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At Their Fingertips: Putting Your Ads in Their Hands

15 Jan, 2010 By: Pat Cauley Response


Consequently, Hawthorne suggests marketers should create a mobile version of their Web sites so they are easily viewed, searched and actionable. “Marketing opportunities on smartphones primarily involve the old media model of ‘content sponsorship,’ ad placements as links and display ads in and around mobile Web sites and applications. Apps bring mobile digital activity to the forefront in concentrated, bite size pieces. Even now, Target is the 17th most popular free app and Wal-Mart is 67th,” he adds.

Using GPS, Target’s app can locate the user’s nearest retail location and show them product images, review availability and even pinpoint aisle location. And smartphone users aren’t just using their phones for research. On Black Friday, PayPal recorded a 140-percent spike in the volume of payments made by mobile phones. Purchasing products via smartphones continues to evolve with developments like Amazon’s new Mobile Payments Service. Nokia too is getting into the electronic currency, hoping to replace cash, checks and credit cards with their mobile handsets.

However, the Target and Amazon apps aren’t available to everyone and therefore may not be your best option. “Mobile apps are a very popular form of mobile marketing used in customer engagement, usage and loyalty,” King says. “Mobile apps themselves though might not be as good for actual marketing — for example new product launches. Coupons, text messages or even more traditional forms of marketing might be better depending on the audience.”

The reality is that not all consumers are using smartphones. “Right now according to industry statistics, whether is Nielsen or comScore, smartphones account for about 13 percent of the overall market base in the U.S.,” says Becker.

There’s an App for That?
With the ongoing media buzz around the iPhones and its apps, sometimes marketers and consumers wrongfully place too much emphasis on this segment of mobile. “There are more than 100,000 iPhone applications, and they’ve had more than 2 billion downloads in the 24 months since the iPhone was released. But within that 100,000 applications in the iPhone store, it’s very difficult to actually get your application on the top of the list and get exposure,” says Becker.

In fact, in the overall phone market, iPhones only account for about 2-3 percent of all phones. “So it’s really important for marketers to understand that when they think about mobile as a channel, and especially direct response in enablement and engagement with one’s audience, there are many channels of mobile interaction with unique capabilities. Every one of these individual channels is their own media path in their own right,” Becker adds.

Hawthorne details that even when an app gets downloaded by thousands, making it “sticky” remains a challenge, as only 5 percent of iPhone users are still using an app 30 days after download and only 1 percent after three months. Harber concurs. “It’s easy to jump to the iPhone application as being the hot and sexy item for mobile this year,” he says. “Although we provide those services, it wouldn’t be the place I’d encourage someone to start necessarily. There are a lot of complexities to it, and you only reach a fraction of the audience with that particular application. Doing something like that in tandem with something that gives you a broader reach is a great idea. If you’re going to put all your marbles in one spot for mobile in 2010, I wouldn’t throw them all in the iPhone bucket.”

Initiating Contact
Mobile obviously can be an advantageous and often lucrative way to connect with consumers. But regardless of which mobile option marketers decide to pursue, it’s imperative that they understand the rules of engagement.

“Customers need to opt-in to mobile campaigns. And this is not a matter of opinion, but by law, mobile marketing must be permission-based,” says Todes. “The MMA provides a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that mobile marketers know how to stay on the right side of the law. Marketers looking to step into the mobile space must familiarize themselves with MMA guidelines or make sure their mobile vendor is knowledgeable about and compliant with these guidelines.”

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