Friday, August 3, 2007

Google working on own-brand handset to grab share of $11bn mobile adverts

Google is angling for a huge slice of the potential $11 billion (£5.4 billion) mobile advertising market with the launch of a “Google phone” especially tailored to its services.

The internet search giant is understood to be developing a handset that is customised to showcase its products, such as its search engine, e-mail and Google Maps.

The GPhone, about which the Californian group has already held talks with mobile operators, including Spain’s Telefónica, is aimed at helping it to secure a chunk of the rapidly growing mobile advertising market. It hopes to replicate its runaway success with internet advertising by acting as “broker” for mobile advertisements.

The failure of 3G services on mobile phones and a lack of “web friendly” handsets has held back the market for mobile advertising.

However, with phones becoming ever more sophisticated and mobile network speeds faster – more than 20 per cent of UK mobile subscribers are expected to have access to the mobile internet at broadband speeds by the end of this year – mobile is now seen as the next battleground for advertisers.

Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, the marketing group, recently highlighted the growing importance of mobile. Figures compiled by WPP suggested that mobile phones will account for a 5 per cent share of all advertising spending in Britain by 2010. Research by Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts that the market for advertising on mobile phones is set to be worth more than $11.3 billion annually in 2011.

A Google-branded phone could go head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone, which is set to be launched in the UK before Christmas.

Mobile is deemed so valuable in part because of the targeting that the devices allow. Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, said recently that mobile phone ads are “twice as profitable or more than nonmobile phone ads because they are more personal”.

Google has already brokered deals with mobile phone companies, including Vodafone, the British operator.

Google’s search engine also comes preloaded on handsets made by companies including Samsung and LG.

However, some mobile companies are thought to have been reluctant to hand over too big a share of their revenues to Google.

This year some operators, including France Télécom, which owns Orange, held talks about creating a search engine to challenge the likes of Google and Yahoo!. Google is now hoping to create its own branded and designed handset and to develop more advanced services for phones.

Sources familar with Google said that any notion of a Google phone was “speculative”. A spokesman for Google in the UK said: “We are partnering with almost all the carriers and manufacturers to get Google search and other Google applications on to their devices and networks.”

Source: Times Online

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

CBS Plans to Sell Ads on Mobile Devices

CBS Corp. plans to announce today a partnership with four mobile-advertising companies to sell ads on mobile devices for its entertainment, news and sports programming. Marketers will be able to buy text and banner ads for mobile Web sites as well as video commercials for mobile devices as part of CBS Mobile's partnership with AdMob, Millennial Media, Rhythm NewMedia and Third Screen Media. The deal is an effort by CBS to find new ad-revenue streams. The pact comes as media companies are offering more programming -- from weather and sports to news and prime-time shows -- through mobile devices. General Electric Co.'s NBC announced yesterday a deal with Verizon Wireless that makes short videos from nine channels available to subscribers of its V Cast service.

Source: WSJ

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Cellphone penetration positions it for marketing success

Cellphone penetration into the South African market and the advancement of mobile marketing means the cellphone will soon compete with traditional media head-on. The days of colourless cellphones screens with no graphics and tiny squeaky speakers are but a distant memory to most of us. We now carry devices with full multimedia functionality, stereo sound and high-speed connectivity to the Internet.

Furthermore, these devices have penetrated the market more effectively than any other medium. It's hard to say how many South African's carry a cellphone, but the three cellphone networks together total a combined base of over 36 million active SIM cards in 2007.

Comparing that to radio, TV and Internet stats, cellphones are now the dominant communications device in the market. The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) says in its AMPS (All Media and Products Survey) 2006 survey that there are around 28.5 million radio listeners and around 24.5 million TV adult viewers*. In addition, the ratio of cellphone users compared to Internet users and landlines is around 5:1.

Similar global trend

The trend globally is similar. Cellphones are in the majority with 2.5 billion active cellphones, compared to an estimated 900 million Internet users and a billion television sets.

And to add even more weight to these figures, most people's cellphones remain within two metres of them for the majority of the day, while TVs, radios and even the Internet are sampled sporadically.

Within this context, add the fact that we live instant lives. When I want to know something, I want to know it now. Not in five minutes time, now when I get to the office. Now.

Let's take a scenario or two: Bob is at his daughter's birthday party and there is no TV in sight, no radio to listen to and he certainly wasn't allowed to bring his laptop along. But the Springboks are playing their opening game against Samoa in the World Cup and he wants to know the score. If he could get the score off a .mobi site throughout the game, that would be great. Better yet, he'd like updates sent to him as the game progressed.

Jenny's sitting at a coffee shop with a friend, Liz, chatting about how she's going to surprise her husband for her anniversary. Liz remembers a great restaurant but can't remember where it is exactly or what the telephone number is. TV or radio won't help; neither will the newspaper at the front of the coffee shop. A cellphone will, particularly since this new restaurant has its own .mobi site with menu and contact details.

Harnessing the power of mobile

As a consumer you're already nervous when hearing words like “harnessing”. What am I going to get next on my phone? Searching for information like Bob or Jenny is one thing, having it sent to you is quite another.

At the same time, the cellphone has the power to deliver really worthwhile information to you, the consumer. For example, a retail store sends you a MMS with its latest specials and an extra 15% off your total bill if you present the MMS at the cashier.

Now who's going to complain about that? Or you're about to be eligible to upgrade your cellphone contract and your service provider sends you an MMS with a barcode saying if you take it in and upgrade your contract, you'll get a free Bluetooth headset.

Therefore communicating to consumers via their cellphones in a way that benefits them not only builds trust between consumers and companies but provides a mutually beneficial interaction.

Put together in days

And while the process of building a campaign to communicate with customers via the TV, radio or Internet can take weeks to months, a well-though- out mobile campaign can be put together in days.

But it's about being creative and capturing the consumers' attention and most importantly adding value.

*Importantly, these figures represent people who watched TV or listened to the radio once in the space of a week

Source: BizCommunity

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mobile Advertising: Easier Than You've Heard

AS GOOGLE HAS SO SUCCESSFULLY shown, if you make media buying intuitive and easy, the advertisers will come. And not just the mom and pop retailers, but nearly every major marketer is now involved in some form of search marketing, if only to protect its own flanks from aggressive competitors. So, how does this translate to mobile advertising? There is still a nagging feeling out there that mobile advertising is hard to do. That it will require yet another agency specialist like search does or a fully mature mobile site, but it doesn't.

Let's start with a few facts and figures: there are three times more mobile handsets in the U.S. than PCs. In fact, 76% of U.S. households own at least one mobile phone. There are twice as many more mobile subscribers than there are Internet users. Data usage is doubling every year.

Simply put, the mobile phone has become an indispensable device giving marketers access to target audiences 24x7. It doesn't take an economist to project that marketers cannot afford to ignore this channel for long.

Mobile advertising campaigns have gone far beyond the voting campaigns we're all familiar with from American Idol. Ads delivered to mobile devices can have direct response mechanisms such as calling a 1-800 number or entering a telephone number or email to receive more information, or drive traffic to an existing mobile site.

Targeting can be set by language, country, category or by search behavior (and in some cases, combinations of various targeting parameters.) And, contrary to popular belief, a mobile site is not necessary to run a campaign. Running a campaign is exceedingly easy. With online self-service features, it takes only three online steps: entering or uploading ad creative, setting a maximum cost per click and determining the call to action required of users.

Rather than thinking of mobile as a "new, unapproachable" channel, think of ways to tie it in to your current online or search campaigns. Most companies whether brand or direct response have found ways to intelligently and easily incorporate the mobile channel into their marketing mix. Some use it as a call to action on TV, print or online to drive mobile brand interactivity while others are simply driving interested audiences who happen to be on their mobile phone to a core sales-driven action such as calling a 1-800 number, driving subscription to an online newsletter, or to a mobile alert.

While seemingly in a nascent stage, the fact is mobile advertising is projected to grow from $1.5 billion in 2006 to $13.9 billion by 2011 (eMarketer, January, 2007). The reasons are simple: mobile advertising that delivers relevant and useful ads gives users immediate answers that are regarded as valuable content; advertisers can influence their audience during the "last mile" at the moment just before a purchase in the real world. The level of targetability and reach that mobile advertising can provide will become points of success for marketers and we're well beyond the early adoption stage.

Don't be the advertiser left behind.

Source: MediaPost