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Future of Advertising on Mobile Phones

written by: Karishma Sundaram•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 4/29/2010

Advertising on mobile phones is slowly becoming the best way to advertise. The target audience is much larger than with any other medium, and captive attention is higher. This article looks at mobile advertising, and what it has to offer in the near future.

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    The New Frontier

    Mobile Internet For any marketing campaign, the goal is always to reach as many people in a targeted demographic group as possible. By reaching as many target people, the marketing campaign increases the chances of converting a number of those reached into potential customers. For instance, a large billboard put up on a busy highway means that a significant number of people will see it.

    The draw is similar with mobile advertising. Mobile phones have slowly become an everyday item, having evolved a long way from when they could only be bought by those of significant means.

    Mobile phone users have become a valuable cachet for advertisers, and therefore no marketing plan is complete without an element of mobile advertising.

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    The Role of Mobile Internet

    To a large extent, the availability of mobile Internet has revved up the use of mobile advertising. As more social networking platforms and websites become mobile-friendly, the potential of displaying advertisements increases directly in proportion.

    For example, Facebook has long had ads alongside their pages on the normal site. However that model is not yet visible on the mobile site. As the site evolves, it will improve the use of mobile screen real estate to accommodate ads too. It is merely a matter of time, since the display of ads on Facebook is certainly a large part of their income model.

    The imminent advent of 4G will also increase mobile advertising potential, as increased speeds will draw in more people to use value-added services. Value-added services create a better user experience, and therefore the tendency to use the device will increase. As more time is spent on using the device, receiving advertisements via the medium will be considered less intrusive and a part of the entire experience.

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    Challenges facing Mobile advertising

    The primary challenge in advertising on mobile phones effectively is determining the target market. Demographics and usage pattern statistics would help greatly, however that information is usually kept confidential due to privacy reasons.

    Additionally, the mobile phone devices themselves vary greatly, depending on model and make. For example, a video advertisement optimized for one screen may look horribly wrong on another. Therefore creating an advertising plan keeping all these factors in mind becomes somewhat daunting.

    There was a push toward location-based advertising earlier, where advertisements were sent to mobile phone users within the radius of a cell phone tower. These ads were particularly relevant to the area, indicating sales around the corner, for example. This would go a long way towards targeting a specific audience; however it comes with its own pitfalls.

    Advertising on mobile phones has certainly not reached its full potential, as there are a number of creases that need ironing out first. However, the potential is definitely there.

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    Apple iAd

    Although the news was eclipsed greatly by the launch of the iPad, Apple has recently acquired the mobile advertising developer, Quattro. The intention is to launch a mobile advertising platform called iAd.

    The platform will offer a number of advertising models, whether cost-per-click, per-action or per-1000 viewers. The model is somewhat reminiscent of Google’s flexible Internet advertising one.

    iAd will be a boon for developers, as they can add and remove advertisements to their apps as they see fit. The ads will remain within the app itself, instead of moving to a different page altogether. Additionally, advertising agencies can develop apps to showcase their advertisements accordingly. Although at present the official word is that Apple will not interfere with the type of apps, considering their track record with the App Store, this remains to be seen.

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    Image credit: Mobile Phone by goomomyuko from stock.xchng