The networks are getting faster, the screens are getting bigger and the popularity of the device is going through the roof. So then, why wouldn’t everyone be predicting that mobile phone advertising will begin to take off as we move into 2007? Apparently, those in the know are saying that mobile phone advertising is poised for take off as early returns indicate the cell phone wielding public is ready for it…even asking for it.
Driving the demand is a recent sharp increase in text messaging, as users appear to be getting more and more comfortable with this method of communication. Estimates are that 30 percent of the 217 million registered mobile phone users send SMS messages, according to recently released information by the Yankee Group, who monitor such activity. The wireless Web (About 10% of cell phone users regularly browse the wireless Web according to Mmetrics) and video are also major factors in the growth of the mobile ad market. For advertisers, reaching the coveted 18-34 year old demographic remains the key selling point. TV shows are continually prodding younger viewers to send text messages to vote on a variety of topics relevant to the show with advertisers sponsoring these activities. Many are also buying banner ads alongside sports scores and video ads before news clips. Yet another appealing aspect to this market is the fact that mobile phones are always-on so targeted individuals can respond instantly to time-sensitive offers.
Detractors have been claiming that the personal nature of the cell phone creates the potential for the intended audience to “turn-off” when the ad invasion begins, but savvy marketers feel cell carriers are warming up to the idea that consumers will welcome useful ads, like coupons for local retailers and/or restaurants offering timely specials. The Yankee Group recently revealed that about 42 percent of mobile subscribers are open to mobile advertising if it’s relevant. Statistics like that are revving marketing engines all over the country.
While the mobile marketing industry is still in its infancy, small screen advertising has increased sharply this year after several years of spotty efforts, and insiders are claiming they will take off in 2007. U.S. mobile advertising revenue is projected to jump to $150 million this year from $45 million in 2005, The Yankee Group claims. The group adds that mobile ad sales could total $2 billion, or nearly 1%, of U.S. ad sales by 2010 and up to 5% by 2015. Numbers that certainly say it may soon be time to consider how to handle this new marketing kid on the block.