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Mobile Web Advertising Revisited

  |  November 2, 2006   |  Comments

How do you buy mobile Web advertising?

Perhaps one of the most talked about initiatives in the mobile marketing space is mobile advertising. And though I recently wrote a column on the subject, given the excitement around it I think it's time for a brief update focused on the mobile Web.

In the U.S. market, advertising is roughly a $300 billion annual industry. There are over 200 million wireless subscribers in the U.S. with high penetration (over 70 percent) in most urban centers. The mobile device, always on, always available, presents a unique opportunity for marketers to engage and interact with consumers like never before. Given this channel's uniqueness and ability to create the long sought-after one-to-one dialogue with consumers, the expected reach and effect of mobile advertising is, and will continue to be, significant.

Although mobile advertising is being tested in all mobile media areas, including mobile Web, mobile video and TV, and mobile downloads and messaging, the most predominant form is currently mobile Web.

So let's talk about mobile Web and what that means. Mobile Web (or WAP) enables a subscriber to access the Internet through mobile-optimized sites from a mobile device. Mobile Web provides access to a variety of news, information, and entertainment sites, much like what subscribers find in the wired world. For publishers, the mobile Web environment provides an opportunity for brands to extend their reach to consumers through a highly targeted personal device.

How do you buy mobile Web advertising? It's similar to buying advertising on the Internet. Mobile Web banner impressions can be purchased by CPM (define) and can be bought either from publishers who maintain their own mobile Web sites or through a mobile ad network. And contrary to many published comments on mobile advertising, there's inventory available. What's unique about mobile advertising is that due to devices' varied sizes, mobile Web banners are optimized to fit the handset the ad is viewed on. Publishers often request multiple mobile Web banner sizes to ensure multiple devices can be supported.

Critical to the development of the mobile advertising industry are guidelines and best practices for the mobile Web advertising experience. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) launched the first mobile advertising guidelines in September 2005 and continues to update the guidelines in response to changing trends. What's helped ensure the success and adoption of these guidelines is the MMA Mobile Advertising Committee comprises leaders across the ecosystem: wireless carriers, publishers, technology vendors, handset manufacturers, and media companies.

Collaboration between key players has been instrumental in ensuring global adoption and acceptance of the mobile advertising guidelines (unlike other channels, mobile requires broad, cross-ecosystem cooperation to ensure success). If you're interested in mobile advertising, check out the guidelines. Not only do they contain the formats for mobile Web and messaging, they also contain content guidelines and technical requirements for mobile advertisers.

Once you've bought mobile Web inventory, what types of campaigns can be run? Options marketers can deploy include click to call, landing page information, e-mail capture, and the ability to send text, picture, audio, or video directly from the device. Real world examples of these campaigns have been discussed in earlier columns. These can include mobile coupons, banner ads with location information, ads with e-mail registration capabilities, and so on. Options are limitless.

Mobile campaign performance can be measured and evaluated in a number of ways to evaluate success. The main mobile Web measurement is impressions, but rates on click-through, click-to-call, and other interactive mobile metrics can also monitored. More information on measuring mobile advertising success is here.

Mobile advertising is only one of many options available to marketers interested in implementing mobile in cross-media initiatives.

Mobile provides the opportunity to not only repurpose existing content for the mobile device but also create new channel content. There's always the option to refine a campaign after it's been deployed. I encourage marketers to get involved and add mobile to cross-media initiatives. Mobile is a process of iterative refinement. Start today.

Vote for your favorite product or campaign for the 2006 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards, October 30 through close of business (5 pm EST) on November 8. Winners will be announced on November 13.


Laura Marriott Laura Marriott is executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which works to clear obstacles to market development, to establish standards and best practices for sustainable growth, and to evangelize the mobile channel for use by brands and third-party content providers. The MMA has over 250 members worldwide, representing over 16 countries. Laura has over 14 years' experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining the MMA, she served as Intrado's director of marketing, where she was responsible for the development and delivery of Intrado's mobility products and service. Laura previously served as director of business development at Cyneta Networks and Cell-Loc Inc.

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