Interactive promotion report: mobile phone marketing

[Tags: , , , ]. Marc Taylor looks at:

Mobile phone marketing

*Mobile phone marketing*Virals


Mobile Phone advertising has taken the Advertising industry by storm. It is estimated in according to the Shosteck group, ‘the value of the global mobile advertising market could reach $10 billion by 2010Nigel Hollis 2006?

As Mobile technologies advance, the consumer experience has changed dramatically. As technologies converge, the mobile phone now offers consumers the ability to watch Television, listen to MP3’s and Radio and use the Internet (WAP) turning the phone into a mobile media center. But its not just mobile phones that can be interpreted as Mobile marketing. Nigel Hollis, Author of Mobile Marketing: Making a good connection says ‘Mobile marketing, interpreted most broadly could describe any approach to communicating with consumers while they’re on the move: all manner of electronic devices (MP3 players, PDAs, etc.), as well as more traditional media such as outdoor advertising.’ However I’m going to primarily look at Mobile Phone Advertising.

There are already companies like SMSconnect [] that specialises in Advertising campaigns to mobile phones.
So why use mobile Advertising instead of traditional means?

>>Benefits Of Using Mobile Advertising.

“ For marketers, mobile marketing and advertising has great promise – it combines the wide reach of television with the precision of direct marketing and the tracking potential of the Internet.” [ 29th June 2006.]

>>The biggest factor about using Mobile Advertising is that it has a one to one marketing ability, (like direct advertising.) Mobile Phones, PDAs are very personal and are generally kept very close to the individual. This gives companies the ability to contact individuals wherever and whenever- which is an additional benefit over using Internet, television, radio or other means of Advertising, where people spend set periods of time on the computer, TV, Radio etc.

>>75% of the UK population carry mobile phones on them and so has a very high targeting possibility.

>>There are huge databases of mobile telephone numbers offering Senders the ability to trace, which they sent advertisements too, when they sent them and if they have had Interest/ a reply from the Consumer. (Like Internet advertising)

>>You can control and choose the name of the sender; making it very easy to change the company’s identity.

>> It is very cost efficient compared to print based, Television and Radio advertising

Here are the different forms of Mobile Advertising: –


SMS messaging has already got the reputation as being “the cheapest and most widely-used mobile technology”

SMS connect [] is a company that specialises in Advertising campaigns to mobile phones; Offering games, Prize competitions, trivia and quizzes. Also offers txt alerts for gossip, news, product updates, receiving the contents of your websites and membership information.

At this current moment in time SMS messaging is “the only way 80% of adults in the UK can be contacted through their mobile phone. Volumes are still growing, and it’s short, concise, convenient and relatively cheap.” Dredge, Stuart 12.10.2006 Pp25?

–Major Downsides to SMS advertising

>>The main problem of SMS advertising is that if you don’t target your audience specifically the SMS messages can irritate users much like Email Spam.

“Some people did abuse the rights they has when the acquired lists of mobile numbers…A lot of these campaigns have been a complete non-success…Most have been completely unfocused. It’s about pushing messages to an unknown audience, which created a lot of noise, and a lot of irritated customers.” Dredge, Stuart 12.10.2006 Pp25?

>>Another downside to SMS messaging is that there is a limited use for it. With Text-to-win and similar efforts using SMS as a feedback channel, it is a trickier proposition for ad-funded entertainment mainly due to the character limitation of the technology.” [ 2006. ] After you can send information (text) where else is there next to go? MMS advertising is the obvious next step forward offering the ability to send larger files sizes/ more information to users, through a variety of different mediums (video, Music, Images.) However MMS costs a lot more than SMS.

–Plus Side to SMS advertising

>However if SMS messages are targeted correctly the response rate is one of the highest of all advertising mediums. “Targeting is the Key. SMS is a Medium that generates anywhere between 3% and 8% response depending on how it’s used” Dredge, Stuart 12.10.2006 Pp25? and has even been as high as 29.1% response rate.

>After you have conducted your Advertising campaign you can get comprehensive reports telling you how well the campaign is, how many responses/replies you have had since the start

>Example of SMS Advertising

SMS advertising has taken the Nightclub industry by storm. “ Text Marketer’s nightclub clients are reporting huge increased attendance using SMS marketing.” With as many as “90% of clubbers” carrying mobile phones Companies have been set up (like PJB [ ) that specialise in SMS Advertising for Gigs and Nightclubs.
Currently the three most popular digital accessories are Ringtones, Wallpapers and Games. All of these can be customised with corporate logos and be distributed to its audience using various different mediums (Bluetooth, SMS messages, Infra red and emails.) However the most common way of obtaining Ringtones, wallpapers and Games are through SMS subscription.

>>SMS Subscription: Jamster
A company that has massively benefited from Mobile Phone advertising is ‘Jamster’ (Who were recently bought by VeriSign?.)

The Distributors of the World Famous Crazy Frog Ringtone offers Customers the ability to buy Animated Screensavers, Ringtones, Wallpapers, Mobile Phone themes and Mobile Phone Games through a weekly subscription service.

A recent report by the times looks at how Mobile Text Subscription Company Jamster spent over £45 million over the past year “The group spent only £39,591 on Internet advertising, more than £28 million on its television campaign and more than £16 million on press adverts.” [,,9071-1969273,00.html 2006] The ASA ( Advertising Standards Authority) even banned the television advert from being shown before 9pm within the UK, because of fear that children were being sucked into the text subscription. The 40,000 TV broadcasts in a one-month period made it most unlikely that a child would not have been aware of the characters.” [ ]

>>SMS Subscription Audiences/ Exploitation

SMS subscription plans are normally aimed at a younger market, with funky modern ringtones, wallpapers and games trying to entice them to subscribe. But there has been many reports looking at how SMS subscription can be very exploitative . Often people are tricked into handing over money weekly or monthly. However there is a new law that has just been introduced to stop this. “In January the UK’s mobile phone industry and its trade association, the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), introduced new safeguards to protect mobile phone users… The new rules ensure that punters are clearly informed by text message about what they have subscribed to, with whom, and how much it will cost.” [ ]

For example of exploitation : Telecom was fined £5,000 following 31 complaints to the premium rate watchdog ICSTIS. The complaints centred on a web site which promised a free ringtone in return for people submitting their mobile phone number…Punters then received a text message asking them to choose one of three ringtones. However, the text failed to advise them that, as a result of requesting and receiving the free ringtone, they would also be signing up to receive three ringtones a week costing £1.50 each. .” [ ]


WAP will eventually become like the World Wide Web; Website banners can already be used, but because WAP subscribers pay per minute of data usage, customers feel cheated having to pay extra for the download of them. This is a huge issue with WAP. If it wants to become anything like the World Wide Web, there needs to be a new payment method or else people will get very annoyed at the lengthy downloads (and cost) that potential pop ups, Java games and videos etc. propose.

“There has been a massive increase in WAP-enabled handsets…. the trend in WAP usage is less encouraging. Over the last two years previous growth has stuttered, showing no real increase…the only factor to have changed markedly in that period is cost. Two years ago some operators weren’t charging their customers for general browsing and downloading, but they do now” Craig Barrack Pp30?

‘The year began well for WAP with 1.42 billion page impressions viewed during January 2005. The new total has delivered an 18% increase on the same period in 2004, and an average daily total of 46 million’ (

These two quotes proves that there has been a substantial increase in WAP enabled phones over the past 2 years, however there hasn’t been an increase in people going onto WAP. This could be a huge problem for advertisers as only a limited amount of people can be reached, and until the numbers grow it may mean that the Medium will be under estimated/ used.

“Things are set to change as Internet style advertising, in the shape of display advertising (banner ads) and search, and even TV-style advertising, come to mobile.” [ 29th June 2006)

>WAP advertising example – Football365

The website offers football news and information from its World Wide Web Internet site, which has been recreated for WAP devices. Within the website is an Ad-Link that redirects users to 24/7 Media’s WAP ad server where there are able to access a selection of content including football scores and club news.

The campaign, which is aimed at football fans of UK club football, runs in three countries on WAP services Sunpoint ( ) in Finland, Krak ( ) in Denmark and Fonedata ( ) in the UK, until 2nd April. It features a served WAP text link which enables users to cross networks and seamlessly access one of the UK’s first WAP content sites – Football365 ( ).” [ ]

Although the advertisement was to a very limited market, and is the First UK WAP Advertising campaign, it shows what is to come.


Companies like Toroblue [ ] offers participating businesses the ability to send out electronic business cards to mobile phones within a range of 40 meter. However the targeting is (like SMS messaging) totally unfocused, and so the messages could act like Spam.

However spamming isn’t the main issue with Bluetooth Advertising; it has a very limited range span (using unlicensed shirt-ranged radio frequency) and so the consumer needs to be near or around a participating shop/ sender for advertisements to be received.

In order for a Bluetooth device to connect to a receiver it needs to be discovered. “This process is called an Inquiry. However to discover all discoverable devices in an error-free environment, the device must spend at least 10.24 seconds in the inquiry mode” Aalto, Gothlin, Korhonen, Ojala 2006 Pp 51? however tests on certain phones has brought about serious problems. “When tested on a Nokia 3650 device the inquiry state is terminated after about five seconds…Because of this timeout, there is only a 50% chance for a device to be discovered during an inquiry period.” Pp51? Not all phones are able to pick up this Bluetooth signal, and not all phones have the Bluetooth technology.

>>Bad Example of Bluetooth messaging

In the Netherlands Asian food brand “Go-Tan” are using Bluetooth to inform customers of the discounted “Go-Tan” items within store. Anyone within the store or 100 meters outside with an open Bluetooth receiver can pick this message up. [] However is this really ethical? Does everyone around and in the store really want to have Spam messages telling them about ‘buy one get one free’ deals?

>> Good Bluetooth advertising example (BLUECASTING)

With the examples below, the user knows what they are getting because it’s advertised to them through the billboards. However The Go-Tan Bluetooth advertising was just targeting everyone that went to the supermarket.

A good example of this happened i n Brussels on 12th September 2006. The major mobile operator mobster (orange group) launched a Bluetooth advertising campaign in which a ringtone of the latest hit from Christina Aguilera was offered free for download within a range of 30 meters from a billboard. The Promotion ran for 6 days across 8 major Belgium cities. This campaign worked really well however only a limited amount of people could receive the free ringtone due to the limited 30 meters Bluetooth radius. This advertising technique is called “Bluecasting”
[To read more about this check out]

>Bluecasting Advertising in London
The Maiden Group who have handled billboard advertising in the United Kingdom for 80years, and Filter UK, who specializes in transmitter technology, are installing bilboards in Heathrow airport that “beam out text messages to the phones of people walking by to ask them if they would like to watch a video-clip ad on their phone’s screen. The commercial, aimed at passengers in Virgin’s first-class lounge, touts a new SUV, the Range Rover Sport. [ ]

>EMI Bluecasting campaign

EMI on the release of Coldplays X and Y album set up 6 screens dotted around London offering consumers the ability to download sound excerpts, video clips and never-seen before video interviews to their mobile phones and laptops. This campaign was very successful communicating to their target audiences, starting exchanging of clips/music and viral discussions about the release of the album but also promoting interaction and music sampling. “EMI’s Bluecasting campaign for Coldplay using Transvision screens achieved a 15% response rate; highlighting the formidable potential of these screens for consumer interaction and response generation” This has become the worlds largest known Bluecast campaign [ ]

This is the best example of mobile advertising I have currently found. It had a very high response rate, caused a lot of viral discussions and appealed to the right target audience. These examples show that the audiences to Bluetooth are varied, however all of them need to have some technological knowledge in order to receive the adverts.

Infrared Advertising has somewhat died out due to the introduction of Bluetooth. The problem with infrared is that it has a very limited span in which data can be transferred (much less then Bluetooth.) Bluetooth does exactly the same job as Infrared however is much more effective due to its larger range span, and more mobile are built with Bluetooth technology.


“While you’d pay small fortunes to get a fixed number of showing on telly, virals will stay on the net for a long time or, if you’re lucky, forever… people will just pass a good ad on to their friends if they like it.” Lindberg Pp38?

Mobile Phone advertising also uses a lot of viral marketing. When people get a new ringtone, video clip, Picture etc. the first question that is always asked is “Where did you get that?”

Viral marketing is mainly aimed at a younger teenage audience, in which video clips, songs, backgrounds are exchanged in a schoolyard type environment. A very good example of this is the Crazy Frog Phenomenal. This viral marketing caused the crazy frog to beat Coldplay and become number 1 in the UK charts. The fact that they had “ 40,000 TV broadcasts in a one-month period,” [ ] and the catchy/ annoying sound the frog made caused everyone to talk about and send each other the ringtones.


Television and Video on the mobile phone is still a relatively new technology that needs to advance greatly in order for it to be used properly commercially. “In an ideal world, everyone wants to have video and audio and full-length multimedia capabilities in their ad campaigns on any platform. But the mobile market is not ready for it yet, in terms of penetration.” Dredge, Stuart 12.10.2006?

GraphIn a recent survey looking at TV and Video use on the mobile phone, it was found that “j ust 1% to 2% of mobile phone users” we watching television or Video clips on their mobile.” (
However there are companies that advertise their television shows on mobile phones. The Soap Hollyoaks and football program Match of the day offers their audiences the ability to download the recent show or episodes by texting a number. A report by the BBC looks into how Television on your mobile has been released in Japan, and that 90 million users already are able to receive this. However Finding new phones in Japanese shops has proved difficult as only limited quantities have been produced so far. [“ ]

>problems with Mobile Video Advertising

>Battery life is very limited
>lack of phones that can receive television and video clips
>Do you need a television licence within the UK to watch television?

>>Cons Of Mobile Advertising

>>Do people really want their personal space invaded by unwanted messages? ‘Therefore, unsolicited and irrelevant advertising will be even less welcome than e-mail.’ Nigel Hollis?

>>However there are many Legal Considerations. The Data Protection Act needs to be considered as Information obtained (through data collection) can only be used for lawful purposes, and not be misused. ‘Most users did not mind being pushed information, as long as they really needed the information. Thus location itself is not enough to trigger pushed advertisement.” Aalto, Gothlin, Korhonen & Ojala 2006?
>>This brings ethical questions; because we can be reached at all times of the day through our mobile phones, should it be allowed that Advertisers can exploit this?

>> Although SMS, Bluetooth and Infrared Advertising cost very little, Games requires specialised skills and so can be expensive to create. Ringtones and wallpapers can be created with little cost using just a computer and the Internet.
>>Data Protection Act

Mobile Phones are very personal objects, and because they are on potential consumers all the time, advertising companies need to consider the Data Protection Rights. There are two main parts of the Act that jumped out at me when reading it.

“The data subject has given his consent to the processing…and…Individuals are entitled to prevent processing [ ]

In order to advertise to mobile phones the user needs to have given their consent. Not everyone is going to be happy or willing to give their number out so they can be advertised too. Secondarily those individuals are entitiled to prevent processing for direct marketing purposes or if it causes the consumer “unwarranted and substantial harm or distress” data protection act.? This distress could easily happen if advertisers are constantly bombard consumers with SMS messages or bluetoothing audiences. These two issues could cause a real problem for mobile advertising.


There has been various tests using different mediums of Mobile Marketing, with the most popular being SMS advertising. Every mobile has the ability to receive SMS messages, and using the table below it is obvious that Text messaging is the most common use of the mobile phone. A lot of the uses on the table refer to SMS messaging (subscription services offering Wallpapers, screensavers, ringtones, Mobile Games)
>>U.K. Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications


[ ]

WAP also has huge potential in the future, as a good number of subscribers Browse News and Information but also check their emails on their mobile devices. This number and percentage could be a lot larger if WAP was cheaper and a lot more user friendly to use. When WAP technologies advance and it starts to resemble the World Wide Web, (plus becomes a lot cheaper to use), there will be a huge interest in Email Advertising to mobile phones and using banner, Video and Java clips, search engine and pop up advertising within the WAP browser.

Watching video clips or television on your mobile isn’t even included on this recent table. Is it because it is a niche consumption market and so isn’t worth including on the list? Mobile video advertising has yet to take off properly due to the limitations on its technology; however it has a very promising future.

Depending on who your target audience are depends also on the choice of advertising technique. All audiences can receive and be able to understand SMS messages, however more advance techniques like Bluetooth, WAP and Video Advertising excludes those whose phones cannot receive these technologies, and those who may not understand how to receive or connect to WAP/ Bluetooth. (The younger; under 13’s and older generations 50+)

If you want to reach a large audience and also have the best return rate SMS advertising is your best bet. However Bluetooth is a good alternative being that it’s innovative and has the ability to offer Music and video clips instead of just text. Alternatively Video clips are a good form of advertising however they cost a lot more to produce and send and not everyone can receive them.


Barrack, Craig 12.10.2006.? The Growth of Mobile Internet is still being held back by Price. New Media Age. Pp30

Dredge, Stuart 12.10.2006? The Evolution of Text, New Media Age Pp25

Lindberg, Oliver September 2006? Viral Challenge. .Net Magazine Pp38-44

>Internet Sources

Aalto, L & Gothlin, N & Korhonen, J& Ojala, T 2004? Bluetooth and WAP push Based Location-Aware Mobile Advertising System Online? Available from [ ]
Hollis, Nigel 2006? Mobile marketing: Making a good Connection. Online? Available from [ ]

Minney, Jaimee Online? Measurement Firm Finds That 36.5 Million Mobile Subscribers Responded via SMS to an Ad. Available from
Verdoodt, Patti Online? Mobistar first to launch interactive communication via Bluetooth with JCDecaux Available from

Ad-Funded mobile entertainment- a ‘brandtastic’ opportunity? Online? Available from 2006? Author is unknown

Data Protection Act 1998 Online? 27.03.2000? Author unknown

Mobile Advertising Worth $10 Billion By 2010 Online? Available from 29.07.2006? Author is unknown

UK ‘S FIRST WAP ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN. Media 21, 365 Corporation and 24/7 Media Press release Online? Available from 23.03.06? Author unknown

SMS Text Message Marketing – Nightclubs, Clubs & Bars Online? Availiable from Author unknown

SMS text messaging for Marketing and Promotion Online? Author Unknown


4 Responses to “Interactive promotion report: mobile phone marketing”

  1. Text Message Blog Says:

    Great summary of the mobile marketing industry. The few advertisers in the USA who have used mobile marketing are experiencing great success with it. Let’s hope more catch on.

  2. Mobivity Says:

    Mobile Marketing will definitely take off in the US. We recently launched a new service that makes it affordable and simple for the every day business.

  3. ALEISH Says:

    Very informative blog!

    Mobile advertising will be the next big thing.

    Thanks for the information!

  4. Keyur Says:


    It was really an informative blog. You mentioned a quite good summary of mobile marketing.

    Free directory submission

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: