'SMS ads? I'd rather have insurance companies ring when I'm having my tea'

Careless tech advertisers making consumers' blood boil

Careless tech advertisers making consumers' blood boil

UK consumers have had enough of new technology putting them at advertisers' beck and call 24 hours a day. They find new media ads so irritating, they'd rather be cold called, according to new research.

Out of all the messages bombarding consumers thanks to technology, unsolicited texts are the most annoying and twice as likely to wind people up than being cold called outside work hours.

Like comedy, annoying your customers is all about timing, the research from Cable & Wireless shows - if companies want to stick their new media ads under consumers' noses, they'll get a far less interested response out of working hours, with recipients becoming eight per cent less responsive to new media ads once they're free of the nine-to-five.

Using new media to get consumers' attention is a tricky business - the research shows that companies with close links to the internet or mobile space, Lastminute.com for example, do best when they advertise electronically.

For companies more bricks than clicks, such methods are less successful. Texts from dot-coms were 13 per cent better received than from those from traditional high street stores.

And for marketers, consumers are getting much more vocal with their text and online ad complaints. Watchdog the Advertising Standards Agency saw the number of complaints internet and SMS ads rise 2,500 per cent between 2002 and 2003.

Regulator Icstis has also been laying down the law with SMS advertisers that don't toe the line. It handed out record fines of £450,000 to six companies using misleading mobile promotions.

Nevertheless, new media ads are gaining more popularity. According to analyst house JupiterResearch, the online ad market will double in value over the next five years - getting to over $16bn by 2009.

Gary Stein, senior analyst at JupiterResearch, said online ads are proving so successful because of technological advancements and the boom in targeted search, helping advertisers reach the particular consumer segment they're after.