What Is Mobile Advertising?

In the marketing world, mobile advertising is the way of the future. Advertising through this medium is similar to advertising online although the potential target is much greater. In 2009, the number of mobile phones in the world totaled over 4.6 billion. Computers totaled less than a quarter of that. Currently the amount spent on mobile advertising is only around 1% of total advertising budgets. Media for mobile phones is quickly evolving. Approximately 90% of the United States population owns a cell phone according to CTIA, the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry.

Mobile advertising has really taken off in countries like Spain, France and Japan. In Japan, 44% of mobile phone users click on ads they receive via their phones. The largest mobile advertising company in Japan, D2, announced in November of 2009 that the industry was worth 900 million dollars in their country alone. There are several forms of mobile ads from web banners to SMS advertising to advertising within applications and games. Other forms include audio or video recordings that play while interacting with different services. You can get free instant access to the best mobile marketing newsletter.

According to Mashable, an online guide to social media and one of the top ten blogs worldwide, trends to watch in mobile advertising include:

– Innovations through SMS
– Advancements with rich forms of media like sound, gaming and video
– Mobile applications or mobile websites
– Geo-location as an advertising tool
– The role of mobile video
– Innovations through SMS

Of the available mobile phone models, 98% are capable of short message service, or text messaging. This form of communication is one of the most popular methods in the world. Text messaging is easy to use with a low-cost. There are no applications needed to text another person. Service providers offer a range of options from unlimited plans to plans that give up to 250 messages per month. Even if a person opts out of a text message plan, he or she still is capable to receive a message. Statistics show that in late 2008, the average American user sent 357 text messages per month. Experian reported that text messages are usually read within 15 minutes of being received and responded to within an hour while email messages might go unread for several days.

Advancements with Rich Media

With the number of smartphones saturating the market, rich media will begin to have a stronger foothold in the mobile advertising industry. Consumers prefer engaging, interactive ads, designed through rich media like gaming, sound and video. A drawback to this form of mobile advertising is that skills and time are necessary to create ads. Big companies have the advantage with this media as they are more likely to have the budget and staff capable of tackling this type of advertisement.

Mobile Applications or Mobile Websites In Advertising

Advertisers have to decide if they are going to create a mobile application or a mobile website. Some will opt to do both. Certain factors like operating systems, types of devices, and screen size all play a role in how they will present mobile marketing. Internet giant Google is taking the mobile web road while Apple is going the application route. At this time it is difficult to find out which type of platform consumers will prefer in the future. This causes many issues during the development stage.

In an April 2010 survey conducted by eROI, trends in mobile marketing, less than a third of marketers in the United States consider the mobile marketing experience important to their customers. Only 23% of the respondents reported having an optimized website for a mobile device. An internet trends report by Morgan Stanley estimated that by the year 2014, mobile devices will conduct half of the web browsing done by Americans.

Advertising with Geo-Location

Geo-Location is one of the newer trends in mobile advertising. Applications like Foursquare are place-based programs for smartphones that help consumers find new ways to explore their city. Although there is an interest in this type of marketing, a recent study by Foursquare indicated that only 4% of users have taken advantage of place-based services. Only 1% actually log in to a location once per week.

Some concerns with geo-location based mobile advertising centers around privacy issues. This is also the case for other forms that deal specifically with targeted marketing. When companies customize ads, they use personal behavioral data, user profiles, and other data mind information. Privacy advocates have warned the industry that this may result in privacy infringement. Generally users have to give consent when opening an account for an application. This consent will override many privacy issues. The Mobile Marketing Association has published guidelines to aid marketers but as this is a rapidly growing area, the Association has found it difficult to keep their guidelines current.

The Role of Mobile Video

Internet video consumption has experienced a huge growth with today’s internet users. Because of this trend with internet video, marketers assume that mobile video will also experience a huge growth. Cisco, a worldwide leader in networking, believes that the use of video will occupy about 66% of mobile traffic by 2013.

Mobile advertising has definitely caught marketers attention and the amount spent on advertising is growing. Marketers can measure the effectiveness of mobile ad campaigns by the number of views and clicks as well as other interactive tools. Swedish analyst, Berg Insight predicts that by 2014, mobile marketing will represent 11.7% of the total digital advertising market.