For the longest time, it seemed there had been more articles published about the benefits and strengths of mobile marketing from a promotional perspective, than articles showing the number of advertisers actually marketing in the channel and respectively, consumers using mobile devices. However, in spite of the economic recession, there has been a pretty drastic upswing in the number of consumers buying and employing mobile technology. I have been paying close attention to the hype vs. the consumer usage, and I believe mobile marketing is finally coming to a point where data can be used to support a very compelling case for it.
Comscore recently released a study which indicates consumer use of mobile devices to get the latest news and information via the web doubled between January 2008 and January 2009. Even more interesting in reading the Comscore article, the most widely used websites on mobile devices were social networks and blog sites. (Very interesting.. seems like I stumbled upon my next blog topic…)
I have to say it’s refreshing to hear that even in a shrinking economic market, there has been positive growth in both the purchase of mobile phones, and marketer’s willing to advertise in the channel. Market indications are also showing this growth should continue over the next 5 years at a steady rate. In 2008 estimated mobile ad revenues were 648 million, and are anticipated to growth to 3.3 billion annually by 2013, as reported by E-Marketer.
Marketers that are looking for channels to advertise in should add mobile marketing to their mix. Consumers are spending more and more time online via these devices. Also, search engines and 3rd party vendors are creating easier ways for you to create mobile ready ads. One word of caution in getting started, it is important to do your homework first. In order to have presence in the mobile world, you need to be sure your web pages and advertisements are mobile device compatible. Each mobile device employs different types of technology which means a webpage that works for an I-Phone may not work for a Blackberry or a Samsung. This may be one of the biggest obstacles, but well worth the learning curve!
Mobile Marketing in a Flash
Expectations of mobile search and local Mobile search in particular are rising. What took the desktop Internet roughly a decade to develop is happening in a much more condensed period of time in mobile. However, at this point, advertising on mobile phones is a tiny business. Last year spending on mobile ads was $871m worldwide according to Informa Telecoms & Media, compared with $24 billion spent on traditional Internet advertising and $450 billion spent on all advertising combined. That said, analysts are predicting that Mobile advertising is an industry that’s about ready to explode. Although the market’s explosion has been prematurely predicted in the past, research firms are confidently forecasting that annual global expenditure will reach $11 – $20 billion by 2011. In the United States alone, Mobile search advertising revenues are projected to reach $1.4 billion in 2012. Therefore, major players in Online advertising, such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, as well as the major Mobile carriers, undiscouraged by previous unfulfilled expectations, are maneuvering to capitalize on the emerging market.
What has everyone so excited about Mobile advertising? One reason is what has happened on the Internet. Ad spending on the Web is growing at a compound annual rate of 18.3% and will reach $73 billion in 2011, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The consultancy says Internet advertising will comprise 14% of the entire global advertising market by that year. In addition, the 2.5 billion Mobile phones around the world can potentially reach a much bigger audience than the planet’s billion or so personal computers. The number of Mobile phones in use is also growing much faster than the number of computers, especially in poorer countries. Better yet, most people carry their Mobile with them everywhere–something that cannot be said of televisions or computers.
Yet the biggest selling point of Mobile ads is relevance. Advertisers believe that about half of all traditional advertising does not reach the right audience. Less effort (and money) is wasted with Online advertising: half of it is sold on a “pay-per-click” basis, which means advertisers pay only when consumers click on ads. But Mobile advertising through text messages is the most focused: if marketers use Mobile firms’ profiles of their customers cleverly enough, they can tailor their advertisements to match each subscriber’s habits. Some carriers are already starting to take steps to make it possible for advertisers to target particular demographic categories.
The main problem with Mobile marketing is that phones are considered personal space, which makes them appealing for marketers but is dangerous ground for push advertising. While consumers are accustomed to ads on television and radio, they consider their Mobiles to be personal devices. A flood of advertising might offend the Mobile audience, and thus undermine its own value. Another issue is that operators have lots of databases with information about their clients’ habits that would be of great interest to advertisers, but privacy laws may prevent them from sharing it. Lastly, advertisers are not used to advertising via this channel. Traditionally they are familiar and comfortable working with print, TV, radio, and Internet advertising. Utilizing new forms of advertising will take some time to get used to.
At the moment, most Mobile advertising takes the form of text messages, since few customers have taken to more elaborate services that allow them to download music, games, and videos, and to surf the web. Only 12% of subscribers in America and Western Europe used their Mobiles to access the Internet at the end of 2006. Most people think Mobile screens are too small for watching TV programs or playing games, although newer models, such as Apple’s iPhone, boast bigger and brighter screens. Although text-driven Mobile advertising has been the main driver in the industry, telecoms firms are also beginning to deliver ads to handsets alongside video clips, web pages, and music and game downloads, through Mobiles that permit such things. In the future, Mobile advertising will become more interesting when richer content on wireless devices becomes more widespread, especially video and TV. The richer the media, the richer the consumer experience, which drives sales and brand recognition.
With technology developing by the minute Mobile marketing is the field that is sure to substantially grow.
The buzz is definitely out there. Everyone and their mother have probably heard of the iPhone by now. If you haven’t, then you must be living in a cave. Apple announced the launch of the iPhone in January of this year. Within the past week, news organizations have been covering all aspects of the highly anticipated cell phone. The iPhone was a hit even before it was officially released. The iPhone made its debut on June 29th, 2007 at AT&T retail and Apple stores at 6 p.m. The phone is feature-rich with a fully integrated iPod, built-in internet access with email, video capabilities, and more.