October 17, 2007

Nokia Leads Mobile Ad Content Push

Nokia's Mosh is a new mobile social networking site where users can upload and share content consumable on mobile phones. Through both Web-based and mobile handset-based interfaces, users can post professional and user-created content for themselves, a group, or the whole network to share.

Nokia's Mosh move is smart and taps the social media gamut after it also announced last month it had entered into an agreement to acquire mobile advertising and marketing company Enpocket for an undisclosed sum.

Worldwide, mobile ad spending is expected to reach US$1.5 billion this year and grow to US$11.3 billion by 2011, according to market researcher Informa Telecoms & Media.

In March this year, Nokia announced two mobile advertising services. Nokia Ad Service, a fully managed service for advertisers to conduct targeted advertising on mobile services and applications consists of a group of mobile publishers forming a mobile ad network and a platform to deploy, manage and optimize mobile advertising campaigns.

Nokia Advertising Connector
, a private label service for third party Publishers and Advertising Aggregators that want to extend to relevant mobile advertising operates as an intelligent switch, selecting between text, visual, audio and video ads - depending on the user's context - and feeding the ad to the device.

In the UK, Vodafone has also carried out trials with both Yahoo! and Google in various markets of a new ad-based model themselves.

Leading research house Frost & Sullivan, said in a recently issued report, another business model that has shown the most positive indications of success is the ad-funded or sponsored-content model, where subscribers get to download or access content for free in exchange for receiving selected ads either as a precursor to the ad or embedded within a downloadable application. Incentive-based ads such as offering cash, free minutes, downloads and discount coupons are also an attractive way of pushing content.

Locally, a recent study by Ericsson's Consumer Lab found that one in four Australian mobile phone users have access to Mobile TV services and a third of those already use the service.

In August, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) Mobile Industry Group launched its AIMIA Mobile Advertising Guidelines, which recommends best practices for the creation and sizing of mobile display advertisements in Australia.

The new Guidelines have been developed following extensive consultation with carriers, publishers, content aggregators and content providers, both within Australia and internationally.

The new Guidelines have been endorsed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Further guidelines for text-based sponsored listings, video and animated ads and mobile TV will be needed.

Vodafone itself released its own consumer charter for mobile phone advertising in September. The Vodafone charter goes beyond the technical display advertising standards by tackling self-regulatory issues.

The charter states that customers must opt in to receive an advertising message and be able to opt out, and Vodafone will not release customers' personal information to advertisers. It also covers technical, pricing, complaint resolution and campaign tracking issues. Hutch3G and Optus have conducted similar testing.

In May, Telstra's Sensis division released the findings of its pioneering research into the delivery of display advertising on Australians’ mobile phones. The trials explored mobile advertising from a technical and design perspective, measuring consumer responses to various mobile campaign tools including banners, content sponsorship, mobile search and mobile video advertising. Last month, Sensis commenced a trial for customers to download to their phone promotional coupons that are instantly redeemable at fast food chains Pizza Hut and KFC.

But I think the really exciting acquisition has been the Yahoo! purchase of Actionality, which we reported on in August. This technology is true in-content advertising. Windows Mobile 6 is also coming along with Microsoft's recent purchase of ScreenTonic.

Producer wise, Yamgo is a very cool outfit we like from Oxford in the UK getting in on the extreme sports action for product placement in mobile content.

The number of mobile phones in use is growing much faster than the number of computers. There are 2.5 billion mobile phones around the world compared to the planet's billion or so personal computers.

That's a lot of eyeballs.


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