Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cellphone penetration positions it for marketing success

Cellphone penetration into the South African market and the advancement of mobile marketing means the cellphone will soon compete with traditional media head-on. The days of colourless cellphones screens with no graphics and tiny squeaky speakers are but a distant memory to most of us. We now carry devices with full multimedia functionality, stereo sound and high-speed connectivity to the Internet.

Furthermore, these devices have penetrated the market more effectively than any other medium. It's hard to say how many South African's carry a cellphone, but the three cellphone networks together total a combined base of over 36 million active SIM cards in 2007.

Comparing that to radio, TV and Internet stats, cellphones are now the dominant communications device in the market. The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) says in its AMPS (All Media and Products Survey) 2006 survey that there are around 28.5 million radio listeners and around 24.5 million TV adult viewers*. In addition, the ratio of cellphone users compared to Internet users and landlines is around 5:1.

Similar global trend

The trend globally is similar. Cellphones are in the majority with 2.5 billion active cellphones, compared to an estimated 900 million Internet users and a billion television sets.

And to add even more weight to these figures, most people's cellphones remain within two metres of them for the majority of the day, while TVs, radios and even the Internet are sampled sporadically.

Within this context, add the fact that we live instant lives. When I want to know something, I want to know it now. Not in five minutes time, now when I get to the office. Now.

Let's take a scenario or two: Bob is at his daughter's birthday party and there is no TV in sight, no radio to listen to and he certainly wasn't allowed to bring his laptop along. But the Springboks are playing their opening game against Samoa in the World Cup and he wants to know the score. If he could get the score off a .mobi site throughout the game, that would be great. Better yet, he'd like updates sent to him as the game progressed.

Jenny's sitting at a coffee shop with a friend, Liz, chatting about how she's going to surprise her husband for her anniversary. Liz remembers a great restaurant but can't remember where it is exactly or what the telephone number is. TV or radio won't help; neither will the newspaper at the front of the coffee shop. A cellphone will, particularly since this new restaurant has its own .mobi site with menu and contact details.

Harnessing the power of mobile

As a consumer you're already nervous when hearing words like “harnessing”. What am I going to get next on my phone? Searching for information like Bob or Jenny is one thing, having it sent to you is quite another.

At the same time, the cellphone has the power to deliver really worthwhile information to you, the consumer. For example, a retail store sends you a MMS with its latest specials and an extra 15% off your total bill if you present the MMS at the cashier.

Now who's going to complain about that? Or you're about to be eligible to upgrade your cellphone contract and your service provider sends you an MMS with a barcode saying if you take it in and upgrade your contract, you'll get a free Bluetooth headset.

Therefore communicating to consumers via their cellphones in a way that benefits them not only builds trust between consumers and companies but provides a mutually beneficial interaction.

Put together in days

And while the process of building a campaign to communicate with customers via the TV, radio or Internet can take weeks to months, a well-though- out mobile campaign can be put together in days.

But it's about being creative and capturing the consumers' attention and most importantly adding value.

*Importantly, these figures represent people who watched TV or listened to the radio once in the space of a week

Source: BizCommunity

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mobile Advertising: Easier Than You've Heard

AS GOOGLE HAS SO SUCCESSFULLY shown, if you make media buying intuitive and easy, the advertisers will come. And not just the mom and pop retailers, but nearly every major marketer is now involved in some form of search marketing, if only to protect its own flanks from aggressive competitors. So, how does this translate to mobile advertising? There is still a nagging feeling out there that mobile advertising is hard to do. That it will require yet another agency specialist like search does or a fully mature mobile site, but it doesn't.

Let's start with a few facts and figures: there are three times more mobile handsets in the U.S. than PCs. In fact, 76% of U.S. households own at least one mobile phone. There are twice as many more mobile subscribers than there are Internet users. Data usage is doubling every year.

Simply put, the mobile phone has become an indispensable device giving marketers access to target audiences 24x7. It doesn't take an economist to project that marketers cannot afford to ignore this channel for long.

Mobile advertising campaigns have gone far beyond the voting campaigns we're all familiar with from American Idol. Ads delivered to mobile devices can have direct response mechanisms such as calling a 1-800 number or entering a telephone number or email to receive more information, or drive traffic to an existing mobile site.

Targeting can be set by language, country, category or by search behavior (and in some cases, combinations of various targeting parameters.) And, contrary to popular belief, a mobile site is not necessary to run a campaign. Running a campaign is exceedingly easy. With online self-service features, it takes only three online steps: entering or uploading ad creative, setting a maximum cost per click and determining the call to action required of users.

Rather than thinking of mobile as a "new, unapproachable" channel, think of ways to tie it in to your current online or search campaigns. Most companies whether brand or direct response have found ways to intelligently and easily incorporate the mobile channel into their marketing mix. Some use it as a call to action on TV, print or online to drive mobile brand interactivity while others are simply driving interested audiences who happen to be on their mobile phone to a core sales-driven action such as calling a 1-800 number, driving subscription to an online newsletter, or to a mobile alert.

While seemingly in a nascent stage, the fact is mobile advertising is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2006 to $13.9 billion by 2011 (eMarketer, January, 2007). The reasons are simple: mobile advertising that delivers relevant and useful ads gives users immediate answers that are regarded as valuable content; advertisers can influence their audience during the "last mile" at the moment just before a purchase in the real world. The level of targetability and reach that mobile advertising can provide will become points of success for marketers and we're well beyond the early adoption stage.

Don't be the advertiser left behind.

Source: MediaPost

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Marketers optimistic on future of mobile ads

The prevalence of cell phones has marketers seriously considering the future of mobile. There is already an 85 percent cell phone penetration in the United States, according to pay-per-call company Ingenio. That surpasses landlines, which have 72 percent penetration.

“There is a lot of hype about mobile marketing and where it is going,” said Neil Strother, an analyst at JupiterResearch, which estimates mobile reach will be at 2.9 billion by 2011. Today, mobile reach is at 171 million.

“The ad model will take off as soon as consumers don’t have to pay fees for the mobile Web,” said Marc Barach, chief marketing officer of Ingenio.

According to Barach, one of the most promising ad models will combine search with mobile.

David McCarthy, vice president of advertising and business at vertical search engine Miva, agrees with Barach.

“The mobile market has the advantage of learning from the online world,” he said. “That market has been dominated by search and I expect the same to be true of mobile.”

Some think the launch of Apple’s iPhone will speed up adoption of mobile marketing as a monetization channel, but not everyone agrees.

“Mobile-marketing adoption will increase but not because of the iPhone,” said Jeff Hassemer, director of product marketing at Responsys Inc., in a DM News blog post. “Even if the iPhone meets its astronomical projections, that is still less than 0.5 percent of the market.”

He also wrote that Blackberrys and other phones already match many iPhone functions.

Advertisers need to optimize their Web sites for small mobile screens. Mobile Ready Entertainment Corp. created a Web site development service to convert sites for use on mobile platforms.

“Our service helps businesses make their Web site accessible to the hundreds of millions of mobile surfers around the world,” said Mike Magolnick, co-CEO of Mobile Ready.

Source: DM News

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The U.S. Mobile Search Market

eMarketer estimates that by 2011, mobile search will account for about $715 million, or close to 15 percent of a total mobile advertising market worth $4.7 billion.

In April 2007, iCrossing reported that three-quarters of mobile Internet subscribers access mobile search services.

The U.S. mobile search market is expected to have some growing pains over the next two or three years as the major operators, portals and mobile search start-ups compete to be the mobile search leader.

eMarketer Senior Analyst John du Pre Gauntt said, "Mobile search in the US has all the right parts on the table: a huge online advertising ecosystem, the world's leading content industry, massive portal players, major league mobile operators and a host of VC-backed start-ups."

"In other words, it'll be a bloody mess over the next few years sorting out the center of gravity for mobile search, as each player tries to convince the others to follow its lead. The good news for marketers is that there's enough of a prize for the winner(s) that resolution will come."

Source: WebProNews

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back to School

ONE OF THE REAL PROBLEMS with the major carriers throughout their content and marketing chains is their sheer scale. When multimillion-subscriber companies are going head to head for market share, it is difficult to focus on your own segments. Branding messages for the tier-1 companies have been hopelessly broad for years (more minutes, better network coverage, free phones), with little effort to target specific groups very effectively, even though a range of age and ethnic demos come at their phones very differently. There is a real need here for content and service companies to cultivate the segments. "At the end of the day, they are mass market providers," says Jim Ryan, newly minted president and CEO of MobileCampus, which targets mobile data and marketing services to college environments. "I was seeing an incremental opportunity to serve more niche markets and target segments." For years, Ryan enjoyed a unique vantage point, since he ran the data strategy at Cingular/AT&T and was a fixture in the fledgling mobile content industry. He left AT&T just as the iPhone was about to launch, and according to reports was involved in making that deal with Apple. But in placing his bets with the small startup we covered last year in this column, Ryan is signaling that it is time for mobile to get targeted, and for the nascent ad model to follow.

Ryan says that the early stages of mobile marketing may be a bit misguided in following the carriers' lead into the mass market mentality. "Most of the existing players are large media companies used to the mass market and mass media advertising. They want large volumes of people. So they talk about millions of users and page impressions."

MobileCampus partners with universities to deliver free messaging services to students who opt in. The SMS system can range campuswide -- from the administration to ticklers and scheduling notes from individual sports teams or clubs. The school and its groups get the service free, with ads and offers from local vendors underwriting the cost.

Ryan believes that ad-supported systems like MobileCampus can change the mobile marketing equation. If you have tightly targeted users and you know their needs and habits well enough, then you don't need to carpet-bomb the platform or the user with ads. He expects students to receive one marketing message a day -- but a message that relates to their immediate environment and their likely needs. "It's about the value of the message, not the volume," he says. "Mass media is about volume -- millions of WAP pages -- and it uses the same model as already exists . Our model is very different. Our approach is 180 degree different."

Charging 20 cents a message, a campaign for a tech vendor like Dell might spend less than $1,000 reaching all of the tech enthusiasts on a large campus. "If we can get 30% to 40% to check it out, that translates into a lot of activity" for a small cost relative to papering the local media with ads, Ryan says. He believes that while MobileCampus is focused on the universities right now, the model is portable to a host of different demographics and niches and that this is a more appropriate way to use mobile. "I think there is a huge opportunity to evolve this market. There will be a real revenue opportunity for the company that leads that charge. To do that, you have to start with specific content."

As with all highly targeted marketing ideas, the challenge is less in the effectiveness of the promotion when it hits its target, but in the scalability. Is it worth it in the end for the sponsor/client to segment the creative, the deals, the partners into all of these niches? Yes, there is a lot of waste in mass media, but there are also efficiencies of scale. We are already a decade into the ad model online, and how many of the targeting methods available are really being used? The technologies and their proposed business and marketing models always seem to be well ahead of the ad industry infrastructure.

Ryan is right. Mobile seems to be the medium that is best positioned to lead the charge into a lot of marketing models that have been more on the periphery of digital media for years. If marketing and media are moving from mass to me, from corralling eyeballs to finding the right customer with the right message, then mobile offers a necessary challenge to the entire chain of production. But to make messages that are highly relevant to these segments, the marketers themselves have to segment their efforts and their infrastructures. How do you address so many possible niches -- and what new processes and structures within organizations are necessary to make a post-mass media world work? These are all questions that fragmented media are raising across the board, not just mobile. Everybody is back in kindergarten now.

Source: MediaPost

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The State of Mobile Marketing

Our industry is an interesting one; it’s a complex marketplace of intent, monetization, and relative performance. Those in the direct marketing space either have traffic, e.g. via their website or email list or they have the ability to acquire it, e.g. through paid search. Any traffic revolves around users and in what users might have an interest. With search, users generally already express that intent. With email, the users haven’t generally expressed an intent so much as an offer catches their attention. In either event, an offer will capture, match, their intent, and it will focus on finding a way to make money off that expressed or latent intent, i.e. the monetization. Anyone who has traffic, leverages intent and then makes money, understands though that not all ads perform the same. This is where relative performance comes into play. An offer only continues to receive traffic if it can perform equal to or better than the other offers. For example, you don’t see Columbia House DVD among frequently promoted offers, because MP3 players have changed the intent landscape. One of those offers that currently out-competes Columbia, along with a large number of others are ringtones.

We don’t seem to talk about it often, but if you run offers from CPA networks, you know it. Perhaps we don’t talk about it that much because we don’t want to jinx it, as though we know the offers do too well to be true. Maybe we don’t talk about it because we don’t want to admit openly that, yes we run them. Whatever the reason, it does sound a little weird. If you run campaigns for Blockbuster or Netflix, when asked what you run, you can say the brand name or the generic DVD rental services. The same goes for online education or even credit cards. Those who do either of those tend to say so proudly, and perhaps it’s because those listening understand that market and/or implicitly approve of its promotion. The same rules do not really apply for those in the mobile marketing space, especially those in its most well-known incantation, ringtones. When asked what they promote, far too many people seem to say ringtones with a hesitance, as though bracing for some question or rebuke. Whatever the reason and despite the apparent stigma, mobile marketing, even ringtones, will not go away any time soon, not even with more iPhones. Similar to the incentive offers, it not only makes everyone in the chain far too much money, but users have yet to tire as their interest is based on culture not a one-time fad. They will, though struggle, morph, and, similar to incentive offers, adapt. This week, we look at this amazing mobile market and three of its more prominent segments.

The European company Jamster had the first major ringtone hit. Being from Europe, where cell phone usage far outpaced, both in technology and user comfort, Jamster had a natural advantage when it came to promoting to the US market. They had already weathered the learning curve and could apply those learnings here. They came to market with individual ringtones that users could purchase online and send to their phone. They did a great job especially considering that the phones of the time played simplistic tunes (not the true to life sounding ones of today) and that users had little familiarity with adding content to their phones, let alone content that didn’t seem to originate from within the phone. As the market progressed, others saw the potential and began to compete. Instead of offering individual songs, they went down another path, subscription services. In a subscription service, users do not pay a la carte, they pay monthly; as a result, these companies leveraged the same hook, “ringtones,” but could pay more to the marketer as they paid not a percentage of the initial sale but a percentage of the lifetime value. Today’s most prevalent ringtone offers don’t always have names that make sense, among them being Blinko, Thumbplay, Zapsters, Dada Mobile, Ringazaa, Flycell, and Rock Your Tones, but they all run off this basic model. The demographic of today’s online users combined with a) the companies’ paying a large percentage of the users’ lifetime value, along with b) the ease that a monetary transaction can occur, has created a perfect storm for these offers.

Text Services
On first glance, it almost makes sense that ringtones might do well. Users can get a variety of useful content, quicker, easier, and cheaper than they can if they try to do so through the phone menu. Text services, though, you might not expect to do as well, even though every handset can receive them. Yet, if you know the folks at Mobile Messenger, you find out that text can perform as well if not better. In fact, Mobile Messenger doesn’t do ringtones, they do but it’s far from their strength; they don’t really do text either. What they do is transfer the risk and the reward to the marketer. It took me a while to understand their role, but they basically have many of the same components as a Blinko or Dada. They have content and the ability to bill consumers. What they don’t do, though, is necessarily create an offer then take the payment risk by offering a flat CPA. Instead, Mobile Messenger, allows the marketer to come up with an offer (or run an existing concept), create the page, have full control, and act as the silent partner - doing billing and passing the lion’s share of the revenue to the marketer. It has pros and cons. The marketer must front the cash for expenditures, but they receive the full lifetime value of that customer not some percentage. It won’t work for everyone, but in a world where a top ringtone affiliate will do low four-figures per day, a top affiliate in this arena can do triple or more. This market, too, will undergo change, but it shows a different side to mobile marketing, one that has allowed a company to become the largest mobile marketing firm that few know.

Outside the Box
Perhaps the most exciting use of mobile and one that has existed in other countries for years comes in the form of mobile as a billing mechanism. Ringtones and text do use mobile as a billing mechanism, but they do so for content that comes to the phone. Soon, we’ll see billing as means for paying for items that typically require credit cards. Think of all the free trial offers, from dating to software to health programs, that today need a credit card. As mobile progresses, we will see these offers soon allowing users to bill it to their phone, or promoting a secondary, smaller test trial for the phone if the credit card option does not happen. The phone won’t solve everything, as phone companies will not feel good about users adding potentially a hundred or more dollars in non-mobile services to their phone bill, but it still hints at the future. If the subscription ringtone service does decrease, the way CD sales have, at least mobile as a whole will not go away. It will only thrive, and we should all look forward to this and other outside the box / outside the handset applications as it will increase our revenues.

Source: Adotas

Monday, July 16, 2007

Google Opens AdSense for Mobile Beta

Following the roll-out of a revamped mobile search earlier this year, Google has begun testing a version of AdSense for mobile Web sites. In typical Google fashion, it ushered in the beta program not with an announcement, but by sending invites to AdSense users late last week.

Internet entrepreneur Scott Jones posted on his blog, Self Made Minds, that he received an invite to the Google beta. The news garnered attention throughout the blogosphere and SEO community.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the beta. "Google is committed to finding new and better ways to get users the information they need while on the go, and to opening up new revenue opportunities for our partners. We are currently conducting a limited beta to test AdSense for mobile, a monetization product for mobile publishers. We will continue to evaluate the beta and will refine the product based on feedback from our users, publishers, and advertisers."

"At present it just appears in my AdSense in the list of products and has not been tested," Jones told ClickZ News. He went on to say ad units include single and double ads, WAP 1.0 or 2.0 in the normal color palette for integration.

While positive about the move, industry analysts question the size of the market for contextually delivered mobile ads. "How big is mobile advertising at this time, and how much is Google coming into the space going to impact positively or negatively?" asked M:Metrics's vice president consulting and senior analyst Evan Neufeld.

Google's mobile AdSense limited beta may bring mobile one step closer to becoming a line item in advertisers' budgets, rather than an experimental entry.

"Google's AdSense is a very powerful product online, but it fits a particular niche for advertising. I don't think that niche is currently filled in mobile, but I don't know how big that niche is," said Lee Hancock, founder and CEO of go2 Wireless, pointing to Google's offering of standardized ads, contextually-based units, PPC and impression-based models.

"If you look at the way AdSense works online, typically associated with content that is relevant, it's typically displayed in extra areas on the page," Hancock said. "You're not going to have that flexibility and capability on the mobile phone, with its small screen."

Skepticism aside, Hancock said "Google will likely be successful; the question is the magnitude of that success."

The appearance of ads through AdSense has at least one potential benefit to the user experience. "It will probably assist in the discovery of information on a mobile phone," said Hancock. "But what will be really interesting to see is how monetizible mobile traffic is."

AdSense's inventory is one component of the mobile marketing platform, cautions Neufeld. "Is it strictly a banner ad-serving tool?" he said. If it ignores SMS and MMS messaging, he added, Google is "missing a big piece of it."

Source: ClickZ

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 asap.mobi, 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 BusinessWeek.com, 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 BusinessWeek.com, 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 BusinessWeek.com, 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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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Netpreneur Host Delivers New SMS Marketing Service

July 5, 2007 - (TopHosts News Brief) - Netpreneur Host partnered with Mobile SMS Marketing for an innovative, new service.

Through the new service, users can achieve more intimate marketing relationships with customers, thanks to cell phone text messaging.

The service enables businesses to use the Mobile SMS Marketing phone number, together with a special text string. When end-users send a company’s unique text string to the phone number provided by Mobile SMS Marketing, they are added to that company’s list, and can be sent special offers and updates from the company. For instance, sending the word CLUB to 41513 from a cell phone demonstrates how a night club or disco might use the service.

“This new service allows businesses to quickly build large lists of opt-in cell phone users, which provides a captive audience of people with whom businesses can build deeper, more intimate relationships than with traditional marketing,” Netpreneur Host CEO, Daniel J. Briere, stated in a PRWeb release. “The Mobile SMS Marketing service is a very exciting addition to our existing services that we are very happy to be able to provide to our users, and which will further differentiate us from other Web hosting providers.”

Source: Top Hosts

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Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Case Study - House of Blues

In response to the emergence of mobile technology as a mass-market medium, in late 2005, House of Blues in partnership with Motorola, became interested in offering new and existing customers novel types of interactive campaigns as a means to incentivize and reward its youth demographic. Soapbox Mobile fulfilled the company's needs with a complete, full-service mobile solution using the Soapbox Anywhere platform to power interactive mobile campaigns including triggered and personalized SMS-based quizzes, contests, and alerts. These mobile campaigns were aimed at drawing attention to upcoming music events specific to each of House of Blues' nationwide locations.

Mobile Solution
  • Enhance Image: Cutting edge of new media adoption
  • Leverage Mobile: Usage for target demographic
  • Build Database: Mobile subscribers for follow-up campaigns
  • Promotions of promote bands, mobile ticket sales
House of Blues has built a nationwide presence as a trendy venue for music, food and nightlife. Customers recognize House of Blues as the premier branded entertainment venue, attracting a wide variety of demographic audience segments with locations across America's hippest cities. Its target demographic is young professionals.

House of Blues, presently using the Web for consumer interactivity in addition to other more traditional means of marketing, decided to leverage the mobile channel to deepen ints relationship with its existing and new customers. Recognizing mobile as a personal, one-to-one mass market medium that is 'always on', House of Blues tapped Soapbox Mobile to create it mobile campaigns. The Soapbox Anywhere platform provided personalized mobile interaction in addition to a valuable database of mobile users. The House of Blues mobile trivia campaign placed a 'call-to-action' across in-house TV screens and person-to-person street team interaction by means of unique short codes assigned to House of Blues venues across the U.S. The Soapbox Mobile solution empowered House of Blues to track and report, in real-time, the effectiveness of its mobile campaigns for each of its nationwide locations.

Mobile Campaign: Key Features
  • Location-based campaign tracking and reporting
  • Interactive, 2-way SMS trivia campaign
  • Mobile coupon codes: redeem prizes
  • Cross-carrier: House of Blues SMS campaign's work across all carriers and handsets in North America
In addition to building an interactive mobile trivia campaign, Soapbox Mobile also established an managed relationships with network operators in North America and the operator's terms for multiple, unique vanity (custom) short codes for each House of Blues location. As a result House of Blues customers can now engage in opt-in mobile contests regardless of their carrier.

  • Build mobile database for future use in promotion and sales
  • Unrivaled distribution in leveraging mobile channel and customer reach
  • Enhanced image as vanguard of new media and digital entertainment
  • Precision ability to track, monitor and report marketing effectiveness in real-time
Soapbox Mobile helped House of Blues enhance its loyal customer base by extending and diversifying its marketing program to include the mobile channel. Owing to the valuable database of mobile users House of Blues has been able collect through the Soapbox Anywhere platform, the company now has an indispensable asset in targeting an audience for its future mobile initiatives. House of Blues has been able to create a stronger relationship with its customers, enhance the visibility of its brand, and has also delivered value to its mobile partner, Motorola.

Source: Mobile Marketing Association

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Welcome to the iFuture of Mobile Marketing

Greetings from the past! I'm writing this column on June 26, about a week in advance of you reading it. Normally, I wouldn't point this out. However, we're on the cusp of the next pop-culture technology revolution.

By the time you read this, you'll likely be recovering from your (or an annoying friend's) iPhone hangover, as I'm sure every major media outlet has inundated you with iPhone launch minutiae: from early adopters standing in line, pending riots (let's hope not), eBay auction mania, and possible scarcity issues. Or you may still be rejoicing over the winnings you realized. Regardless of the outcome, let's remember this was an important weekend. Our industry has a lot riding on the so-called "Jesus" (or maybe "Moses") phone.

Sometimes it takes pop culture to kick-start an emerging industry or media category. It seems like only a few years ago when Eiger Labs launched the MPMan F10 portable music player as the industry's first digital music player in 1998. When it was first announced, it appealed to a small community of digital enthusiasts. It wasn't until the fall of 2001 when Apple introduced the first iPod as the ultimate conclusion of Apple's "rip, mix, burn" digital music strategy. Apple carefully led American consumers through the new digital music ecosystem, ending with the iPod's powerful crescendo. Before this, only a handful of people understood what an MP3 player was. Now, you wouldn't be caught dead with a CD (unless you burned it yourself), and Apple is the number three music retailer in the United States. Go figure.

At the end of the day, the one thing we can rely on the iPhone to do is to wake up American mobile consumers and get them to realize what their phones can do. Hopefully, this awareness will finally transform the mobile platform into a true media channel. While writing this, I asked my friend Greg Clayman, general manager of mobile media at MTV Networks, what he hopes the iPhone will do for the millions of mobile phone users in the United States.

"It will teach people what a mobile phone can do -- from the oversized touch screen to the music and video player integration to the Web browser," Clayman told me. "The iPhone isn't the first phone to have these features, but it's certainly the most exciting presentation of them. I expect its release will lead to any number of people reexamining their current phones and discovering that they, too, can do many of these things as well. MTV is the largest provider of mobile video content in the world, so we're thrilled about all the general mobile media excitement that this launch is generating. And we're working ever-closer with our brand partners to help them engage consumers in this space."

So now that the iPhone has launched, what should we expect? There are two categories of customers you should think about: the haves and the have-nots.

The Haves

Who they are: The haves are a lucky bunch. They've shelled out about $500 to $600 dollars for the iPhone and basically committed themselves to AT&T and Apple for the next two years for approximately $1,974.76 (not including taxes). The haves will be power users who will wrap their iPhones around their lives. They'll take and share photos and use optimized Web sites and consumer content. They'll exhaust this phone for the next few weeks and show everyone what they have.

What they want: The haves want access and content. Whether they admit it or not, they want to show off their new toy.

What you can do: Why not take advantage of this Trojan horse? Provide these users with branded content. If they think it's relevant, they'll use it on the iPhone. Consider optimizing your Web site and Web services for the iPhone. Syndicate your podcasts via iTunes. Develop Web applications for these users. Ride the wave. And if you don't know how, find developers who can help you by attending the various development conferences that are popping up across the country.

The Have-nots

Who they are: The have-nots aren't as lucky. Some wanted an iPhone and couldn't get it. Others, like John Dvorak, feel the iPhone isn't up to snuff. They want to wait for the next version or for the price to come down. Some are locked into agreements with rival carriers, others are content with what they have.

What they want: They know they don't have an iPhone, but they'd like the next best thing. The have-nots will look at what they currently own and want to get the most out of it. They may secretly envy iPhone features and try to emulate them: "You know, my phone can play music."

What you can do: The one thing the iPhone will do for everyone is finally convince them you can do more on your phone than talk and text. There's never been a better time to launch new mobile services. Have you considered optimizing your site for mobile Web readers? Have you explored sponsorship of mobile content offerings? Launched a smart SMS (define) campaign that supports an in-market program with mobile reminders?

Like it or not, the iPhone is a good thing. Personally, I'm disappointed by the lack of exchange support, a tactile keyboard, and a 3G connection. However, I'm willing to trade all of that for the possibility that the mobile marketplace will heat up with innovation and consumer interest.

Source: Chad Stoller, ClickZ

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Advertising Formats as the Key to Audience Response

MoMac's research, conducted by independent research agency Tickbox, clearly emphasises the need for mobile advertising to match specific audience requirements. Results from different demographics indicate that responsiveness to different kinds of advertising changes according to
age and gender, giving brands and marketers valuable guidelines around
which to design their mobile advertising campaigns.

MoMac's GoSell platform has been developed to help publishers easily integrate and manage the inclusion of mobile banners and sponsored content within editorial and branded environments and will be available as part of MoMac's integrated mobile publishing platform, GoMedia.

The Mobile Advertising Attitudes Report surveyed a cross section of 1,400 UK mobile phone users during May 2007.

Advertising Formats

Despite the fact that mobile advertising is in its infancy, the report reveals that as many as 13% of 16-24s have already responded to or clicked-on a mobile advert. Given the limited inventory currently available for mobile advertising, and the relative rarity of mobile users being served mobile ads, the figures show the potential for a significant future take-up - if the communication is delivered in the right way.

When it comes to mobile advertising formats, MoMac's research shows clear differences in the preferences of men and women and the different demographic groups. When on mobile sites, text based advertising links are the most popular (56%) with a clear female bias of 60% compared to just 47% of men. Picture or banner-based advertising was the second most popular option, favoured by 29% overall and just under one in three 25-34 year olds. Interestingly, video based advertising has a strong male bias with 22% of men compared to just 12% of women stating they would be most likely to respond to a video advert. Video formats were also more popular with younger mobile users selected by 23% of 16-24s but only 12% of the over 55s.

Payment Models

The research results also indicate that content providers will need to consider a number of payment models to appeal to the diverse groups of mobile users in the UK looking for content. The ad-funded model could become dominant with younger mobile users, with 47% of 16 to 24s preferring to access content for free in exchange for viewing advertising. Only 32% of this group opted for a pay-as-you-download (PAYD) model and only 3.9% stated they would want to pay for content via a subscription. In contrast the PAYD method is more popular with older mobile users, with 55% of those aged 45 and older opting to pay for content on demand, and also appeals more to women, with 54% choosing PAYD compared to 41% of men who are more open to advertising.

Sham Careem, MD of MoMac UK, omments: "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. 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: Turk.Internet

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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Case Study - HBO for Entourage

Objective: HBO wanted to raise awareness of the second season of the orginal series "Entourage," by promoting the show's popular catchphrase, "Let's Hug It Out Bitch" (LHIOB).

Solution: HBO's media agency, OMD, contacted Kikucall to craft a campaign to drive traffic to the LHIOB website, and drive consumers to download Entourage-branded mobile content.

In order to achieve the client's goal, Kikucall designed a campaign to promote a series of exclusive "Let's Hug It Out Bitch" ringtones available exclusively at www.LHIOB.com.

  • Kikucall developed an online ringtone interface that was integrated into the www.LHIOB.com website.
  • The interface collected consumer mobile phone information, and sent free LHIOB ringtones directly to consumer mobile phones.
  • Kikucall also sent a text message blast to a targeted list of 50,000 opt-in consumers in New York and Los Angeles. The messages contained a link to a Kikucall-developed WAP site where consumers could download the free LHIOB ringtones.
Results: In the six months following the launch of the campaign, consumers listened to more than 180,600 LHIOB ringtones via the Kikucall web interface, and more than 19,600 LHIOB website visitors requested to download a ringtone. To deliver the ringtone to consumers, Kikucall sent a text message with a WAP link to download the ringtone to consumer mobile phones. More than 15,500 consumers successfully downloaded the LHIOB ringtones from the Kikucall-designed WAP site.

Source: Mobile Marketing Association

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Survey: Growing Opportunities for Mobile Advertising

More than four out of five U.S. adults (85%) own a mobile phone, compared with seven in ten (71%) who have a landline or home phone - and nearly two-thirds of mobile phone owners (63%) agreed that their phone is very personal to them, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Ingenio, MarketingCharts reports.

Less than a third of mobile phone owners (30%) recall seeing or hearing an advertisement on a mobile phone in the past year, suggesting that a dominant advertising model to reach the growing demographic of mobile phone users has yet to emerge, Ingenio said.

Ad-related findings:

  • Regarding the kind of mobile ads they find acceptable, respondents were most favorably disposed toward sponsored text links that appear as a result of internet searches (26%).
  • Close behind were audio ads that play instead of ringing when waiting for someone to answer a call (21%), and a text message from a company (20%).
  • Among those who have ever called 411 from their mobile phones, commercial (74%) and restaurant (72%) phone and address listings are the most frequently sought-after types of information.
  • When asked about their current and anticipated cell phone use, about half of mobile phone owners (49%) said they are already using their phones for more than just calls, including sending and receiving text messages (36%), and taking, sending and receiving photos (24%).

"An inherent difference between the mobile and PC environments is that mobile searchers want to find information and then immediately act on it," said Marc Barach, chief marketing officer, Ingenio.

"The mobile environment lets advertisers reach consumers at the point of decision, and an advertising model that connects the two when intent is at its highest will do for mobile what clicks did for the web."

Source: Marketing Vox

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One in Five Users Gives Mobile Search and Audio Ads Thumbs Up

More than a quarter of the people responding to a new survey said sponsored text links that appear as a result of Web searches would be their preferred form of mobile phone advertising.

The research, commissioned by mobile pay-per-call ad provider Ingenio, found that 26 percent of the 4,123 adult respondents reacted favorably to the idea of search-based mobile marketing. However, there was also some approval of audio ads that would play while the caller is waiting for another party to answer, said Ingenio. It said 21 percent of those surveyed had a positive response to that idea.

Text messages from an advertiser were the least-supported form, according to the report. Twenty percent of those surveyed said text message offers were deemed "at least somewhat acceptable."

The study, conducted by Harris Interactive, confirmed prior Ingenio data that showed most mobile phone searches are for local businesses such as restaurants, hotels and entertainment services. In the new study, Ingenio found 74 percent of people who have dialed 411 on their cell phones were looking for a business, and that "phone and address listings are the most frequently sought-after types of services."

Just 30 percent of the mobile phone owners surveyed could recall seeing or hearing an advertisement on their device during the past year. "That says to us there's a giant opportunity… a greenfield opportunity for businesses to place themselves in front of a huge audience," said Ingenio Chief Marketing Officer Marc Barach.

The movement to ad-supported mobile phone service is likely to begin with information services. Whereas service providers now charge users fees for 411 searches, this structure is likely to give way to searches that are free but serve up advertising, said Barach. "You listen to an ad that is relevant to your query," he said. "Then you have a choice of following that advertiser path or staying on the phone and getting the listing you asked for."

Jingle Networks also provides a free information service under the Free411 name.

Barach said he was most surprised by the study's findings relating to mobile phone ownership. "The finding that mobile phones now exceed landlines for all age groups is pretty powerful stuff," said Barach.

The survey showed that more than four out of five adults in the U.S. own a cell phone while 71 percent have a land-line or home phone. It also found that 89 percent of those 18 to 34 years old own cell phones or smartphones, but only 57 percent of that group have a land-line phone.

The key to successful search-based mobile advertising is accurate targeting, said Barach. That's because, unlike a PC's Web browser, "the tolerance for error is that much smaller on the small screen."

He believes mobile advertising is going to blossom quickly, particularly if phones with larger screens and better Web browsing follow the iPhone's lead and become commonplace. Eventually, wireless carriers will drastically reduce their fees for data plans as the space becomes monetized by advertising, Barach predicted.

"That's really the silver lining to bringing more advertising to mobile [from a consumer point of view]," he said. "It will make the cost come down and ultimately be free."

Source: ClickZ

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Text marketing enters the fray

An online company believes paying people to receive ads is the key to marketing by text message without irritating consumers or phone companies.

Mobile phone users registered with HooHaa list their name age, location and buying interests on a database and allow themselves to be reached by advertisers by text.

In return, they get a 10 cent credit for each advertiser text which is accumulated into lots of $2.50 and deducted from their mobile accounts.

The scheme started in January after chief executive Brian Hawker and his partners - Jason King and Kerry Emerson - happened on the idea.

Hawker - who has a background in sales and marketing at FMCG company Masterfoods - says it is early days yet.

But HooHaa signed up 43,000 people and last month began its move into the Australian market. "We've been surprised by the swift uptake and to be honest there is an element of our touching wood," he said.

"But we think that we might have happened on a business model for marketers to reach mobile customers with tailored messages."

Mobile phones are enticing for marketers because it gives them direct one-to-one access to consumers.

HooHaa answers a problem that has ensured mobile marketing is heavily self-regulated by the phone companies.

"Quite frankly, people just really hate it, says Michael Carney, the media strategist at ad agency G2.

But permission-based marketing is allowed by phone companies and HooHaa says it lets advertisers reach mobile users without becoming a nuisance.

HooHaa advertised through mainstream media and registered people in an online survey giving their interests and buying habits. As a result they got approaches only on things they wanted to hear about.

"I don't want to get messages from a fashion store like Max, but I do want to know there is a special deal for golf club members at a local golf store or if my favourite beer was selling at $15 a dozen at a local supermarket," he said.

Hawker said traditional direct marketing would see companies sending out 100,000 pamphlets or messages trying to reach 1000 customers.

Direct marketing executive Robert Limb, of Rapp Collins Limb Walker, said the type of service offered by HooHaa was more likely to be attractive for promotional advertising than for discounting.

He said the appeal of mobile marketing was based on the close relationship that could be forged and had to be built on permission to communicate.

Consumers had to be in control of the messages they were receiving.

Hawker confirmed the HooHaa had "some challenges" with one of the phone companies but declined to give details of this, the allocation of ad revenue or profitability.

He said the HooHaa database had a broad cross-section of consumers, but was strongest in the demographic for people aged 18-30.

Source: New Zealand Herald

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Many Now Find Dates Using their Cell Phone

Recently, Jeff Blum was out buying a sandwich when his mind wandered toward his social life. So he got out his cell phone and sent a text message with his work ZIP Code to MeetMoi, a new mobile-dating service. Within minutes, his phone received the profile of a woman who worked nearby, and the two began exchanging messages about where they worked, their professions — and meeting up for a drink.
"I liked the fact that we were talking right then and not waiting for e-mails to go back and forth," says Blum, who is 24 years old. "It all happened right away."
Millions of consumers have begun prowling for a date on their cell phones, thanks to new mobile-dating services that enable "real-time" dating — that is, letting users connect on the spot with the people they pick out. Designed to be instant versions of Internet dating, many of the new services have capabilities that online-dating services haven't offered — such as letting you search for a date in a location you can update as you move around, and letting you chat with other people seeking a date while you're out and about.
Match.com will soon launch a new mobile-dating service that will allow its 15 million members to access their profiles and send messages to potential matches from their phones. Match.com is also planning to launch some dating features on Ask Mobile GPS, a software application that lets users of phones with built-in Global Positioning System chips search for local businesses near their location. While the service is still being designed, it could allow users to search for other daters nearby. "We want to take mobile dating to the next step," says Match's chief executive, Thomas Enraght-Moony.
MeetMoi's recently launched dating service helps users identify people who are nearby and looking for dates. Registered users can indicate that they are available by text-messaging a ZIP Code or street address to the service. MeetMoi then searches for other members who have indicated they're looking for a date in the area and sends back the profiles of people who match the user's criteria. The service is free to register and costs 99 cents for 10 anonymous text messages.
Zogo was launched late last year and connects users who want to talk by phone. Users who log in through the browser in their mobile phone will see a list of matches based on information they have provided about their preferences. If one of the matches sparks a member's interest, he can request a phone conversation, prompting Zogo to send a text message to the match's phone. If the recipient consents, Zogo calls both phones simultaneously, without disclosing either member's phone number. Zogo is now free but may soon start charging a monthly subscription fee for some features.
Jumbuck Entertainment's Fast Flirting service is a mobile version of speed dating. For about $3 a month, it allows users to sign into a virtual "lobby" where they can select a flirting partner based on factors such as age and location. They can then have private text conversations of up to 10 minutes — a twist on real-world speed dating in which users try to meet a lot of new people in a short period of time.
While consumers who would rather flirt from afar are skittish, the new features are starting to gain steam among a new generation of mobile daters who want to do everything on the go. The services are already driving strong growth for the mobile-dating market — and helping to entice consumers to sign up for the mobile data plans that are necessary to browse the Web from their phones. An average of 3.6 million U.S. cell-phone users accessed a dating service from their mobile phone in March, according to M:Metrics, a mobile research firm, up from 2.8 million in March 2006.
Dating is in many ways made for mobile phones, says Mark Donovan, an analyst with M:Metrics, because people are often most eager for a date when they are "out and about." But the services, particularly those based on location, are likely to appeal most to users in dense urban areas, where the dating pool is likely to be larger and more concentrated.
Mobile-dating services also face pressure to prove that they are safe for users and can't be exploited by stalkers posing as daters. To address such concerns, MeetMoi makes its matches without divulging members' locations to each other, and it automatically logs users out of the location they put in after two hours. "You tell us when you want to become available," says MeetMoi's founder and CEO, Andrew Weinreich. He adds that the service is safer than other dating services because a user can have only one account pegged to his or her phone number (unlike Internet dating sites where users can register under multiple aliases).
Still, some worry that location-based features might be misused. "Right now the application would become a stalking application if you added GPS," says Ted Verani, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Trilibis Mobile, creator of mobile-dating service Webdate Mobile. He adds that GPS may be appropriate when technology improves to enable users to better regulate who sees what.
Other hurdles for potential miscreants include a complicated sign-up process. While many services will work across most phones, they often require the users to sign up for a mobile Internet data plan. Some carriers may block some services like sending profile pictures, because they consume too much traffic. And pricing plans still vary widely, with some services charging per text message and others charging monthly subscription fees.

By Jessica E. Vascellaro
The Wall Street Journal

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