Smartphones and mobile advertising
According to the numbers recently released by Gartner, smartphones will represent one fifth of all mobile handset sales by 2008. 3G eventually appears to be around the corner, and we need to start thinking about the real opportunities on a mass market scale the new technology will provide us with. After the failures in the early stages of the mobile market, mobile advertising is about to come back but, of course, we need to take into account the lesson learned from past mistakes.
Basically the marketing approach to mobile phones should be “push” not “pull” but, with the growth of WAP 2.0 portals and mobile HTML browsers, this concept will evolve. I see a near future of “light” contextual advertising, while I believe we still have to wait a couple of years for mobile rich media. Of course the technology is already there to support streaming media ads and now even Flash animations, but marketers need to remember the “pricing” issue. Given the current prices of 3G connections in Europe (recently I spent 15 Euros with Vodafone to download 300 Kb!!!) making the user pay to watch your ads is a crazy idea that could absolutely damage a brand. So while we wait for 3G to reach the mass market with carriers applying fair prices, SMS and partly MMS will still remain the best mobile marketing option.