The Future for Mobile Advertising in 2009 | MMA Global

The Future for Mobile Advertising in 2009

April 21, 2009
Submitted by Acision

By Cristy Burgan, Vice-President, Marketing Solutions, Acision

Mobile advertising remains one of the most exciting developments in the mobile market today and one which opens the door for marketers to target their customers and prospects more directly through an entirely new channel. The rise of mobile as a means of advertising supports the ongoing shift of ad budgets from traditional marketing media, such as TV and radio, to more direct “below the line” forms, such as direct mail, E-mail and the Internet. Mobile advertising promises to provide the next stage in this development, offering marketers even higher levels of advertising effectiveness and impact.

Does any of this sound all too familiar? Are we in danger of mobile advertising over-kill as we continue to praise its virtues yet fail to create a truly viable solution that even the least technically savvy mobile user would be happy to use? This new channel reaches out to the end user’s most personal of devices, the one they consider a necessity. As such, advertisements delivered to the mobile device must have purpose and reason without being intrusive. It is only when delivered appropriately that the medium will reach its full potential.

Messaging is the most widely used and understood data channel. Gaining a customer’s permission to send messaging-based ads/promotions from brands, products and services of their choice unlocks the largest, most interactive marketing advertising channel. Delivering ads based on a customer’s preference creates relevance which in turn will drive increased response rates and customer satisfaction.

Marketers and operators have a responsibility to ensure that mobile advertising does not morph into another spam machine much in the same way that E-mail advertising has evolved. The mobile phone offers an unmatched channel for delivering content-rich, interactive and targeted promotions/services; it is a marketer’s dream, but it must be handled responsibly or risks alienating consumers.

Direct marketing campaigns will be more effective if they are personalized to the user. To do this, close collaboration with the operator is required.

Benefits include:

  • Access to highly targeted inventory where customers have given their permission to receive ads along with their brand, product and lifestyle preferences.
  • Customer intelligence such as demographic, usage, channel and weekday/time preferences based on how individuals use their mobile phone
  • Location profiles enabling advertising to be targeted to the relevant audience in specific locations
  • Ability to offer push, in-service and location based campaigns over multi-channels such as SMS, MMS and WAP
  • Delivery mechanisms that are measureable, enabling marketers to receive campaign statistics and measure campaign effectiveness

Despite the clear advantages, mobile advertising revenues currently represent only a very small percentage of total mobile revenues. There is a distinct need to address a number of key areas if mobile advertising is to truly take off and gain credibility among its marketing counterparts, as well as securing a sustainable business model. Below are a few areas for consideration:

  • Operators must find the right balance between capitalizing on mobile advertising as a new revenue stream and protecting their customers from untargeted spam. After all, it is the operator’s customers who will receive the campaigns, so rules and policies must be in place to protect the overall user experience
  • There needs to be collaboration between advertising agencies and operators to better understand each others industries and how they do business. Operators need to understand what targeting parameters are needed by an advertiser and allow for inventory purchase in a manner that is consistent with the current media planning/buying processes. Agencies need to understand the mobile user experience and leverage best marketing capabilities across multiple channels and devices.
  • There is a need to overcome the potential barriers regarding customer acceptance. This can be achieved by ensuring the user feels in control of his/her advertising experience by easily being able to opt-in and opt-out of any campaign, determining the number of advertisements they will receive and benefiting from an incentive or reward for participating. In addition to this, users must receive relevant ads that deliver value to them in their everyday lives. If this is done well, everyone benefits.
  • Acknowledge that advertisers and operators need to work closely together to gain a greater understanding and acceptance of what improved metrics and measurements are needed across the industry. Consistency in this regard will drive marketers to have common, reliable metrics to measure return on investment. Operators can benefit by ensuring that they secure a deeper understanding of their users’ preferences which translates into richer more targeted inventory resulting in more targeted and effective campaigns.

The key to the success of mobile advertising depends on players who have never previously worked together becoming willing partners in a structured manner to bridge the gap between their disparate industries. The underpinning attributes are understanding, collaboration and acceptance.

From an operators’ perspective this means understanding more about their subscriber preferences and interests to offer highly targeted inventory as well as being able to effectively measure mobile advertising against agreed industry metrics. This differs with the advertisers’ perspective, which involves developing a better understanding of the full potential of the mobile channel and how it can benefit them.

Collaboration can accelerate the uptake of mobile advertising by breaking-down barriers and eradicating any pre-conceived misconceptions.

From a consumer perspective, the operator is their trusted partner and must be the ambassador to drive wider user acceptance of mobile advertising. The operator is able to provide a mechanism where it is easy for its users to opt-in and opt-out of mobile advertising; and must protect their privacy. The operators are the only ones in the value chain who are able to oversee all the mobile channels, ensuring their subscribers are not deluged with advertisements and by leveraging their customer intelligence ensure that relevant, targeted advertisements with useful content reach the correct audience with an associated incentive.

By putting in place enabling business processes, cultures and key technologies that accurately match the advertising market needs, operators and marketers can transform mobile advertising from today’s fragmented activities into a strategic multi-billion dollar industry.

Cristy Burgan