November 1, 2009...11:24 pm

Hope For Mobile Advertising?

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Marketers are starting to embrace the right elements

Many of the comments that have come in response to recent Mobile Mandala posts gave the comment author’s well reasoned opinions as to why mobile advertising has not taken off in a big way.  But, the underlying current, no matter what the comment author’s opinion, was the poignant question of whether we as a mobile marketing and advertising community will ever get it right.  Will we ever rise above the trees and take a real good look at the whole forest?  Will we ever stop putting our head down and blindly charging forward, and finally raise our head up so we can intelligently move forward?

Well, the recent 2009 Netsize Mobile Marketing survey landed on my desk with a very welcome thud (or more accurately, downloaded with a very welcome ping).  After all, the results seemed to reinforce and address ten weeks of incessant posts, and some incredibly insightful reader comments  regarding why mobile advertising has not reached its potential.

The overall premise of why mobile advertising has not reached its potential is that marketers have not truly recognized the the mobile phone’s unique position in the media universe as a very personal, highly interactive communication ecosystem.  The Netsize survey of the opinions of senior mobile executives seemed to recognize these principles in its findings:

Very Personal – Because of the personal nature of the mobile device, consumers are more receptive to marketing messages that are consistent with how they normally send and receive messages in this personal space.

  • One-way broadcast style SMS messaging is expected to go down (57% to 52%) and two way SMS messaging is expected to go up (40% to 46%) as marketers recognize the prevalence of interactivity in consumer’s daily interactions
  • MMS messaging involving pictures or video is expected to double (11% to 22%) as marketers recognize that people like communicating to each other on their mobile phones with images and that may also be a great way to engage with their company’s message
  • Use of the mobile phone for retention and loyalty campaigns is expected to grow (43% to 64%) as marketers recognize that consumers prefer to receive messaging from people (or companies) they know and like rather than from strangers

 Highly Interactive – Most time spent on the mobile phone involves some type of an interactive activity whether it is communicating back and forth via voice and SMS, while playing with a game or interacting with an app. 

  • One-way broadcast style banner ads are expected to stay stagnant (25% to 26%) and more interactive branded applications are expected to rise dramatically (23% to 35%)
  • Prompting of consumer response via coupons, barcodes and QR codes is expected to increase (20% to 31%)

Communication Ecosystem - The mobile phone has developed, and is continually developing, behavioral mores and cultural norms that have very serious implications for marketers.  Violate one of those norms, and the consequences can be severe. 

  • The two inhibitors to mobile advertising and mobile marketing that most concerned executives were the quality and validity of the opt-in database and concerns over regulation and consumer backlash.
  • Transactional communication (purchase notifications, crisis management, etc) is expected to rise (27% to 37%) as marketers recognize that consumers view their phone as ways to keep abreast of important information that affects their lives in a tangible way on a day-to-day basis

Perhaps most importantly and most encouragingly, the survey reported that one third of the senior mobile executives who responded reported that they lacked the skills to define and deploy an effective mobile marketing strategy.  Why is that encouraging?  Because the first step to seeking and acquiring knowledge, is the acknowledgement that you need it.

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something you do not understand”

-        Frank Herbert (science fiction novelist; wrote “Dune” series)


  • Mobile marketing and advertising revenue will significantly increase (and take away $ from other advertising media) when it can be effectively linked to GPS technology built into your mobile device.

    When an advertiser can generate a message, promote a product, or make you aware of their store at the point in time when you can act upon that information (ie you are in close proximity to their location) mobile advertising will offer a competitive advantage to other media.

    Listening to Google executives I believe this day is less than 6-8 months away – and google will lead the way.

  • I have just returned from South Africa to set up the UK offices of TMI and we run massive mobile campaigns across Africa. Due to the lack of internet penetration and costs most users in Africa access the web from their phones and so often we see more clicks from mobile vs web campaigns (PPC)

    There are some amazing developers in SA and local based advertising already going on in the market. Point in case you access maps looking for restaurant before going to see the world cup and an ads show letting you know exactly how far restaurants are and then directions, reviews etc

    Powerful and a great ROI.

  • This is a wonderful article and I’d like to share it with my friends and clients – but there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to do that – please advise. Thanks!


  • [...] Visit link: Hope For Mobile Advertising? « Mobile Mandala [...]

  • I work in the Nashville area and mobile advertising has been a challenge here when accounting for all mediums used. As a marketing and advertising consultant, I would like to see it become even more mainstream and successful so as to offer encouragement from companies hesitant to take the risk and be a leader in this style of marketing. Hoping that 2010 will entice a bit more risk taking from those still skeptical.

  • I agree that GPS is the key as long as the messages are opt-in. Ramming stuff down someone’s throat just because they’re close enough to do it is suicide.

  • One of the most concise posts on this topic. Thanks. If it weren’t for the spam implications, I’d ReTweet it a dozen times today. But, if you don’t mind, I’ll quote and reference it in an updated business plan (new content/technology app for in-store to mobile engagement).

    Keep posting! Makes writing business plans easier.

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