Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Mobile Advertising Influences 18-24-Year-Olds Most

July 3, 2008

Marketing VOX

Use* of picture/video phones is up 17 percent for all adults according to an analysis of BIGresearch’s most recent Simultaneous Media Survey (SIMM 11, Dec. 07) of 15,727 participants (v. Dec. 06), MarketingCharts reports.

That level of use, along with the finding that 90 percent of adults say they regularly or occasionally use a cell phone, makes a case for mobile advertising as a viable option for advertisers, BIGresearch said.

However, cell phones rank low in the list of media that compel consumers to purchase: 6.9 percent of adults say video on cell phone influences them to purchase electronics; 6.4 percent say text messaging does so. (Word of mouth is the top medium, with 42.6 percent).

bigresearch-mobile-advertising-text-influence-to-purchase-by-category.jpgNevertheless, a mobile bright spot is that the elusive 18-24-year-old segment is influenced more than any other: More than double the proportion say they are influenced – for both forms of cell phone media (14.2 percent for video and 15.9 percent for text messaging):

bigresearch-mobile-advertising-video-influence-to-purchase-by-category.jpg“Given the state of our economy, mobile advertisers have a unique environment in which to build strategies that influence consumers to buy via their cell phones, especially the media-elusive 18-24-year-old segment,” said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch.

“More robust cell phone technology allows consumers to receive promotional offers and connect to their favorite internet shopping site all within minutes and without having to fuel up on gas.”

Understanding how consumers use cell phones is also critical in developing mobile marketing plans, BIGresearch said: Cell phones are much more likely to trigger an online search for young consumers than all adults (21.8 percent vs. 8.3 percent) as is text messaging (15.3 percent vs. 4.8 percent).

Other findings:

  • The 18-24 year old set is also more likely to download to a cell phone than the general market (31.6 percent vs. 15.9 percent).
  • More than half (50.5 percent) of 18-24-year-olds communicate with others about a service, product or brand via cell phone (compared with 29.6 percent of all adults), second only to face-to-face communication (66.9 percent).
  • 18-24-year-olds are also almost three times as likely to communicate through text messaging than all adults (30.7 percent v. 10.8 percent).

*Regular/occasional use of picture/video phones

Forget Ringtones, Games — Consumers Want Practical Mobile Internet

July 3, 2008

Marketing VOX

Rather than entertainment and ringtones on mobile phones, US and UK consumers want practical mobile web activities — like phone-optimized banking and travel planning, according to a survey from dotMobi and AKQA Mobile that measured mobile internet use and attitudes, MarketingCharts writes.

Nearly two-thirds of participants said they would consider purchasing theater tickets, take-out food and travel tickets via a mobile phone.

Nearly 90 percent of consumer respondents said they would be more likely to choose an airline with mobile check-in facilities over one that did not have them.

This strong consumer interest in mobile banking and commerce suggests an inherent level of trust in the mobile web, according to dotMobi and AKQA.

The study also showed that phones are very important to consumers: 63 percent said they would be more likely to give up their money than their mobile smartphone if they were mugged.

(MarketingCharts offers a handful of other findings.)

Mobile Photos, SMS Used to Customize Nike Footwear

July 3, 2008

Marketing VOX

Nike has launched NIKE PHOTOiD, which enables European users to make customized shoes out of mobile photos.

Street Canvas,” an AKQA ad promoting the campaign, depicts a user shooting graffiti, texting the image to Nike, and receiving a link to a customized pair of Air Force Ones, superimposed over the user’s photo.

NIKE PHOTOiD selects two colors from the images in order to craft each pair of shoes. Users can forward the results to friends, or enter a unique code (a “DESIGNiD”) on Nike.com to buy their design.

The effort “gives a glimpse of what can be achieved when technology connects a consumer’s inspirational environment with their natural desire to create,” said Dan Rosen of AKQA Mobile.

PHOTOiD is available to users in the UK, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

AKQA was the agency behind the Halo 3 “Believe” campaign, which took a number of honors from One Show and the Cannes International Advertising Festival. It also orchestrated a Visa campaign to encourage small businesses to use Facebook’s ad network.

Top 5 things to know about SMS advertising

July 2, 2008

iMedia Connection

If you want a marketing platform that offers reach, ease of entry, targeting and interactivity, then text marketing has it all.

When most of us think about SMS, we envision the (sometimes creatively) abbreviated messages, like “R u on yr way home?” But in addition to being a convenient and addictive personal communication tool, SMS is proving to be a great platform to help marketers reach and engage hard-to-find audiences.

Due to the personal nature of communicating with consumers on their mobile phones, marketers need to get smart about the medium and how to tap its potential to not only push information to consumers, but to spark a conversation with them. So, here are the things you need to remember about SMS Advertising.

1. There is big reach in text messaging, and audiences are already opted-in.
Don’t worry about having to deal with fragmentation. If you want to reach tens of millions of consumers through their phones, you can do it today. Moreover, the demographics of this consumer base are not purely teens or twentysomethings; lots of other demographics opt-in for SMS content as well.

Taking a step back, SMS is also the most commonly used mobile technology (besides voice), and because virtually all mobile phones can send and receive text messages, SMS advertising messages reach the widest possible audience.

According to the Nielsen Company, 77 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used SMS by the end of 2007. In comparison, the same report said that 36 percent of mobile subscribers accessed the mobile web in the same period. More evidence of SMS’ pervasiveness: SMS-based information search was used by nearly 15 million consumers to get sports scores, news or weather during the final quarter of 2007, according to the Nielsen Company.

The things that make SMS a great tool for personal communication — ubiquity, relevance and immediacy — also make it a great channel for marketers.

Publishers like Yahoo, MySpace, Evite, USA TODAY, the NBA, and most television networks are all sending out content that users are asking for. The diversity of the content available leads to an equally diverse audience.

2. Getting started isn’t hard — it requires little legwork.
The biggest complaint I hear from marketers is that they don’t know where to start to find an audience for an SMS campaign. The good news is that this work has already been done for you. With built-in audiences provided by carriers and text message ad networks, marketers simply need to choose who they want to target and go for it. For example, Virgin Mobile recently launched its Sugar Mama program, allowing its customers to earn free mobile minutes in exchange for responding to SMS and mobile web banners on their mobile phones. Marketers have access to Virgin’s subscribers, as well as key demographic information about them.

In an example of quick set-up and launch, a leading sports entertainment company wanted to promote the commercial-free premiere of a documentary film on their network to an audience of young sports fans, and in the process, create a dialog with interested consumers. SMS served as a great medium for reaching on-the-go 18-25-year-olds who may not see traditional advertising. The company retained my company, 4INFO, to launch the SMS campaign.

Advertising was placed in 4INFO’s text message sports channel, with copy that invited users to respond to “TUNEIN.” Those who responded received information about the show and were invited to sign up for an SMS reminder about the air date of the show. No mobile website or rich media was required.

The campaign successfully drove viewers to tune in to the premiere, making it the most-viewed documentary in the company’s history. Twenty-four percent of users who interacted with the mobile advertising went on to sign up for a text message reminder about the show. Overall, 14 percent of users who received the SMS ad reported they had viewed the program.

3. Targeting is the key to advertising success.
The text message campaigns that perform best are those with a direct and simple call to action. Relevance is paramount — relevant ads are effective and memorable, especially when inserted into opt-in content. Here are some other tips:

  • Understand the different ways you can target your audience using SMS, including targeting by carrier and consumer interest. Consider the social, financial and tech savvy profile of the audience you want to reach, and target accordingly. If you consider only one of these dimensions, your advertising will be wasted on consumers who either can’t use your product or can’t hear your message.
  • SMS advertising offers the ability to target consumer segments with specific offers. The more relevant the campaign, the better the ad performance. It’s not rocket science, but writing “one size fits all” ad copy is one of the most common reasons for poor campaign performance.
  • Example: one mobile marketing firm was able to increase conversion rates by 60 to 100 percent by writing specific relevant copy in text message advertisements by targeted audience channel.
  • Example: For “Make Me a Supermodel” on Bravo, messages to Alltel customers promoted the My Circle offer, while messages to other consumers promoted different content.

4. Create a conversation with the consumer.
“Participation media” is the new buzz word in mobile. Campaigns that create a dialog with the consumer are more effective in generating conversions and are more measurable than simple media placement campaigns. A campaign can engage its audience by inviting the user to answer a question, play a game, or look something up. These invitations maximize campaign response rates.

Subtlety is not effective. An unclear, confusing or hard-to-notice call to action will get lost, even on the small screen. One example of this is an SMS campaign for the last Harry Potter novel. After being invited to vote on whether Harry Potter would die (the text message below on the left), audiences were initially sent the text “Harry Potter 40% off Learn more Reply HARRY.” After that copy was tweaked to “Thank you for voting! Harry Potter 7 goes on sale July 21st. Get 40% off at Borders Books, reply BORDERS,” responses improved by nearly 30 percent.

A conversation can go beyond a simple question and answer. Brands can create an ongoing connection with consumers by offering sponsored content that fits with their brand identity. Coors Brewing Company is the National Football League’s “Official Beer Sponsor.” Its agency, DraftFCB, wanted a campaign to support the fanatical interest of passionate NFL fans, so they sponsored NFL Draft text message alerts, offering consumers over the age of 21 the opportunity to opt in to Coors Light NFL Draft alerts, which are real-time text message updates on the first-round NFL draft picks with Coors branding on every message. This SMS alert service saw thousands of sports fans opt-in to these branded messages with no additional promotion outside of SMS.

5. Use SMS as the entry point to a richer experience.
SMS offers a variety of ways that marketers can engage consumers. Just because you start with text doesn’t mean that’s all you get. SMS offers a variety of ways to further engage customers and leverage the initial response to further interaction via additional text message, multi-media messages, email, voice, mobile web, and video. Marketers offering mobile services can drive sales instantly, targeting a built-in audience that is already interested in getting information on their phones. The ability of SMS to deliver cross-media interactivity allows marketers to pick the method that best fits their business goals. These methods include

  • SMS reply: A short ad with the option to reply with a keyword for additional information. This platform can also be used to allow the consumer to search for information, play games and receive coupons, reminders or special offers.
  • SMS click to WAP: Advertising containing a URL to a mobile website
  • SMS click to call: Advertising including a phone number
  • SMS branding ad: Branded content without a call to action

SMS can act as a bridge to connect a customer to another medium. Universal Pictures and their agency Ignited recently demonstrated excellence in cross-platform promotions with their campaign surrounding the release of box office hit “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” In addition to an innovative viral campaign using billboards, bus ads, television and radio spots and online advertising, the studio launched an SMS ad campaign targeted at consumers of digital media. Teaser ads invited consumers to reply SARAH to find out more; those who responded got more information about the film and an opportunity to view the trailer. Thousands of consumers viewed the movie trailer on mobile devices as a result of this campaign.

As you can see, SMS offers a wealth of opportunities for meaningful customer engagement. The key to success with an SMS campaign is to remember that consumers respond best to a targeted, direct call to action. By nature, SMS lets marketers provide consumers with a “digital snack” — a bite sized morsel that intrigues customers because it’s contextually relevant to their search or opted-in content. And like the best snacks, a great SMS campaign will keep them engaged and coming back for more.

Mobile Commerce Accelerates

July 2, 2008

Marketing VOX

Some 9 million US mobile subscribers have used their mobile phone to pay for goods or services, and half of all data users (49 percent) say they expect to participate in mobile commerce in the future, according to Nielsen Mobile figures issued at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago.

Among the findings presented:

  • As of Q1 2008, 3.6 percent of US mobile subscribers — some 9.2 million — used their phone to pay for goods or services.
  • Men are more likely than women to use their phone for commerce: 4.5 percent (4.9 million) of men and 3.0 percent (4.3 million) of women say they have made a purchase using their phone.
  • Adults age 25-34 are the most likely to have made a purchase using their phone: 5.4 percent of that age group (or some 3 million people) have made a purchase, compared with 3.6 percent among the general mobile-subscriber population.

Mobile websites are one popular way consumers make purchases over the mobile phone. Of the 40 million active US users of the mobile web in April 2008, 5 million accessed mobile shopping and auction websites – up 73 percent from April 2007, when just 2.9 million mobile users did so, Nielsen Mobile said.

Purchasing items via text messaging is another growing form of mobile commerce. Some services allow consumers to send text messages to a phone number or mobile shortcode in order to be charged for goods or services directly on their mobile phone bills. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they’ve used text messaging to purchase an item.

MarketingCharts provides more findings.

Mobile Coupons Go National Via Yahoo Deal

July 2, 2008

MediaPost Publications

Yahoo is teaming with Coupons Inc. to offer mobile coupons through its Yahoo Mobile service. The initiative would create a national platform for large brand advertisers to distribute mobile coupons, which so far have mostly been tested only in local markets or niche categories.

“Our goal in working with Yahoo is to combine our platform and brand marketing relationships with Yahoo’s mobile audience to really bring scale to the industry,” said Jeff Weitzman, chief marketing officer of Coupons Inc.

To help accelerate that effort, Weitzman said the company would offer participation in the mobile couponing program to its clients for free during the next 12 months. Papa John’s Pizza was the only advertiser announced Thursday in connection with Yahoo Mobile coupons.

But Weitzman said many of the 800 brand marketers with which it works have expressed interest in extending coupons to mobile devices. Quick-serve restaurants and retailers are the most likely to be early adopters because they potentially offer the most direct way for people to redeem mobile coupons.

General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft Foods and Clorox are among other Coupons Inc. clients.

Even so, Weitzman admitted that how mobile coupons are redeemed remains the biggest challenge to be overcome. The online coupons that the company typically distributes through Yahoo and other sites are printed out by consumers for redemption in stores.

But mobile coupons would rely on completely electronic means, such as a secure bar code system allowing shoppers to swipe mobile devices at the point of sale to get discounts or special offers.

Getting retailers comfortable with new technology and methods for redeeming coupons is no small hurdle. “Anything that slows down the check-out process is a problem for retailers,” acknowledged Weitzman.

In March, some of the country’s leading packaged-goods companies began to test a system for distributing electronic coupons to mobile devices with grocery retailer Kroger.

Using technology from Cellfire, the consumer scrolls through available discounted goods on their mobile device and composes a list of items to buy. Cellfire then communicates the list to Kroger, which automatically deducts the discount from the price at the cash register.

Weitzman said Coupons Inc. already provides printable coupons on Kroger’s Web site and expects to expand its relationship with the retailer.

Weitzman also offered few details about how coupons would be offered or redeemed via Yahoo Mobile. But he said distribution could involve different methods, including e-mail, banner ads, SMS text-messaging and applications on Yahoo’s mobile portal. “We can reach out to customers in the way it makes most sense for them,” he said.

Tim Bajarin, president of technology consulting firm Creative Strategies, said extending online coupons to mobile was a good step by Yahoo. “Consumers are using their cell phones for a lot more then voice and texting these days and consumer-friendly applications like coupons are on track to be hot items,” he said.

For its online offering, Coupons Inc. last week launched a program called Brandcaster that goes beyond its existing system to allow consumers to print coupons with a single click and without having to leave the site they are visiting. Weitzman said Brandcaster could eventually be extended to the mobile realm as well.

About 12% of U.S. Internet users click and redeem online coupons, according to a 2007 comScore Media Metrix study.

How to build a killer mobile database

July 2, 2008

iMedia Connection

Mobile opportunities

Every year is the “year of mobile.” There have been expectations from the outset for this advertising platform to revolutionize the industry, and if mastered, marketers could tag along with consumers everywhere. While mobile marketing has not had a breakthrough yet, there are enough statistics and predictions circulating within the industry to keep experts forecasting its probable success — year after year. The most appetizing is the continued increase of usage and penetration rates. If mobile advertising has its big break within the next two years, as many predictions forecast, it is time for marketers to begin bulking up their mobile databases right now.

What are the opportunities with SMS messaging?
The most obvious advantage of SMS messaging is the immediate access to users. With email, there is an inconsistent lag between when marketers reach out to consumers and when those consumers actually get the message. Mobile advertising allows marketers to reach users wherever they are during the day, not just when they are at a computer, in front of a TV set or in the car listening to the radio. This timeliness can be a crucial element for advertising campaigns such as sweepstakes, time-sensitive promotions or other incentive campaigns.

An advantage for mobile advertisers is the accessibility of the user — consumers are attached to their cellphones. Marketers can factor this into their messaging strategy, making their communications particularly timely. The mobile platform also has tie-in opportunities with other advertising forums like social networking to help promote multiplatform campaigns. For example, a beer company that advertises during the Super Bowl can give users the opportunity to express play-by-play reactions as a part of an advertising campaign.

How do you build your database?

Building a mobile database is not going to be unlike converting other types of contact data — either online or offline — to other formats. It is important to understand that users will be extremely reluctant to give away their mobile phone numbers. In my experience, the advertising opportunity needs to present a unique value to users or have clearly defined boundaries. Marketers also need to lay out their access up front and give users the ability to control it.

The incorporation of “American Idol” into a mobile platform serves as a leading example of how marketers can encourage users to volunteer their private information. By engaging in text messaging outreach, “American Idol” was one of the first to get consumers to get out their cellphones and interact with advertising efforts.

The best way to get consumers to accept text messages from an advertiser is to give them all the facts up front when they are opting in. When they sign up, ask them their preferred frequency rate of communication. Ask them which mobile device they have; this is essential as the industry is still running on such a wide array of platforms. This information can also work to an advertiser’s advantage. Knowing if a phone has the ability to access the web, marketers can make sure their advertisements include links or alternatively include other contact information when users have phones without internet capabilities. Cellphone users also need to be aware of involved costs, how long they will be receiving advertisements and how they can go about opting out of the text messaging service.

What should marketers be wary of?

Personnel: If advertisers decide to use mobile messaging, they should contemplate having staff members dedicated to answer users’ text message inquires. Some users might try to reply to marketers using this platform. For a successful campaign, advertisers need to coordinate with other sales teams to make sure there is adequate support to handle inbound calls. Since mobile advertisements are very personal, consumers might want to follow-up with a one-on-one conversation. It would also be advantageous to train this staff to be able to convert callers. Additionally, as with other advertising media, it is important to monitor the origin of a sale; capitalizing on a follow-up phone call is a great outlet to do this and further gauge the success of a mobile campaign.

Tracking: When mobile marketing is widely adopted, advertisers are going to have access to consumer segments like never before. As with all marketing initiatives, uniform metrics are necessary to analyze campaigns and allow for continual optimization. Dabbling with mobile marketing will be entertaining for interactive marketers regardless, but clients want ROI, and without proper tracking techniques, this advertising platform might not ever get off the ground.

SPAM comparisons: Mobile marketers need to be careful not to enter the SPAM arena. I think it is a safe assumption that users will equate mobile advertising with the likes of SPAM emails because they are distributed to the masses, they can clog inboxes and run the risk of being irrelevant. Calming consumers’ privacy issues is going to be a large hurdle that marketers are going to have to overcome before mobile messaging will be widespread. That said, mobile advertising does have inherent targeting capabilities that can be far superior to other advertising media. Marketers need to be proactive and prove to users that the messages are pertinent and serve a purpose.

Unsubscribing procedures: It is extremely important for marketers to earn a consumer’s trust and provide a clearly defined approach around distribution and unsubscribing procedures. As we have seen with other new marketing platforms, users do not take kindly to being automatically enrolled to receive advertisements especially when there is no easy way to opt out. With the inherent privacy issues with mobile marketing, it will be even more important for advertisers to give users a straightforward process to unsubscribe.

Conclusion

Mobile marketing is still in its infancy, and marketers should not expect this new platform to change their business dramatically or anytime soon. This is, however, a viable advertising opportunity that has the potential to connect advertisers with a valuable consumer segment and give them the ability to serve users advertisements innovatively and directly.

As we all wait for mobile messaging to actually take off, advertisers should start preparing for the impending mobile mayhem. Once the technology and reporting has been worked out and marketers are armed with their ads, it is going to be a mad dash for users’ mobile inboxes. By building a database in the meantime, advertisers can earn a competitive edge over the rest of the field and get the kinks worked out before the medium is adopted by the mainstream.

Getting Set for the iPhone App Store

July 2, 2008

Business Week

Hundreds of developers are ready to introduce new software to sell through Apple’s new iTunes section


// <![CDATA[
if (!window.BW_adsys) {
document.write(‘<scr’ + ‘ipt src=”http://www.businessweek.com/common_scripts/BW_adsys.js&#8221; language=”JavaScript” type=”text/javascript”><\/scr’ + ‘ipt>’);
}
// ]]>

// <![CDATA[
if (!window.BW_sitezone) {
BW_sitezone = ‘general/general’;
}
if (window.BW_adsys) {
document.write(BW_adsys(‘middle1’, ‘/common_adcode/mjx/2007/bw_general_Middle1.htm’));
}
// ]]>
Click here to find out more! <a href=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/jump/mgh.bw.general/general;page=t0;t0=middle1;sz=120×40;ord=1234567890&#8243; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://ad.doubleclick.net/ad/mgh.bw.general/general;page=t0;t0=middle1;sz=120×40;ord=1234567890&#8243; alt=”” border=”0″ /></a>

Programmers at Iconfactory spent 1,000 hours creating Twitterific, an application that’s ready to let iPhone owners view and post updates on Twitter’s popular social network. Another software firm named 360mind has already built some 20 applications for the iPhone. In fact, hundreds of developers are set to stock the virtual aisles of the Apple’s new App Store.

Too bad the store hasn’t opened yet.

Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs is expected to disclose more details about the store, a new section of iTunes geared toward software for the iPhone and iPod Touch, on June 9 when he takes the stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. But anxious third-party developers will likely need to wait another few weeks to start selling their wares. “There’s a gold rush mentality at the moment,” says Nick Dalton, CEO of 360mind in Evergreen, Colo. Software firms “want to put a lot of things into the App Store and see what happens.”

The hope, naturally, is that the App Store will absorb vast pent-up demand among iPhone lovers for new capabilities ranging from productivity tools and video games to specialized applications like Lingolook, which offers travelers helpful phrases in Japanese, Chinese, and French. Users will be able to download iTunes applications to an iPhone or iPod wirelessly using Wi-Fi or through a computer. Goldman Sachs (GS) analyst David Bailey expects iPhone and iPod users to download 20 million applications from the App Store by the end of this year, about 110 million more in 2009, and 210 million in 2010. Broken down, that means the average iPhone user will download five applications in 2009.

Click and Buy

With their credit- and debit-card information already stored to their iTunes accounts, iPhone users will likely be able to browse and buy applications with one click. “It’s going to encourage impulsive buying,” says Dalton. More accurately, perhaps, the store will encourage impulsive downloading, as most applications offered there will likely be free, but display revenue-producing ads. “I think the vast majority of applications will be ad-subsidized,” says Matt Murphy, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which recently established a $100 million “iFund” to finance development of new iPhone and iPod applications and gear. That’s the way to go “if you want to monetize on the mass market,” he says.

Raising advertisers’ hopes is that the new iPhone, expected to be unveiled on June 9, may enable applications to take advantage of the built-in GPS receiver, which can pick up satellite signals from the Global Positioning System to determine the device’s location. Knowing an iPhone user’s coordinates could be a boon for new capabilities and related advertising. That’s exactly what Pelago, one of the firms funded by Kleiner, is counting on with its first application, named Whrrl. Whrrl is designed to tracks bars, restaurants, and other places recommended by friends or the wider Whrrl community. And as you search these suggestions for a local sushi joint, it may beam you a coupon for one.

Josh Koppel, who runs New York-based ScrollMotion, says he’s seen so much interest in ad-supported iPhone applications that he’s brought on extra developers via Elance, an online hiring marketplace. ScrollMotion has already built three iPhone applications for the media conglomerate Tribune, and has 25 more iPhone projects for other clients in the works.

“We’ll be building out [iPhone] applications for the next two years,” he says. One free, ad-supported application for Tribune that’s expected to be available when the App Store launches keeps track of an iPhone owner’s commute, estimates the travel time, and suggests alternative routes.

Not Asking to Share in Revenue

One factor working in the iPhone developer community’s favor is that Apple so far hasn’t asked to share in the potential ad revenue. And for applications sold by subscription or with a one-time download fee, developers will keep 70% of the money, more than they usually get when wireless service providers feature their applications on other cell phones.

Based on Bailey’s estimates, download fees alone will line developers’ pockets with nearly $34 million this year and $280 million in 2009. That’s impressive growth compared with other segments of the mobile application market. For example, U.S. sales of personal productivity applications such as health-monitoring tools, currency converters, and to-do lists are expected to increase just 19% this year, to $285 million, according to consultancy IDC.

Since Apple will be taking a smaller cut than distributors of applications for other mobile devices, many App Store downloads may be priced cheaper than comparable versions for rival platforms. Lingolook’s iPhone application, for instance, will likely retail for $4.99, vs. $5.95 for the BlackBerry and $7.95 for the Windows Mobile versions. Yet rival mobile applications retailers don’t see the App Store as a big competitive threat. “The issue we’ve had is building awareness to the end customer that you can use your phone to do all these things,” says Bill Stone, CEO of Handango, a leading online vendor of mobile applications.

Applications Will Drive iPhone Sales

The likely publicity surrounding the App Store launch could solve that problem. And with Apple’s penchant for simplicity, rivals may feel competitive pressure to make it easier for users to find their applications. Already, Microsoft (MSFT) plans to improve a site where owners of Windows Mobile smartphones can download a few dozen free ringtones and games. In the future, the site may direct users to Handango and other retailers, where they can find 18,000 applications now available for Windows Mobile devices. “We have no plans for our own stores,” says Scott Rockfeld, group product manager for Microsoft’s mobile communications business. “But you’ll see us raising awareness on where you can get [applications].”

And what’s in it for Apple? In addition to its share of the revenue from software sales, Apple may benefit from rising iPhone and iPod sales if the new applications make those devices more appealing. “The whole BlackBerry market is based on an application called e-mail,” says Ray Lane, a managing partner at Kleiner. “There’ll be certain applications that will be popular enough to drive phone sales.”

Mobile Ads: 16-35s Say OK If Service Free Or Discounted

July 2, 2008

MediaPost Publication

by Wayne Friedman, Tuesday, Jun 3, 2008 8:00 AM ET cell phoneCash-strapped young mobile phone users don’t mind ad-supported content–but there is a price tag. They want it for free–or nearly free.

A study by the U.K.-based Mobixell Networks, an mobile advertising network, says 35% of 16- to-35-year-olds would use more ad-funded multimedia messaging services (MMS) if those services were offered for free or at a discount. Twenty-nine percent also say they would use more video services if offered for free or at a discount.

Mobixell Networks notes that the 18-35 demographic group currently consumes 56% of mobile media content. That group makes up 29% of TV viewers.

The company says many advertisers intend to increase mobile spending in the next year. According to a report from Jupiter Research, 58% of European advertisers plan to use MMS images as a part of their marketing plans; 56% will use in-stream video ads, and 50% have plans for MMS video campaigns.

Mobixell also reports that all age groups for mobile-phone users had positive reactions in using ad-sponsored content in video services. The study surveyed 832 mobile phone users.

Mobile Social Networking Gains Momentum

May 31, 2008

Marketing VOX

A growing number of global mobile phone users are accessing social networks over the mobile internet, according to research from Nielsen Mobilevia MarketingCharts.

In the US, over 4 million do so each month, Nielsen said. That’s 1.6 percent of all US mobile subscribers.

The UK leads Europe with 812,000 – or 1.7 percent of UK mobile subscribers – who visited social networking websites on their mobile phones per month in the first quarter of 2008.

That 1.7 percent reach was twice as much as other major European markets’:

nielsen-mobile-social-networking-us-europe.jpg

Other findings issued by Nielsen:

  • In the US, MySpace.com, the leading social networking site among PC users, is also the most popular mobile internet social networking site. The site logged 2.8 million unique mobile users in December 2007.
  • Also in December, Facebook, which has the second-largest audience among social networking sites, had 1.8 million unique mobile users.
  • In contrast, Facebook led mobile social networking sites in the UK with 557,000 unique mobile users per month in 1Q08, while MySpace followed with 211,000 unique mobile users.
  • While Facebook and MySpace.com were also among the top social networking sites in other European countries during the first quarter of 2008, MSN’s Windows Live Spaces led in Italy (154,000 unique mobile users per month) and France (106,000), and ranked second in Germany (45,000).

“Social networking is already a global phenomenon, and going mobile is the next big thing,” said Jeff Herrmann, vice-president of Mobile Media at Nielsen Mobile. “In the UK and the US especially, we already see millions of users of MySpace.com, Facebook and other social networks interacting with their virtual spaces while they’re on the go.”

“Consumer demand for mobile social networking may be a significant driver of mobile service pricing models, as evidenced by Vodafone UK’s recent move to offer unlimited internet access as a standard feature of its new monthly mobile price plans,” he added.