August 16, 2001, 12:00 AM

M-advertising has a future; the question is, how big?

How big is the market for mobile advertising? A new report from eMarketer says no one really knows, with projections ranging from under $1 billion in 2005 to $7 billion.

Everyone agrees mobile commerce is about to take off--and with it m-commerce advertising. But just how high it will take off is a huge question mark, according to “North American Wireless: Subscribers, Revenues, Services,” a report released today by New York-based researchers eMarketer. “Researchers continue to have difficulty projecting m-advertising spending,” the report says. “Estimates range from less than $1billion to nearly $7billion by 2005.”

While eMarketer reports that a study from WindWire shows that click-through rates and call-through rates for wireless advertising were 19% and 20% respectively, eMarketer reports: “It is well known that the click-through rates using new technologies will be higher as a result of the novelty factor.”

And, in fact, eMarketer reports that a survey from The Strategis Group shows that three-fourths of consumers over 30 are not willing to accept advertising on their wireless devices and even 55% of consumers under 30 are unwilling to do so.

As for the future of wireless advertising, eMarketer concludes: “Before m-advertising has a chance, there are a number of issues that must be resolved: --The next generation networks need to be rolled out
--New mobile interfaces, standards and devices need to be further developed
--Privacy and data protection issues need to be addressed
--Consumers need to accept it
--Wireless standards, in terms of form and pricing, need to be settled.”

While recommending that advertisers target the under 30 group, eMarketer says, “Considering that this is the fastest growing sector of wireless users, there is still a large potential audience.”


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