GSMA publish results from UK metrics study on mobile advertising

 In mobile

16 February 2009, Barcelona, Spain: The GSMA and a task force comprising Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile International and 3, today unveiled the results of a feasibility study examining mobile audience metrics that will enable media and advertising agencies, brands and publishers to deliver better mobile advertising campaigns. The study, part of the GSMA’s Mobile Media Metrics programme, has created a measurement process for mobile browsing that respects the privacy of mobile users and provides rich planning information for the media and advertising communities.

“Access to transparent measurement is essential in establishing mobile as a legitimate advertising medium. This programme will help take the guesswork out of mobile for brands, publishers and agencies,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Board Member of the GSMA. “For the first time, the advertising community has access to real, aggregated mobile audience data, which offers insight into the most popular sites, ranked by number of visitors, page impressions, time and duration of visits. This will enable better planning of marketing campaigns, and in turn, will accelerate sales of mobile advertising inventory.”

Top Sites
The results of the study, based on a sample of anonymised data from UK mobile operators, reveal that operator sites continue to command the largest audiences, with 68% of UK mobile users visiting operator portals. Google is the top off-portal destination and Facebook is the top mobile site by time spent browsing, with other social networking sites featuring strongly. In addition to the top sites, a total of 167,648 mobile Internet sites have been measured during the feasibility study.

Top Mobile Sites vs. Top Internet Sites, December 2008 UK Mobile Phone Users (sample of UK Operators) and UK Internet Users*

 Top 10 Mobile SitesTop 10 PC Internet Sites
1Mobile Operator SitesGoogle Sites
2Google SitesMicrosoft Sites
3Facebook.comYahoo! Sites
5BBC SitesEBay
6Apple Inc. SitesBBC Sites
7Microsoft SitesAOL (inc. Bebo)
8Sony Online (inc. Sony Ericsson)Amazon Sites
9NokiaAsk Network
10AOL (inc. Bebo)Wikimedia Foundation Sites

Source: GSMA Mobile Media Metrics; comScore Media Metrix (PC data)

User Behaviour
The output of the GSMA’s Mobile Media Metrics programme will allow brands, publishers and agencies access to rich, aggregated user behaviour data, enabling comparison with other media. For example, mobile users accessing Facebook spend an average of 24 minutes per day on the site, similar to the 27.5 minutes spent by PC users. Mobile users on Facebook averaged 3.3 visits per day versus 2.3 visits per day by PC users.

Mobile is used consistently throughout the whole day, but the early morning (7-10am) is the key day part for mobile, accounting for 22% of total mobile minutes browsed, compared with only 11% of total minutes browsed by PC Internet users in the same day part. Mobile can therefore act as an extension to media such as the Internet and TV, while it reinforces other early morning media, such as radio and newspapers.

The real value comes in the combination of aggregated site popularity and user behaviour data with independently collected demographic information, which enables more effective targeting of campaigns. Mobile is confirmed as a strong youth medium with 48 per cent of users between 18-34 years old, compared to 40 per cent for the fixed Internet and 29 per cent for the TV audience (source: BMRB’s TGI). Mobile is also more skewed towards men, who represent 63 per cent of total users compared with 53 per cent for the fixed Internet.

“The mobile phone has the potential to offer relevant, personalised advertising on a level that has largely been unattainable until now,” said Conway. “This potential can only be achieved if mobile is part of a sophisticated, integrated approach to advertising. The rich data delivered through this programme will enable advertisers to create truly comprehensive, cross-platform media plan and campaigns.”

In the feasibility study, the GSMA worked with comScore as its measurement partner and ABC Electronic its media audit partner, as well as key industry stakeholders including JICWEBS and its member associations. The next phase of the programme will see the commercial launch of an audited mobile measurement service, expected in the second half of 2009. The GSMA will establish three further working groups, one each for advertisers, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. These working groups will confirm the measurement and reporting needs of the media industry, gather support for the proposed measures as a ‘common currency’ for mobile audience measurement, and establish how best to integrate this valuable information into existing cross-media business processes and tools.

Supporting quotes:
“Establishing a common system for mobile advertising will make it as easy for advertisers to run campaigns on mobiles as it is across traditional media such as television and radio. This marks a significant step forward in driving the credibility of mobile advertising,” said Tanya Field, Director – Mobile Data Group, Telefónica S.A.

“Mobile Media Metrics is vital to the development of Mobile Advertising industry,” said Frank Boulben, Director Commercial Strategy at Vodafone Group. “The GSMA has supported a solution which can be deployed by mobile operators in virtually every country and is based on ongoing collaboration with the leading advertisers and advertising agencies.”

“Mobile advertising is an innovative channel with solid future potential in terms of reach, targeting and message relevance. One of the key building blocks for the successful take-up of mobile advertising is a standardised measurement system for mobile media audiences allowing advertisers to make informed decisions on the ROI of their campaigns. The GSMA initiative will play a vital role in bringing all the necessary elements together to ensure an effective mobile audience measurement process is put in place,” said Ingo Schneider, Vice President Multimedia, T-Mobile International.

“We’re now in an era of less hype and more reality when it comes to mobile advertising. This Mobile Media Metrics initiative is a big step forward in making mobile advertising simpler to plan, buy, execute and measure. It will provide a clearer picture of the usage of mobile as a medium for the advertising industry and as brands invest more in mobile, it will help us to pass on even greater benefits to customers, such as choice, quality and ad-funded services,” said Steve Heald, Sales Director, Partner Channels, Orange UK.

“Network operators have long sought the independent verification which will allow them to monetise mobile Internet usage on their networks. Media buyers have also been excited about mobile for years, but have never had access to the independent statistics to justify large ad spend; hopefully Mobile Media Metrics will change all this. 3 is very excited about the opportunity provided by this initiative and we look forward to helping media buyers generate a higher ROI through the use of mobile advertising,” said Neil Andrews, Head of Portal Advertising at 3 UK.

“Robust audience data is vital to the success of any medium, and Mobile Media Metrics represents a huge step forward for the industry. Once media planners start using the research to justify mobile advertising on schedules, we can expect to see the medium grow with well targeted cross-network campaigns” said Guy Philippson, CEO of IAB UK.

“ABCe is looking forward to working with the mobile industry to progress and ultimately deliver mobile measurement to the standards agreed by JICWEBS (The Joint Industry Committee for Web Standards in the UK and Ireland). Media planners, owners and buyers require trusted and transparent data to justify driving media budgets to mobile,” said Richard Foan, MD of ABC Electronic.

Notes to Editors
All GSMA Mobile Media Metrics feasibility study results in this press release are based on anonymised, aggregated data from two UK mobile operators. All data points for fixed/ PC Internet usage are sourced from comScore Media Metrix.

About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites more than 750 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organisations. The GSMA is focused on innovating, incubating and creating new opportunities for its membership, all with the end goal of driving the growth of the mobile communications industry. For more information, please visit:


Based in London, The Actionable Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and comementator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.