Relevant mobile offers override privacy concerns, users say



Mobile subscribers value their privacy--until they don't. They've said they will uninstall mobile applications over privacy concerns, and they've crushed apps like Path for violating their trust. This summer, a coalition of developers and consumer advocacy groups working under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration even released guidelines for a mobile app code of conduct detailing what information developers should disclose about the data they collect. But dangle the right carrot and it's a different story: An overwhelming majority of consumers say they would consider handing over personal information to mobile marketers, a new mBlox survey reveals.

Eighty percent of respondents worldwide told mBlox and survey partner Millward Brown Digital that downloading a company's app to their mobile device also meant they would be open to receiving location-based text or push notifications from that same company. Asked why they would share their location, 47 percent of respondents would do so in order to receive relevant offers or discount coupons--45 percent would share information in order to receive information they've requested, 36 percent would do so to help them resolve customer service issues and 24 percent would to check-in or post on social networking sites.

"As the Millward Brown Digital survey shows, the majority of people today find value in targeted, relevant SMS and push messages sent by a company," said mBlox CEO Tom Cotney. "When consumers are telling you they want to, if not expect to, be contacted just by downloading an app, it would be foolish not to take advantage of that. If you're a marketer, why wouldn't you engage people via the channel and methods they prefer?"

Consumers aren't just welcoming text and push messages--they're also acting on them. Fifty-seven percent of global respondents and 60 percent of U.S. respondents said SMS and push messages are more likely to persuade them to make a purchase than other forms of marketing on a mobile device, including video ads, banner and display ads, and email marketing messages. In addition, 75 percent of global respondents and 75 percent of U.S. respondents are likely to read or engage with SMS and push marketing messages, including location-triggered coupons, updates or deals relevant to mobile apps they've installed.

Subscribers haven't completely abandoned their privacy concerns, however. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents told mBlox they believe they should have the choice whether to opt in before a company contacts them. Asked what personal information they would be willing to share with marketers via device, 59 percent would be willing to give up demographic data, followed by contact information (26 percent), browsing history (10 percent) and address book contacts (5 percent).  Location sharing is one thing, but divulging the websites you visit? That's sacrosanct. --Jason