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Big Results From PDA-Based Advertising

  |  May 11, 2004   |  Comments

An overlooked but very effective way to generate leads: PDA advertising.

Sometimes it's both a blessing and a curse we have so many different online advertising venues. We've got online display advertising, search, pay for performance, email marketing, rich media applications, wireless, place-based interactivity, and so on. Trying to make sense of it all can be a bit taxing.

Advertising via PDA is one of my favorites. It's perhaps one of the most overlooked (yet quite effective) means of generating awareness and leads for clients.

Steady Growth

A recent eMarketer report confirms growth in the handheld PDA marketplace. Windows CE systems are really taking off.

Granted, PDAs as a platform will most likely never be a mainstream tool. According to Jupiter Research (a Jupitermedia Corp. division), PDA usage will grow from about 14 million units in 2003 to 20 million in 2008, only about 7 percent of U.S. households. Even so, customers who covet PDAs are often higher educated, higher income, and more Internet-savvy. These folks are especially likely to conduct online transactions.

How do you market to these users? You could try to append a traditional online ad buy with placements in corresponding PDA/wireless channels, such as content made available via The Wall Street Journal Online, CBS MarketWatch.com, and BusinessWeek Online.

But the best and most efficient way to gain quick reach is via content aggregators, such as Vindigo and AvantGo, the latter with over 9 million registered users.

With a content aggregator, you have two main options: advertise on a number of targeted channels, or build your own channel and use it as a conduit to drive traffic and interest to your client's main site.

Advertising on Channels

Based on availability and various targeting parameters, you can present your marketing message via a display advertising approach. The advantage of AvantGo is it already has registration data on hand. When users sign up for the service, they select their desired content channels. You can create an ad message with a simple, "Yes, tell me more" or "Please sign me up for your newsletter" button. With one customer tap, you've snared a lead. AvantGo passes the opt-in data back to you, and you're ready to develop your next customer.

How well does it work? Without getting into proprietary results, I can reveal that for an automotive client's recent campaign, the cost per lead for AvantGo was almost twice as efficient as similar Web-based online advertising efforts.

Build Your Own Channel

Creating and maintaining your own content within an AvantGo channel is definitely a longer-term strategy. But it's worth the effort if you align content and communication elements with customer needs. These marketing microsites assist in generating leads. If your client already has a significant Web presence with services and information tools, think about what subset of those items would be helpful when people are on the road. Design a simple, graphically streamlined channel that will ultimately encourage opt-in.

Don't make the mistake of replicating an entire Web site. AvantGo users tend to use channels in quick bites, not long surfing sessions. Due to form factor, you must provide quickly digestible information nuggets.

American Airlines' AvantGo channel is a good example. In addition to top-line travel info, it offers basic functionality, such as flight schedules, gates, departure times, and AAdvantage Club locations. This is nowhere near what's available on the Web site, but it's just what customers need while traveling. What about opt-in? The channel encourages customers to sign up for the weekly NetSAAver fares email.

Next time you review your online media mix, think about options to reach PDA users. They could be the customers most likely to reach for your client's products and services.


James Hering As SVP and director of interactive marketing at t:m interactive, JamesHering's teamdevelops a full range of interactive solutions for a variety of clients.Since 1994, he's been involved in development and evolution of AmericanAirlines' AA.com. With over 10 million registered users, it's one of theworld's most successful e-commerce sites. James' experience includes contentpublishing and development; online CRM; sponsorship/partnerships; searchengine marketing; and execution and implementation of AA's award-winninginteractive campaigns. Other client experience includes Adams Golf, BellHelicopter, eiStream, Nationwide Insurance, Nortel Networks, Match.com,SABRE Travel Information Network, Subaru of America, Reno Air, Nestle Foods,Texas Instruments, Texas Tourism and Pizza Hut. His group's honors includethe Internet Marketing Association's Excellence in Interactive Marketing,WebAwards for Site Design, Communication Arts, NY Festival, iNOVA awards,CASIE Interactive awards and @d:Tech awards.

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