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Message to advertisers: Search engines, not phones

Study finds U.S. Internet users go to search engines first when shopping, before the yellow pages, and don't want ads on their mobile phones.

New research is finding that people don't mind ads when they are searching for something online but don't relish the idea of getting ads, even local business ads, on their cell phones.

A new survey from Nielsen/NetRatings and WebVisible of consumer behavior and attitudes around online advertising finds that nearly three-quarters of U.S. Internet users believe they are overexposed to advertising. And nearly as many say they prefer finding products and services through search engines than having ads sent directly to them.

Of the nearly 2,000 people surveyed last month, most said they only get ads they want or need from the Internet (56 percent) and television (53 percent).


And search engines are where people are going most when doing shopping research--74 percent said they use a search engine to look for a local retail or service business. That beats the number who still use the yellow pages (65 percent), Internet yellow pages (50 percent), local newspaper (44 percent), white pages (33 percent), television (29 percent) and consumer review Web sites (18 percent).

A whopping 92 percent said that receiving local business ads on their cell phones would be irritating. Eighty percent have researched a product only to buy it from a brick-and-mortar store.

And don't think consumer ratings and reviews aren't heeded. Sixty-seven percent said they would probably avoid a restaurant with only two stars, while 90 percent said a hotel review that said it was "noisy with uncomfortable beds" would keep them away. For sure!