The traditional form of SMS messages is still the most common form of mobile advertising with 71% of users stating they have received text or multimedia advertisements, but with mobile devices becoming more sophisticated (especially in Japan) and improving bandwidth speeds this “third screen” (TV, PC, Mobile) is now starting to be used to it’s full potential.

Over 60% of Japanese mobile subscriptions include the i-mode service, which provides an always-on, fast internet connection which gives users access to well-organised content.

Services instead of advertising

Mobile phones are perceived to be very personal devices as they are always close to people and are a social tool used to communicate with friends, so advertisers must tread a fine line when trying to infiltrate this very personal space.

Advertisers are finding that campaigns are most successful when consumers perceive them more as a service than an advertisement, for example the location-based advertising that larger brands are beginning to trial e.g. McDonalds offering a “find your nearest restaurant” service. The technology is advanced enough to send the user a 20% discount voucher when the mobile phone user walks past a Starbucks branch that can be scanned directly off the mobile screen, but this could be perceived as being too intrusive.

Ad-funded subscriptions in the future

Mobile consumers are also receptive to free of charge advertiser-branded content that may be in the form of a game, wallpaper, ringtones etc. In nearby Australia, mobile users are able to access mobile video content free of charge, providing they are willing to watch advertisements, which has proved a successful model. A senior source in Google predicts that it is possible that mobile phone subscriptions will become completely free of charge in the future, with the entire phone network becoming completely ad-funded.

Many different types of mobile advertising exists including branding opportunities with miniature banner adverts clicking through to advertisers’ mobile websites as well as direct-response opportunities such as click-to-call whereby clicking the link automatically dials your nearest Toyota car showroom to organise a test drive, etc.

Sources: Euromonitor, M&M Global, Webpro News.