Local Online Media Planning Options in Mobile

If Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker’s report from the recent Web 2.0 Summit 2009 is accurate, there will be over 1 billion “heavy mobile data” global users by 2013. Observers called her data nothing short of “mind-boggling.” Just last week, Google announced its third largest acquisition to date with its deal to buy mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million. If you’re a media planner and not following trends in mobile, you’d better start.

When it comes to mobile advertising, there’s a particular split in acceptance. The sales side touts the benefits, like display ads promoting local and instant offers on everything from movies releases, automotive deals, and restaurant and retail discounts. On the other side, there’s consumer resistance to advertising on their personal devices. At the recent ad:tech NY conference, which featured a dedicated “Mobile Mix Zone” for example, one session speaker cited a poll in which 37 percent of respondents were “not at all interested” in receiving advertisements on their phone. Those who were “somewhat” or “very” interested in mobile ads, sought those that were timely and relevant, not random and inappropriate.

Perhaps more than any other online advertising platform, by its very nature, mobile can offer pinpointed geo-targeting. Consideration must be given too, to whether a mobile campaign would be better served with a marketing campaign, versus an advertising one. I’ve written about this schism in the past, and it’s still relevant today. The below list contains both advertising and marketing solutions so you have a more complete consideration set.

Mobile Portals and Search

Mobile U.S. Ad Networks

Much like with online ad networks, mobile ad networks let you distribute your ads across a wide variety of mobile sites, as well as within mobile applications. Many claim to be the biggest or largest, but my hunch is that within a year from now, many of these networks won’t even be around due to consolidation or lack of advertisers.

Marketing Through Mobile Apps

While advertising opportunities in mobile applications exist, your ultimate objectives may be better achieved through a mobile marketing solution instead. Here are some examples:

  • Yowza — an iPhone application that uses GPS location service to display store coupons in the user’s surrounding area.
  • EveryBlock — an application that delivers news feeds specific to city blocks. They’re “open to useful, non-intrusive advertisements.”
  • Geodelic’s T-Mobile Sherpa application — a “discovery application.”
  • Mobiroo — brand placements within paid mobile applications.

Mobile Marketing Solutions Providers

With many solutions providers out there now, geared up to assist marketers in the development and implementation of mobile marketing campaigns, they’re easier to develop than ever. When it comes to locally-targeted campaigns, however, the marketer still needs an understanding of how mobile analytics work. And, that location reports may report a DNS server for a phone carrier out of region traffic due to location of the carrier, not the phone user. Considerations like the need for smart/non-smart phone-ready mobile landing pages also has to be taken into account.

Mobile marketing solution providers include:

Mobile Resources

If mobile is all new to you, you may want to do some research first. Here’s a list of mobile industry consortiums, alliances, and forums that might help:

As with all these bleeding-edge technologies, this list is sure to be incomplete and bound to change quickly. If I’ve left any local mobile solutions off the list, please pipe up and let me know!

Hollis is off today. This column originally ran on November 17, 2009 on ClickZ.

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