Boost Mobile has partnered with Amobee Media Systems to sell and support ads on a handful of Boost Mobile’s properties. Acura and Fox Searchlight Pictures are the first clients to place ads on the system.
Boost Mobile’s 4.6 million users will now see ads on the company’s mobile homepage and on BoostLIVE, the site where handset users can order ring tones, wallpapers, music and games. For now, the carrier is only selling banner ads on these sites, though video and rich media placements will be offered as the program evolves.
“We wanted to be entering the market when the business opportunity was right as opposed to going out of our way to be first. We think now is the right time,” said Lowell Winer, Boost Mobile’s director of emerging products. “The market is still nascent, but we expect significant growth over the next few years.”
Boost, the pre-paid, youth-oriented division of Sprint-Nextel, has previously allowed third party ad sales across some of its network, such as its search platform, but the current program represents its first foray into selling primary inventory direct to advertisers. Users can opt-out of the program by calling a 1-800 customer service line.
With a customer base of subscribers aged mainly 30-and-below, Boost Mobile could represent an attractive target for marketers looking to reach tech-savvy consumers who are more comfortable making purchases through handsets. But Lowell said the company is committed to ensuring its customers are exposed only to ads they find relevant or will somehow enrich their mobile experience.
“Customer experience is paramount,” he said. “We want to make sure ads are relevant to our customer and non-intrusive. The research we’ve done with our own user base and research from third parties shows that as long as you focus on those two things, users are OK with advertising.”
The current ads, which include placements for Fox Searchlight’s upcoming “Street Kings,” allow users to click-through to mobile microsites where they can get more information about the film. The company is working on ways to deliver more value for the advertiser, such as collecting phone numbers or e-mail addresses, but those mechanics were still a ways off.
Amobee CEO Zohar Levkovitz said Boost’s entry into the mobile marketing space could attract marketers previously uncomfortable with the medium.
“Boost has an influence on the mobile media habits of the under-30 demographic in the US,” he said. “This relationship was created to attract youth and lifestyle brands that haven’t traditionally invested in interactive advertising.”
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