40% of UK mobile users want mobile ads says KPMG survey

 In mobile

An interesting survey by KPMG has shown that 40 percent of UK respondents indicated they are willing to watch ads on their mobiles in return for free music, followed by 28 percent who will view ads to access instant messaging.  These figures are even higher globally – 49 percent for free music and 44 percent for instant messaging.

Quoting from the survey:

Approximately 60 percent of UK consumers would rather watch adverts in return for free online content, than pay for it, according to KPMG’s third annual global Consumers and Convergence survey.

The survey – which provides a comprehensive overview of consumer trends in online and mobile technology – shows UK consumers’ appetite for viewing online ads is at its highest when undertaking leisure activities such as shopping online (47 percent) or social networking (35 percent) and lowest when using more functional services, such as making a phone call or using navigation tools.

Pricing remains keyThis year’s results reinforce a key message from the previous surveys – that the key driver behind selection of a service provider remains price – over and above quality of service and content. In addition, while bundling remains attractive as a means to address having to deal with multiple bills and service providers, it is not enough as a proposition to make people switch providers.


Tudor Aw commented: “Bundling and triple play offerings are marketed aggressively by service providers in order to gain market share, but our survey would suggest that pricing continues to be the trump card in winning or retaining customers.”

In fact, only 16 percent of UK consumers prefer to pay for online content and avoid ads, although more (21 percent) would pay to avoid ads on their mobiles. Globally, these figures double, with far more consumers preferring to pay than view ads.

As for viewing mobile adverts, almost 40 percent of UK respondents indicated they are willing to watch ads on their mobiles in return for free music, followed by 28 percent who will view ads to access instant messaging.

These figures are even higher globally – 49 percent for free music and 44 percent for instant messaging.

Tudor Aw, Convergence Partner at KPMG commented: “The results of this year’s survey provide a clear message that UK consumers prefer to watch ads in exchange for free online content, particularly given current economic conditions.

“This willingness to view adverts in exchange for free content is good news for advertisers and is perhaps a pointer in the on-going debate over whether advertising or subscription is the right revenue model. This research indicates that in the UK consumers are more likely to access content that is ad-supported, than subscriptions, but this varies globally.”

The survey also provides service providers with valuable insight into what consumers value. When asked about what mobile content/services they are prepared to pay for, respondents said music and navigation tools topped the list. The UK leads Europe in purchasing music via mobile (34 percent of respondents having undertaken this in the last 12 months) and is the fourth highest among the 19 countries surveyed.

Tudor Aw continued: “When considering how best to monetise mobile services, it is important for mobile service providers and advertisers to be aware, that there are notable differences in how consumers wish to access different mobile services.

“For example, mobile users have indicated that music and navigation are desirable services and they are prepared to pay for both. However, when it comes to linking advertising to these services, they will watch ads in return for music, but don’t want to be bothered with ads when using navigation services. With navigation being touted as the next big thing via mobile, this is an important consideration for business modelling.

“Similarly, social networking – another big area of focus for mobile providers – is not a service people are prepared to pay for on their mobiles, but the research shows people are amenable to viewing ads when undertaking social networking, so an ad supported model may be a better way to monetise this service via mobiles.”

Mobile Financial Transactions

Globally, most people (53 percent) are willing to use their mobile phone for financial transactions but very few (19 percent) currently do so. The primary reasons for resistance to using a phone for mobile banking are concerns over security and privacy. In the UK, this resistance is particularly acute with 67 percent of respondents uncomfortable with using a mobile phone for any financial transactions.

However, there is some good news from UK consumers for banks and mobile companies, as 77 percent say that online banking on their mobile phone is important to them although they don’t wish to pay for it as a mobile service.

Tudor Aw concluded: “Partly fuelled by the arrival of smart phones, consumers are interested in a wider range of services and mobile payments and banking are part of this equation. There was scepticism when online banking was first introduced, but our research shows that now 37 percent of UK consumers’ use online banking almost everyday.

The next challenge is to allay consumers’ concerns over the security of mobile accessing of these services, to enable these services to fully take off.

“It is interesting that these privacy and security concerns span all age groups. Even ‘Gen Y’ who have been prolific in their uptake of social networking and sharing information online, share these fears. It seems that when it comes to financial information, people are far more wary of taking risks.”

What this survey shows is that consumers still want something in return for advertising, which is to be expected.  My long held view is that once consumers accept ads on their mobile, if as smart marketers we then provide a relevant and valuable benefit, the advertising will become information.

More information is available on the KPMG website.


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.