Mobile Advertising Has Potential

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Although nearly everyone today has a cell phone, mobile marketing is still very much in its infancy and marketers are struggling with how best to use the mobile platform to influence consumers. So far, it seems they have not been that effective if you look at the numbers: only 6.9% of adults surveyed said that video on mobile phones influenced them to purchase electronics; 6.4% said text messaging did the same. However, when you turn your eyes to what those numbers look like for the younger crowd, an entirely different picture emerges.

Mobile Ads Are Starting To Work

For the much-sought-after and elusive 18-24 year old segment of the market, mobile advertising has promise. In fact, according to data from a BIGresearch study, it’s twice as effective among younger consumers with 14.2% of 18 to 24 year-olds saying that mobile video influenced them and 15.9% saying text messaging did.

Those number also show that text messaging isn’t the only way to reach consumers via their phone. Today’s phones keep advancing and many of them have become more like a little computer in our pocket…or even a TV in our pocket. Because of this, marketers’ now have the ability to tap into mobile TV services like Verizon’s VCAST or Sprint TV, for example (Both are U.S. services).

Beyond The Small Screen

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But mobile advertising doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Verizon’s strategy is to use mobile ads as part of the bigger picture – something they call their “three screen” approach. Since Verizon offers mobile data services, digital FIOS TV services, and high-speed internet, the mobile device “can be used to enhance or activate other types of media,” says Stephanie Bauer, who leads mobile advertising at Verizon Wireless.

As for AT&T, Jordan Berman, executive director of media innovation for AT&T Mobility is looking at a strategy that includes “mobile display ads, a direct-response element such as a bar code or text shortcode, and some form of branded content or utility, whether an m-commerce site, coupon or a contest, to which consumers are driven.”

Those mobile ads may help drive real-world sales, like Verizon’s three-screened promotional effort, the Burger King “Whopper Freakout” campaign, created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Another company offering mobile ads is the mobile coupon service, Cellfire, who offers both downloadable apps and a mobile web site  for accessing deals from your mobile phone.

Effects on M-Commerce

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However, mobile ads could also help the m-commerce trend, too. Earlier this month, we looked at some ways that m-commerce was taking off and discovered that nearly half (49%) of mobile data users said they expected to participate in mobile commerce in the future.

Despite the growth, it’s still obvious that the perfect formula for marrying mobile ads and mobile shopping hasn’t been perfected yet, as many marketers seem to still be experimenting with various methods and gauging their effectiveness.

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