A feasibility study by global mobile communication body GSMA and a task force of U.K. telecommunications companies has revealed insights into the behavior of mobile users that GSMA says can be used to develop more comprehensive advertising campaigns via mobile.

Part of the GSMA's Mobile Media Metric programme, the study has created a way to measure mobile browsing while maintaining user privacy and GSMA hopes it will provide valuable planning information for media and advertising agencies.

"Access to transparent measurement is essential in establishing mobile as a legitimate advertising medium. This programme will help take the guesswork out of mobile for brands, publishers and agencies," said Rob Conway, CEO and board member of the GSMA, in a statement. "For the first time, the advertising community has access to real, aggregated mobile audience data, which offers insight into the most popular sites, ranked by number of visitors, page impressions, time and duration of visits."

Mobile operator sites continue to draw in the largest audiences, with 68% of U.K. mobile users visiting operator portals. Google is the most visited non-portal destination and Facebook comes in as the most popular social networking site by time spent browsing. In comparison, Google tops the most visited PC Internet sites and Facebook sits at No. 4, according to comScore Media Metric data.

The study also found early morning (7-10am) to be the key period for mobile Internet usage, accounting for 22% of total minutes browsed -- double the figure by PC Internet users over the same time period.

A total of 167,648 mobile Internet sites were examined during the study.

Mobile continues to be a strong youth medium, with the study finding 48% of users are between 18 to 34 years old, compared with 40% for PC Internet and 29% for TV (according to BMRB's TGI). Male users represent 63% of total mobile users, while PC Internet attracts 53%.

Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile International, 3 and Telefónica are all involved in the Mobile Media Metric programme, however only two were operationally able to supply live process data for this study. GSMA used comScore as its measurement partner and ABC Electronic as its media audit partner, as well as key stakeholders.

The next phase of the Mobile Media Metric program will be the launch of an audited mobile measurement service, expected in the second half of 2009. The GSMA will establish three further working groups-- representing advertisers, media and advertising agencies, and publishers -- which will work on utilizing and gaining wider recognition for the information gathered in the study.