Due to the availability of context, immediacy, and personalisation, mobile has significant advantages over the other channels as an advertising medium.
However, there are still a number of barriers to the growth of the advertising market, one of which is lack of clarity about how mobile network operators should participate with other participants of the mobile advertising value chain in order to facilitate market development.
As advertising buyers reconfigure budgets to suit challenging economic conditions, and mobile operators focus on keeping subscribers on board, it is critical that advertising agencies and brands, together with the media buyers and technology vendors, agree on a business model that will make it viable for the media buyers to leverage the advantages of the mobile domain for the benefit of the brands.
The market is still highly fragmented, and media access is divided between the many offdeck players and carriers. Although difficult to reach, inventory is still available. This inventory could have been utilised for highly targeted and highly effective campaigns that pinpoint unique user segments in an enriching mode.
But the mobile operators’ approach to the mobile advertising market is often varied and lacks clarity. For example, this is not a core function of the traditional operator’s business, so it’s hard for them to make their inventory available for sale not just as chinks of SMS or MMS, but rather as meaningful audiences for marketers.
This hardship results in the fact that mobile ad budgets go mostly to WAP banners, targeted only by the context of the hosting site. This clearly does not make the potential of mobile advertising, where WAP consists only small parts of available inventory, and where targeting could be personalised, rather than based on the site context.
Therefore, what’s required is a model where all parties, including operators, ad agencies, media buyers and brands, operate on the same base. Operators are the ones to provide access to their user base, repackaging it from SMS and WAP to meaningful packages like ‘16 to 24 fashion female’, or ‘30 plus gadget geeks’.
Media trading systems need to be a place to provide access to this inventory to all, starting indeed with large media agencies, but foremost to the growing sector of small businesses and small advertisers. This could be made part of the ecosystem once they have the digital trading market place, as this long tail group consists of a large part of the potential advertiser’s base.
The second factor is the direct access to customer needs to be provided with ad formats that are rich and engaging, and that allow interactivity and conversion. The combination of text and images, use of animations and high quality video, provides an appealing user experience that is key for customer satisfaction. Furthermore, as consumers tighten their budgets, ad-funded or ad-subsidised games, music, and even alternative messaging services on the mobile present excellent opportunities for advertisers to reach targeted audiences.
Thirdly, and most of all, to maintain their position as their subscribers trusted provider, they need to maintain their anonymity and privacy to the advertisers. The operators need to act as the privacy keeper or a wall between the advertiser and the users, on which they know so much. This has become harder as more attention is centred on targeting advertisements by the subscriber’s interests or behaviour.
In summary, the mobile advertising market will experience something of a breathing period now, as advertising buyers sort out their advertising budgets and mobile operators continue to seek new, innovative ways of engaging with end users. To an extent, mobile advertising can help facilitate this, in a manner that is both attractive and highly cost effective from the advertiser’s perspective.
For this to happen, effective participation in the mobile advertising market requires all parties to take action to clearly outline, and place a value on their key assets for the advertising buyer. These centre on the subscriber data that mobile operators hold, on the trusted and personal relationship they have with their subscribers, and in many cases, on the mobile brand, which can also be a powerful marketing tool.
The more clearly that service providers can define these assets for media buyers, and enable advertisers small and large to use them without impinging on the operator–subscriber relationship, the greater the chance that the growth of mobile advertising will bring maximum benefits.
Mobixell’s comprehensive range of mobile media solutions enable service providers to deliver mobile messaging, mobile advertising and mobile TV to over half a billion subscribers worldwide.
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