Aussies open to advertising in cheaper phone deals

Thirty-seven per cent of Australian smartphone users in a Roy Morgan Research study agree they would be interested in receiving ads on their mobile phone if it reduced their bill.

In October 2015, Lebara became the first provider in Australia to offer such plans after teaming up with Unlockd, a Melbourne-based mobile platform developer that also recently announced expansion into the US and UK.

After downloading the app, users receive ads every few times they unlock their phones – and get a discount or extra data in return.

In the study, nearly half of Dodo’s smartphone customers surveyed agreed they would be interested in an ad-supported quid pro quo (47 per cent), followed by customers with Lebara’s own network operator, Vodafone (44 per cent), and those with Amaysim (43 per cent), Optus (40 per cent) or Boost (39 per cent).

Smartphone users with iiNet are the least likely to be interested (27 per cent), with interest levels also below average among those with TPG (32 per cent), ALDI (32 per cent), Telstra (33 per cent) and Virgin (36 per cent).

Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine says that while Dodo’s smartphone customers are the most likely to be interested in opening up their phones to ads in exchange for a discount, as with Lebara, this would equate to only a tiny overall reach for Unlockd and its future advertisers.

“There are around 1.1 million smartphone customers at Vodafone and 1.3 million at Optus who could be interested in an ad-supported plan,” she said. “That’s the sort of reach attained by the weeknight news on commercial television networks.

“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.”

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