Three years ago Apple released the first iPhone, and mobile advertising will never be the same. The Apple orchard has continued to grow its’ market share of the smart phone niche and now owns roughly, 28% according to Nielsen survey.
Last week the Apple iPhone 4 went on sale with analysts projecting 1 million to 1.5 million units would be sold in the first three days, compared with 1 million during last years launch of the 3GS. The Apple faithful that were upgrading their device represented 77% of the iPhone 4 sales.
Advertisers are aware of this growth, are anxious to tap into these markets and get their content into these smartphones. Just one problem – Apple’s strict control of the applications (apps); these apps will be the vehicle for advertisers to reach this valuable market of tech-savy leading-edge gadget buying consumers.
Apple has truly gotten everyone’s attention, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which will investigate whether Apple Inc.’s practices are harming their competition. Wow, in just three short years, Apple has enraged the folks at Adobe over its choice to ban Flash video technology in favor of the HTML5 standard. Google has also complained about being shutout of the market place for presenting ads inside the iPhone, due to restrictions placed on the developers of the highly prized apps running on their devices. AdMob’s founder and now Google vice president Omar Hamoui said in a blog post, “if enforced as written, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google’s advertising solutions on the iPhone.” He added Apple’s rules “hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money.” These conflicts reinforce the fact that mobile advertising represents a huge potential market worth fighting for.
How this will all play out remains to be seen, but one thing we can agree upon is that it is worth monitoring. Keep your eye on the news out of the MicroSoft camp and their recently released mobile operating system. How will Yahoo place it’s content on these smartphones? Does Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz have a plan of attack via a deal with Nokia to provide email and chat services? I’m sure the next three years will bring more excitement and opportunities for savy internet marketing professionals, and the entrepreneurs mining these channels.
There is no doubt that mobile phones, particularly smartphones, are becoming more popular. According to IDC, sales of smartphones grew 56.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, far exceeding the growth of the overall mobile market, which grew by 21.7 percent.
As the mobile market continues to grow, marketers are presented with greater opportunities to reach customers. When considering mobile marketing opportunities for your business, there are few things to take into consideration.
First, think about what the goals of your mobile marketing initiatives will be. Will someone using a mobile device be interested in what you have to offer, and more importantly, will they be able to complete the desired action? For instance, if you are a locksmith or are selling ring tones, there could certainly be opportunities for you to have a mobile presence. However, if you offer something that has an in depth conversion process, such as a form with multiple steps, mobile may be a bit more difficult to justify.
If you have decided that a mobile strategy is appropriate for your business, be sure to set your mobile campaigns separately from your other campaigns. This way you can have targeting flexibility and can tailor the message, and possibly the landing page, specifically to mobile users. You can even select which types of mobile carriers and/or devices where you want your ads to appear. For instance, a marketer selling only iPhone accessories my not wish to have their ads appear on Blackberry devices. Keep in mind that the iPad, while not a phone, can be targeted separately as a mobile device.
You will also want to think about how users will find your ads. Long tail queries are not as common on mobile devices. A mobile user is less likely to type out a long search term on their mobile device as they would on a desktop or laptop. Many of us who are smartphone owners know how typing on a tiny or virtual keyboard is still difficult.
Where will you drive traffic to? Will it be to your website? How does your website look on a mobile device? If you plan on driving mobile traffic to your website, it is highly recommended to have a mobile version. While smartphones can render full websites (with the exception of flash-based sites), mobile websites are much easier to navigate. Check out our website, www.morevisibility.com, from an iPhone or Blackberry and you will see an example of how much simpler it is to get around.
Lastly, bid aggressively to make sure that your visibility is prominent on mobile devices. There is limited space so you will want to beat the competition to get those valuable spots. This can lead to more visibility for branding purposes and more clicks to lead to conversions.
My physician will describe how to age gracefully during my annual physical exam and I figure if I continue to jog during lunch and have an apple a day, I’m doing the right thing. In the growing smartphone market, Nokia is probably not aging gracefully as is evident by Apple’s growing market share of global ad requests as measured by AdMob network. Nokia lost 15 percent points from 2008 Q4 to 2009 Q4; while Apple grabbed 24 percent during this period
I can attribute this to the iPhone going global and of course the Apple App Store’s treasure trove of applications running on the iPhone. There are simply many more developers embracing the Apple’s OS versus the Nokia backed Symbian OS. We all understand that the secret sauce in the mobile advertising niche will be unearthed by an application, probably not yet developed. Having said that, one would think attracting developers is a prerequisite for a successful mobile advertising platform. Gartner is projecting 4.5 billion mobile app downloads for 2010, with 82% of the apps free! So how will those developers monetize their apps, if eight out of ten downloads are free?
Developers can earn their money from mobile advertisers, and the various banners, embedded video, overlays, animated gifs, ad bugs and so forth added to their content. An important piece of this income relies on knowing the location of the smartphone, in order to provide timely advertisement of goods or services. After reading an article in the Apple App Store tip section of their developer center, I became confused and began to wonder how Apple can continue to attract developers if they are disallowing the use of their Core Location Framework, “If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store”
So, Apple is protecting their valuable customers from unwanted advertisements, or are they flexing their muscles and attempting to leverage their newly acquired Quattro Wireless mobile advertising division? Hmm, first the threat to replace Google with their past adversary Microsofts’ Bing as the iPhones’ default search and now this constraint on app developers
It will continue to get heated as these industry giants juggle for position in the race for your mobile advertising dollars. Our team at MoreVisibility is here for you and will be keeping abreast on the ever changing climate of the mobile advertising niche. Just yesterday at the Mobile World Congress 2010, Google’s Eric Schmidt gave the keynote speech in which he proclaimed “Mobile First”. Websites must take heed and be prepared to present their content on mobile devices, or possible miss opportunities to present their goods and services to the rapidly growing mobile users. Stop by our Mobile Websites Knowledge Center first to learn more or call us and let us explain how we can guide you in all your internet marketing needs.