I’m sure you already read this several times: mobile advertising it’s about to boom. I had one more article to the list, even if I’m no longer very confident in the potentials of the market. Sounds like we’ve been talking about this for ages, but the so called “explosion” never happened yet. I think it’s also a problem of wording (mobile marketing/mobile advertising and marketing integration) but also a big issue related to costs. Isn’t mobile internet (still) too expensive for users? As a consumer, sorry but in Italy I cannot afford a mobile connection, therefore I don’t use my 3G phone to browse the Web. In any case, for those of you interested in the topic, there was an interesting article last week on Infoworld which investigated the potentials of a market which is expected to more than double in 2007 to $1.5 billion.
Standalone ads on mobile phones will not deliver results if they don’t get integrated in a mobile strategy which also takes into account promotion, sales and customer services. This is one of the main outcomes highlighted in a Datacomm Research Report called Mobile Advertising: Opportunities & Illusions. According to the research, inundating mobile subscribers with sales pitches won’t be effective. Successful merchants will leverage mobile phone technology to create deeper and longer-lasting customer relationships. No matter the channel, Internet, mobile, interactive Tv, the winning answer is always the same. Call it consumer 2.0, web 2.0 or whatever you prefer, but bear in mind success it’s all about building relationships, and make everything very easy to use.
eMarketer has recently published an article on the market potentials of mobile gaming. It’s no big news, there’s a lot of money out there, but what is interesting for us is that advertisers can also take advantage of the situation. According to eMarketer senior analyst James Belcher the opportunities are mostly connected to location-based and multiplayer games which will allow advertisers to precisely target their prospects. Also, mobile gaming can work for branding, so we can expect mobile advergames to grow. Of course distribution (costs) will be an issue, but hopefully Bluetooth connections will solve every problem allowing user to by-pass carriers in the download flow.
New Media Age reports Coca-Cola UK is planning to invest more and more money in mobile advertising. Coke claims mobile phones are potentially more powerful than TV in reaching its target audience. Quoted in the article, Coca-Cola marketing manager James Eadie explains:Mobile marketing could be phenomenally important, when you look at the penetration of handsets and the passion the audience has for mobile. As a way of connection, it ought to be phenomenally powerful and more important than TV. So we should be spending 50% of our marketing budget within decades.
Of course, Eadie also recognizes there are still several obstacles preventing mobile marketing to go mainstream. For example, the differences among carriers in shortcodes application and the unavailability of freephone text.
In the UK, 3G operator 3, owned by Hutchison, is about to become the world’s first operator to sell airtime on its own network to advertisers. Unfortunately the article on Media Guardian (free reg.) doesn’t clearly say what exactly 3 is going to do. One possibility is that they will offer free downloadable ads to their clients This idea has already been successfully tested with Apple iPod ads, which generated 160.000 downloads in a week. Mobile video advertising clearly opens interesting opportunities for viral videos delivered mobile phones, althought pricing and/or the business model still remain a big question to be answered. Who should pay for downloadable mobile ads? Branded content, should be free, but when it comes to mobile phones, free is a word that almost doesn’t exist, especially with carriers always wanting to share revenues.
Motorola is about to launch on the US market a new dynamic idle-screen technology dubbed “Screen 3″. It’s a technology that pushes Internet information to the mobile phone’s screen. With Screen 3 users can get news updates or any other information with just a glance at their phones, without having to open WAP browsers or other applications. RCR News reports carriers can use it to promote new services and features without bombarding user with text or multimedia messages. Motorola is already looking for advertisers interested in sponsoring the content provided through Screen 3.
Bluetooth marketing is raising concerns since it is basically based on an opt-out, rather than an opt-in principle. Since the technology offers interesting opportunities, but consumers are sensitive and brands don’t want to spoil their relationship with them, NTT DoCoMo, the biggest Japanese carrier, has come up with an alternative. It’s called “ToruCa” and it will enable users to obtain information by simply waving their phones in front of dedicated reader/writers installed at restaurants, theaters, music stores, arcades and other establishments. Digital Media Asia reports the news, and TechDirt adds some interesting comments on the value advertising content should bring to consumers, especially when it comes to mobile phones.
In the UK 3G operator 3 has partnered with viral content provider Kontraband to start serving viral ads to mobile phones. New Media Age (sub. req.) reports the funny content will be available using video shortcodes (so it won’t be 100% viral), but at least it’s a first in the viral direction. Anyway I will be curious to know the pricing model. On the Internet, what is viral, it’s free. But when it comes to mobile phones the word “free” almost has no meaning, carriers dominate the scene and want to make money anytime, anywhere, which isn’t something good neither for marketers nor end-users. Tag: mobile marketing, viral marketing
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.
Mobile content provider Infospace will start selling advertising space during its “For Prizes” multiplayer game tournaments. Since consumers are increasingly relying on mobile phones for entertainment, this looks like an attractive opportunity to advertisers who want to reach not only the “text generation” but also young adults with higher incomes and less time to play from home.
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