Monday, October 22, 2007

Introduction to Mobile Advertising

It's not that unrealistic a dream I guess - a dream to live in an advertisement free world. Where it somehow dawns upon us from time to time: what services we want and which products to use, but just for that we don't have to go through the undesired ritual of watching ads, which keep showing up one after the other ruthlessly irrespective of the emotional turmoil of the viewer who is flipping through other channels and is cautiously waiting for the show to be back again.

Yet, as the new communication channels and technology around us emerge, new ways are being discovered to push advertisements to consumers in the most disguised manner. Mobile phone is no exception. More than 33% people (more than 2 billion) on this earth are mobile subscribers and the percentage is growing by 15% every year. According to CTIA, 81% of total population in North America are mobile subscribers. No surprise then that a group called Mobile Marketing Association was formed in 2003 to leverage the marketing benefits of this new vehicle which seems to be carrying more and more opportunities and data everyday.

Mobile advertising is still a field in its early stage. It has total estimated mobile ad spending of $ 3 billion in 2007, but is expected to grow to $11.5 billion by 2011, almost four times in the next four years. And the reason behind is simple: as the mobile screens become larger, have better resolution and data speed (3G) improves, there can be a paradigm shift in mobile advertising: from text based ads to display based ads, better user experience because of higher resolution, larger ads because of bigger screens and relevant ads based upon the sites and data accessed by the subscriber.

Mobile advertising industry so far has been a complicated one to get through. Research (and personal experience) suggests that mobile phone is a very personal device. People like it to keep the phone on most of the time. People carry the mobile phone with them almost anywhere they go. Any communication on cell phones receives an immediate attention. Thus, if anything goes wrong with the advertising on mobile phone, telecom subscribers have more to loose than to gain, one of the primary reasons that kept the telecom operators away from advertising for the past few years. But Enpocket, a mobile advertising solutions company, which was recently acquired by Nokia, claims in its in the press articles that mobile advertising, if done correctly, has a much higher response rate (measured as CTR - Click Through Rate) of 2-6%, than that of internet advertising. The challenge, thus, to achieve this success is to understand - how to spark the interest, engage the customer and then, deliver the content and/or right mechanism to access further information right away.

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