Would You Watch Ads for a Cheaper Phone Bill? AT&T Thinks So

Would you be willing to watch an advertisement or look at a pop up ad for a few seconds every so often on your mobile phone if it meant you could save $5 to $10 a month on your cell phone bill? AT&T is betting that the answer – at least from enough of its customers to make it worthwhile – is “yes.”

It’s a bold strategy that could dramatically change cell phone plans as well as usher in a much more targeted angle of advertising. If done correctly, it could serve as a win-win on multiple fronts.

However, while advertising-supported streaming is a reality these days with Hulu’s various entertainment packages, it hasn’t taken off yet in the world of cellular phones – though that doesn’t mean that other providers haven’t tried.

Take Virgin Mobile and Sprint, for instance, which experimented with ad-based phone plans years ago only to scrap such efforts. What makes AT&T’s plan different from those that have tried this in the past? AT&T says its ads will be much more tailored to users based on their preferences to lead to much more relevant advertisements for consumers and a better conversion rate for advertisers.

If done correctly, AT&T’s strategy could be a win-win for both consumers and brands looking to advertise their message and/or products in new, innovative ways. Considering that the average American adult spends nearly 3 hours on their phone each day, this form of digital advertising wouldn’t be able to elude AT&T customers as easy as other types of digital and print advertisements can. And if these ads are specifically targeted toward the consumer that they’re trying to reach, then they become more relevant and tolerated by the individual who is viewing them. That’s where the other providers that tried out this strategy failed in the past.

On the flip side, this could serve as a much more innovative and effective way for brands to reach consumers with their messages and products. With less and less consumers reading print materials for their digital counterparts, digital advertising has largely outpaced traditional print methods.

However, it’s easy for consumers to even skim or skip digital advertising that’s viewed on news websites, social media platforms and more. With mobile advertising, it’s right there – in the consumer’s face. It cannot be ignored. Even on a Hulu streaming package with advertising, it’s easy to pick up your phone for the minute or minute and a half that your show is interrupted with commercials until your program returns. You can’t do that with a mobile phone.

So, what would it take for you to get on an ad-supported phone plan? Five dollars off your monthly bill? Ten dollars? More than that? Either way, AT&T is clearly willing to give it a try.

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