Friday, July 13, 2007

It adds to add mobile to ads

One of the mobile industry’s greatest power is its consistent ability to take seemingly mundane topics and turn them into exciting industry buzzwords by simply placing the word “mobile” in front of them: “mobile” messaging, “mobile” content and “mobile” commerce have all at one time been bandwagons which operators, software companies, manufacturers, media firms and investors have clamoured aboard. In fact, the word “mobile” is rivalled only by Apple’s letter “i” for achieving hype transformation (place both in front of the word “phone” and see which generates the most hysteria).

In the past year, “mobile” advertising has entered the industry vernacular and the bandwagon now has some decent momentum. However, we’re surprised to see both operator and media companies focusing on old-school advertising techniques borrowed from the online world, expecting these to perform just as effectively in a mobile context. Campaigns such as promotional text messages and mini-banner ads on WAP sites mirror the tried and tested banners and email marketing observed online.

Just as Google broke the traditional marketing models used by the print and broadcast media and reinvented advertising for the web, a similar level of innovation needs to occur in mobile which will give birth to campaigns capable of delivering response rates that will make the advertising industry sit up and take notice.

One such innovation we’ve seen are the idle screen applications which provide intelligent search & discovery functions to handset users. Vendors include Abaxia (Mobile Finder), Zi Corp. (Qix) and Tegic (T9 Discovery Tool). These tools work by indexing handset information like contacts, bookmarks, call logs, documents, messages and appointments, and providing a keystroke search facility on the home screen. For example, typing in the characters M-A-D would produce a shortlist of matching content on the device, such as the contact Madeline Smith, the song Hung Up by Madonna, a text message received from Maddox Williams or a photo saved with the filename “game at Madison gardens”. However, these applications allow operators to add other information to the indexing pool. Working with their content partners, an operator could add promotions which also match the “M-A-D” search string, like offering links for a 50% discount off a Mad Max DVD or a Madonna ringtone. Such ads are non-intrusive and their contextual nature can actually enhance the search and discovery user experience if implemented correctly.

The fact that a mobile phone is location aware (in theory) adds a powerful dimension to the advertising experience. The ability for restaurants, shops, cinemas and bars to actively promote their services to mobile subscribers in the immediate vicinity has long been touted and is seen as the natural extension of Google Maps, which now has a mobile version available for a wide range of handset models.

Any talk of location awareness is quickly followed by concerns about privacy and such fear is one reason location services are still not widely deployed, despite the technical capability being established. Privacy is often brandished as a major concern by 50 year-old industry executives and not by the millions of 18 year-olds who seem happy to broadcast every minutia of their daily lives on their FaceBook and MySpace accounts. The industry needs to recognise that privacy means different things to the different generations: a college student will react differently to a Vodafone executive, for example, were they both to receive an unsolicited marketing SMS triggered by walking past a McDonalds.

Looking at how mobile advertising is set to evolve, we cannot help but think that carriers are in the strongest position above any other stakeholder in the mobile advertising value chain – but they seem oblivious to this. Operators are sitting on a goldmine of consumer information which can be offered to a plethora of third parties; which can be packaged in such a way to mitigate privacy concerns. Operators know who their subscribers are, their age, where they live, how much they spend, how often they travel and where they travel to. With the rise of mobile TV, operators will know which shows their subscribers are watching and which radio stations they listen to. Fundamentally, operators know their subscribers’ geographical location at any given time and know in which locations they are most frequently based (home, office, gym etc.). As carriers continue to see their voice and data revenues suffer and handset makers and content owners re-assert their direct-to-consumer relationships, operators who have effective systems and tools in place allowing them to slice and dice their vast subscriber database into segments and group defined by specific characteristics will have an opportunity at a compelling new revenue stream.

Source: Arc Chart

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Successful Results for Cellcom and innerActive Ad-Funded Mobile Games Service

Israel's largest mobile operator Cellcom has announced today the completion of its first ad-funded mobile games service powered by innerActive technology. The new innovative service showed results of 44% Click-Through-Rate (CTR) and 19% Acquisition Rate for Mobile Advertising Campaigns, indicating a breakthrough in marketing via mobile phones.

The value-added infotainment service offers the subscribers free game downloads, sponsored by top brands such as: Tnuva, Nokia, McDonalds, Diadora, Samsung, Adidas and Walt Disney. Leading interactive advertising agencies such as McCann Digital, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO and nextin participated in the month-long pilot.

innerActive's Campaign Management system provided an end-to-end solution for both Cellcom and the advertisers. The solution, which can easily integrate to Cellcom’s system, dynamically inserted ads and marketing content for product placement within the games. With the system, mobile in-game ads were targeted and segmented in real-time according to each user’s profile, behavior and responses. In addition, mobile coupons and other incentives were offered for conversion and cross-over to other media channels like websites and point of sells.

“The new model used in the trial has proved to be effective and feasible to all the players. We succeeded to promote thousands of new users, that are not heavy gamers, to consumed and enjoyed games,” said Adi Cohen, VP Marketing of Cellcom. "The advertising-marketing stimulus trial confirms its effectiveness to all parties that took part in this project. This mobile advertising is working and shows far-reaching consequences for the mobile industry.”

The strong capabilities of innerActive innovative technology produce exceptional results. On average a trend of 10 times higher game downloads per user was observer, compared to pre-pilot download numbers. The Tetris game set a new record for as the number of download jumped by 14 times. The new business model, that this represents, motivated an untapped segment of mobile users to download mobile games as 24% of the participants did not download games in the six month period before the test and 54% did not do it in the three months prior to the pilot.

“The ad-funded model used in the trial has created a new dialog with the consumers while at the same time setting a new level of response and conversion to targeted and relevant marketing content," said Offer Yehudai, innerActive Co-manager. “The usage of in-content deliver within the games has become a great online media experience within various audiences, especial in the youth segment (9-20 year old) – 65% enjoying the benefits.

“These trends reveal the huge potential and highlight innerActive’s solution of in-content ad-funded mobile advertising and business model,” said Ziv Elul, innerActive Co-manager. “Driving from this successful pilot, innerActive is about to launch its new solution for live streaming advertising on both video and music channels.”

Source: OpenPR

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Video Begins To Mobilize: Usage Still Small, But Growing Rapidly

WHILE STILL A RELATIVELY SMALL base, the percentage of mobile device users who view video programming and advertising while on the go has increased dramatically. It has more or less doubled for people using hand-held devices (iPods and cell phones), and has jumped by more than 40% among people using laptop computers, according to results of the 2007 edition of "How People Use Mobile Video" from Knowledge Networks/SRI.

The study also found some marked differences emerging among various mobile platforms that suggest mobile video is not as homogenous as some people might think.

"Rather than think of mobile video as one big monolith, people are going to have to think about these as different platforms and [about] how consumers use them," suggests Dave Tice, vice president-managing director of Knowledge Networks/SRI.

For example, while the penetration of video usage is almost the same among iPod users (8%) and video cell phone users (6%), people view video differently on the two devices. On iPods, it's more like video behavior on laptop computers, which is to watch longer-form content, while cell phone users tend to watch shorter videos.

Nearly half (46%) of video cell phone users reported an average video viewing session of five minutes or less, versus 53% of iPod or laptop users who reported an average viewing session of 30 minutes or more.

Tice said the behavioral differences may be due to iPod users generally downloading content by connecting the device to a broadband computer, and thus using the iPod as an extension of the computer. "It might be more of a problem for someone trying to download a 30-minute video on a cell phone," said Tice, adding that the whole orientation of video cell phone users may be different than that of video iPod users--people get iPods to consume entertainment, whereas they get cell phones primarily to make phone calls.

In fact, viewing of feature-length movies has risen dramatically among consumers who utilize the video capabilities of their iPods, jumping from just 1% in last year's study to 54% this year.

Tice said it's too early to determine how new generations of mobile phone technologies--such as Apple's iPhone--might impact those behaviors over time.

One behavior that is becoming clear across all forms of mobile video is how consumers regard advertising. The good news for the ad industry is that four out of five consumers who watch mobile video say they are willing to view mobile advertising in order to get free video content. The bad news is that less than 30% of them feel that mobile ads are relevant to them.

As low as that percentage is, however, Tice doesn't necessarily think it's that bad, saying the percentage is about the same as those who feel TV commercials on regular television are relevant to them. "I think that it's a telling finding, because people don't see ads on mobile video as being any better than television," he said, "but if advertisers are able to use the one-to-one targeting nature of mobile to do a better job of making their marketing messages more relevant to them, then they can probably improve those perceptions over time."

Source: Media Post

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How Mobile Are You?

The latest figures by the Mobile Data Association suggest over 15 million people accessed the mobile web in March this year, a rise of nearly 1 million unique users on the previous month. 3, the UK network operator also recorded 118 million instant messages sent via MSN Mobile in May this year – that’s on one network in one month! The increase in mobile internet usage is yet another clear sign that mobile web browsing is here to stay and with the significant role interactive job search plays in our everyday lives, it is perhaps the right time for recruiters to understand how they can capitalise on the mobile opportunity.

The additions the mobile device has acquired over the last few years in MP3 and camera functionality is a testament to the devices importance in the everyday lives of UK consumers. Never before has an electronic device had such an impact on the way people communicate and manage their lives and it is this personalised element that recruiters can really take advantage of.

Peter Holsgrove of, the leading mobile developer of classified advertising and mobile job search functionality suggests "the mobile phone is more important to us than any other device and it has made a huge impact on the way we stay in touch with friends and colleagues, store photographic memories and organise our favourite music and other personal data. With the restrictions now imposed by many employers on internet activity at work and the privacy benefits mobile provides, if integrated correctly, mobile will have a significant impact on the way recruiters and their brands engage with potential candidates. We recommend enabling job seekers with a 'cross media' solution and integrating print, web and mobile to provide the ultimate job seeking experience.”

Source: On Rec

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Enpocket Powers Mobile Advertising for The N in Promotion of The Best Years, the Network’s First College-Based, One-Hour Drama

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Enpocket, the Intelligent Mobile Marketing company, today announced that it has been chosen by The N, the nighttime network for teens and a programming arm of MTV Networks, to power its mobile advertising and mobile Internet experience for the networks new series, The Best Years. The Best Years is The Ns first college-based, one-hour drama, which airs every Friday at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on The N.

Teens communicate with each other and live their lives on a multi-platform level, making mobile the perfect advertising medium for us, said Jeff Swierk, Vice President of Marketing, The N. With Enpocket, we are able to offer our teen viewers a multi-faceted mobile Web experience exposing our audience to everything The N has to offer on the heals of our premiere series, The Best Years.

The campaign features mobile Internet ads promoting awareness; a mobile Internet site offering consumers a range of innovative engagement experiences, like a quiz for viewers to find which character they are most similar to; mobile show alerts; a channel finder mechanic; and character biographies.

We are pleased to be working with forward-thinking networks like The N to drive tune-in through the mobile channel, said Mike Baker, Enpocket President and CEO. The program we have developed for The Best Years speaks to youth and young adults in their own language on the channel that belongs to their generation.

The mobile advertising program went live Friday, June 15, and will continue to run for 13 weeks coinciding with a premiere episode every Friday at 8:30 p.m. (ET). The show follows orphaned and full-ride scholar, Samantha Best (Charity Shea, Alpha Dog) as she starts her freshman year at prestigious Charles University in Massachusetts.

Samantha has been shuffled through the foster care system her entire life and is finally looking forward to a future of new opportunities and friendships. Shell have to contend with the ins and outs of college and mingle with a new world of frenemies as she struggles to find her own identity. Along the way, she will meet new roommate Kathryn Klarner (Jennifer Miller), a rich socialite from one of the most prominent families in the Mid-West, Dawn Vargas (Athena Karkanis), a child actor who trades in Hollywood for college, and Devon Sylver (Brandon Jay McLaren Shes The Man), a fellow scholarship recipient and star basketball player who has caught her eye. With her new dysfunctional family and a part-time job at Bostons hot spot Colony, Samantha will find herself juggling a lot more than just academics.

Source: Business Wire

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Text ads favored by U.K. users

Women are more inclined to click on text-based mobile ads while men are more likely to be lured by video marketing messages, according to a study of U.K. users from Tickbox, a London-based market research firm.

The survey, which was commissioned by mobile media publisher MoMac, found that text ads are the most effective mobile advertising format, favored by 56% of wireless users. Sixty percent of women preferred text ads, according to the study, while only 47% of men opted for the links.

Picture or banner ads were the second-most popular format, favored by 29% of all users, while nearly one-quarter of males cited video advertising as the favorite method. Only 12% of females preferred video ads. Unsurprisingly, 16- to 24-year-olds preferred video by a nearly two-to-one ration over users older than 55.

Younger users also preferred to view ads in exchange for content, while more than half of users 45 and older opting to buy content a la carte. And 54% of females preferred the pay-per-download mode compared to 41% of men, who were more accepting of mobile ads.

Tickbox surveyed 1,400 U.K. mobile phone users for the study.

“The research shows that brands and media companies must think carefully about who their primary targets are before they decide how to deliver both their content and advertising campaigns,” said MoMac executive Sham Careem. “Different demographics will respond better to different methods of advertising, and the key to a successful campaign will be ensuring that the format matches the target audience.”

Source: RCR Wireless News

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Virgin Mobile: Time Is Wireless Minutes

The cell-phone operator's Sugar Mama program compensates subscribers with free call time for interacting with ads on their phones

Much has been made of the Web-like marketing dollars to be earned by shooting ads to cell phones. But there's been little agreement so far over how to get mobile subscribers to put up with what many see as a mobile version of spam on a device they already pay plenty to use. One proposed solution for persuading them to embrace this wireless intrusion appears to be gaining traction: pay them.

On July 9, Virgin Mobile USA reported that it signed up roughly 330,000 of its 4.8 million subscribers for its Sugar Mama program, which "pays" them one minute of free call time for every 45 seconds they spend interacting with an ad on their phones or the company's Web site. Since the program was launched about a year ago, Virgin has given away 9 million minutes of mobile talk time.

For marketers, the popularity of the program offers some proof that the mobile phone may not be so different from other types of media. Just as cable TV, newspapers, magazines, and many Web services profit from a combination of subscriptions and ad revenue, the cellular industry is seen as ripe for supplementing its monthly service fees with marketing dollars.

"When we started talking to people, they said, 'Don't sully my wireless experience with your advertising,'" says Howard Handler, Virgin Mobile USA's chief marketing officer. "But when we started talking about it a little further, we heard, 'My time is one of the most valuable commodities that I have, and if you are asking me to spend time looking at a message, I want to be compensated for it.'"

Targeting the Cash-Strapped

Marketers say the key to mobile ads, usually delivered to the phone with a text or picture message, is getting users to agree to receive them by offering a clear reward. It also helps if they're in their late teens and twenties, an age group that dominates Virgin's customer base. The reason this audience is more receptive? Cash, for one. College students and entry-level workers typically don't have much of it. As a result, they're more willing to trade their personal time for free services, says John du Pre Gauntt, a wireless industry analyst for eMarketer. Second, younger people have grown up with ad-supported Web services, making them less averse to sales pitches.

But why would marketers want to bother with people so cash-strapped that they'd be willing to spend nearly a minute of their time just to get free air time? After all, a person who doesn't want to part with the 18¢ Virgin charges for an extra 60 seconds on its pay-by-the-minute plan can't have much spare change to spend shopping. Marketers counter that those who make up the 34-and-under market typically have more disposable income than older individuals with mortgages and dependents. And, says du Pre Gauntt, people in their late teens and twenties are less price-conscious when they do spend their money.

Virgin's data also shows some success in getting this audience to respond to what's being advertised. On average, Sugar Mama participants clicked on offers in the ads they viewed more than 5% of the time. The 5%-plus response rate echoes the results seen in similar studies (see, 4/23/07, "The Sell-Phone Revolution"). Though 5% may not sound like much, it's significantly higher than the average response rate to online ads, which is less than 1%. One especially successful ad campaign in Virgin's program managed to produce a 21% click-through response, says Handler, who declined to identify the advertiser. Response rates like that are one reason the market for mobile advertising is expected to grow from less than $2 billion this year to more than $11 billion in 2011, according to a 2006 study by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Planting Seeds

Another reason to pay attention to younger, less-wealthy consumers is that they eventually become older, wealthier consumers, says du Pre Gauntt. It's better for marketers to reach them now, when they are forming their impressions about brands and the kinds of products they value. "The 2007 college senior could take a job with [consulting firm] Accenture (ACN) next year," says du Pre Gauntt.

But while mobile ads may help seed future tastes, it's unclear whether this audience, as it ages, will continue to respond to mobile ads with the same fervor. Du Pre Gauntt expects they will, particularly as more people get smartphones with speedier Internet access and better Web browsers that can display multimedia ads (see, 11/7/06, "Yahoo's Grand Mobile Ad Experiment"). After all, the mobile phone is the most personal of devices, enabling more precise targeting of ads than a television. It also doesn't hurt that these devices travel with people when they're out and about, primed to make a purchase (see, 11/28/06, "Ads Migrate to Mobile Handsets").

However, advertisers probably shouldn't expect to see 5% response rates forever. Mobile marketing is still a novelty, so it grabs a user's attention more easily. Online ads enjoyed similar response rates when they first started appearing, says du Pre Gauntt. As more ads appear on phones, marketers will have to do more to stand out—more, perhaps, than simply bandying about the word "free."

Source: Business Week

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Mobile Payments to Generate Almost $22 Billion of Transactions by 2011 and be Adopted by 204 Million Mobile Phone Users

Juniper Research predicts that P2P fund transfers and mobile payments in the developing world, together with the commercialization in 2009 of NFC (Near Field Communications) based mPayments will generate transactions worth approximately $22bn.

(PRWEB) July 9, 2007 -- There is much to be positive about with mPayments; the ecosystem is evolving into one where cooperation between the major stakeholders is creating an atmosphere that is incubating intelligent ways in which we can use the mobile phone for payment.

There is still much to do, resolving the business model and the revenue share issues are a priority; but much of the technology is available and there is a genuine willingness from the major stakeholders to resolve their differences and cooperate.

Greater availability of NFC devices, for physical mobile payments, coupled with secure and easy-to-use applications, backed by the large credit card organisations and financial institutions, will create the foundation for a healthy alternative to cash and other mainstream payment applications.

Report author Alan Goode said: "The technology is available now to enable secure and fast payments to be initiated on the mobile phone. The business model stills needs some work but there are positive signals emanating from the industry that will create considerable revenue for all parts of the ecosystem. I am cautiously optimistic for the future success of mPayments."

Juniper Research illustrates the current and near-future status of mobile payments with interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in the growing mobile payment industry.

Highlights from the report include:

  • The value of mobile transactions will grow to nearly $22bn by 2011.
  • SMS based Person2Person (P2P) fund transfers and payments will drive the developing world m-payment market.
  • Adequate supply of contactless chip enabled devices, NFC and Felica, to enable over 52m mobile phone users to make physical payments 2011.
  • Retailers benefit with potentially lower transaction fees and increased basket size
  • Forecasts for NFC enabled devices.
Source: eMedia Wire

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