

Despite mobile's clear lead, however, the gap between the two media channels has narrowed. For example, the norms of mobile campaigns conducted from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2009 were 6.0 times higher than online in purchase intent, 4.5 times higher in unaided awareness, 4.7 times higher in message association, and 5.0 times higher in brand favorability.

Below, other findings from the 2010 Mobile InsightNorms study, which analyzed the effectiveness of over 100 mobile ad campaigns conducted from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2010.

Even so, mobile campaigns are capturing an increasing level of consumers' attention across key metrics: Mobile ad awareness reached 31% in 2010, up from 14% in 2009 and 16% in 2008.

Meanwhile, message association—which measures the ability to track a message to an advertiser—reached 20% during the period, up from roughly 11% in the previous two years.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Mobile Campaigns by Phone Types

With larger screens and richer interfaces, mobile campaigns viewed via smartphones are more effective overall than feature phones. Most significantly, smartphones generated an average increase of 39% in ad awareness, compared with 28% via feature phones.

Results in other measures such as unaided awareness (17% vs. 13%) and purchase intent (15% vs. 12%) were less significant, but feature phones registered higher effectiveness than the smartphones in ad awareness (9% vs. 7%).

Mobile Campaigns by Industry

Among mobile campaigns conducted in eight industries, entertainment received the highest marks for ad awareness (41%), followed by consumer packaged goods (CPG) (32%), technology (29%), retail (27%), and telecom (18%).

Among other industry-related findings:

  • Telecom received highest marks in message association (28%) and purchase intent (21%).
  • CPG campaigns ranked second in message association (16%).
  • Tech outperformed other industries in brand favorability (12%).
  • Entertainment campaigns were strong across most metrics, including aided awareness (15%), message association (15%), and purchase intent (14%); less so in brand favorability (8%).
  • The travel industry performed well in ad awareness (13%) and purchase intent (12%).
  • Retail ranked fourth in message association (13%).

About the data: The study used norms developed in online ad testing as a benchmark to draw conclusions around the performance of advertising on mobile devices. InsightExpress compared the two using InsightNorms, the company’s normative database containing 1,000+ online ad effectiveness campaigns and 100+ mobile ad effectiveness campaigns, from Nov. 2007 to Dec. 2010.

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