As the base of cell phone users continues to grow at an unprecedented rate (over 2.29 billion mobile users worldwide), a major mobile advertising market is beginning to develop. Estimated to hit the $1 billion mark by the end of the decade, many cell phone users will soon be getting hit with frequent mobile advertising on those devices.
Consumers remain largely unaware of this market but operators, media giants and other content and service providers are currently jockeying for who will get a piece of this lucrative mobile advertising business. Investors are also betting on this area, as they are beginning to heavily fund companies that are specializing in mobile advertising.
New players are emerging with media giants and software powerhouses like Microsoft and Google now encroaching on what used to be the operator’s turf by offering mobile services direct to consumers. And in a new approach to attract more consumers, multiple mobile content services, such as the MSNBC.com mobile news/video service, have recently been launched with a minimal (sometimes zero) cost along with mobile advertising (which is used to subsidize the service fee).
The evolution of this market continues as the first mobile advertisements included a spam style text message pushed out to cell phone that generally annoyed most consumers. Advertisements today can use all of the information (who the phone user is, their geographical location, user preferences) to provide relevant (‘context-aware’) advertisements that add value to the consumer experience. Stay tuned on what should be a hot market in the coming months.