Aerodeon Research Points to New Directions

Chris Bourke is Managing Director of veteran mobile advertising agency, Aerodeon and long time a long time MobHappy reader. Some new research commissioned by his agency points to some interesting conclusions, which Chris shares below.

If you have an idea or opinion you’d like to share, drop us a line. In the meantime, enjoy what Chris has to say:

I’ve been an avid reader of MobHappy for many years and have found myself guessing (as Russell and Carlo religiously do at the start of each New Year!) what might be ahead in the mobile future. My particular area of interest, as a founder of a mobile advertising agency, is mobile media so my ears always prick up whenever I read posts about AdMob or any other firm driving the development of this new media. I’ve always believed that mobile advertising will surprise us all. That, because of its unique characteristics, intimate relationship with its user and of course mobile nature, mobile advertising models will develop that will be unlike anything that we have seen in previous mediums.

Don‚Äôt get me wrong; mobile banners and text based ads will develop into a healthy subset of the mobile media pie; in the advertising game one finds that if there is space for media it generally gets filled. You only have to look at the petrol nozzle cover when you’re next filling your car up at your local station to see this up close.

But what I am most excited about are the advertising models that will define the mobile medium and distinguish it from others before it. And it‚Äôs crucial that mobile does distinguish itself, particularly from the web, if we are to convince advertisers to divert some of their digital budget to it. We need to tell advertisers why mobile is more effective, or more responsive, or more economical either alone or in conjunction with other media. Advertisers love simplicity; give them a list of compelling logical reasons why mobile can help them reach new consumers, more efficiently and they’ll sit up and listen.

So what advertising models will define mobile? We’ve heard about many in this blog over the years; mobile content download interstitials; idle screen; peer-2-peer SMS. I suspect these models will have some success but I am not sure they will define the medium. Of course I don‚Äôt have a crystal ball and the medium is moving too fast and in too many directions for me to pin a tail on any one approach. I can however take a stab at the general direction I think it will head.

We recently published a large research study that examined the attitudes and usage of mobile advertising across 1000 British consumers aged 18-64. Naturally there were lots of interesting findings but what took me most by surprise was that a significant proportion of users and non-users of the mobile internet want to receive a text message in response to clicking on a banner or text ad in WAP page. They don’t want to be taken to a WAP destination site, receive a java or video download or receive a voice call back. They simply want a text in their inbox with more information about the product of service that they were curious enough about to warrant them clicking the ad.

This is analogous, on the fixed web, to receiving an email in response to clicking on a banner ad. This would be a curious phenomenon, but imagine for a moment if you had to lug your PC around all day; perhaps then it wouldn‚Äôt be so odd. If you had to carry your PC around all day, certainly your browsing behaviour would change especially when on the move. You would likely ‚Äòsnack‚Äô on content far more rather than deep surf. And if you saw any banner or text ads you would likely not click on them as you would not have time ‘on the go’ to look at the advertiser’s destination site. You might not have time to bookmark the destination site or make a note of the offer. No, in such a scenario you would likely prefer an email sent to your inbox. You could then read this email back at the office or at home and assuming the email had links in it, you could explore the advertiser‚Äôs web sites in more detail.

I suspect that the reason then why so many of our respondents said they wanted to get a text when they click on a banner is that they simply don‚Äôt have time, on the move, to look at the advertisers. But by clicking it is implicit that they have demonstrated interest in the offer and so want to store details about it in the simplest and most efficient way possible and that (to the consumer anyway) is a text message sent to their inbox with links to the advertiser’s WAP site.

Mobile phones are not going to get any smaller but they will get smarter and faster and we’ll rely on them more and more to consume, manage and organise our media on the go. Based on this and coupled with our research findings, I suspect that mobile advertising will develop to accommodate the unique context that mobile users find them selves in. The challenge for advertisers is how they might reach their consumers effectively if they are only browsing mobile media slots for ten to twenty minutes a day. And if they reach them how do they manage the apathy to click through to WAP destinations? To help advertisers address these issues I suspect we will see models that will combine the best of display advertising – high impact, attention grabbing rich media – with that of direct marketing – concise, targeted and relevant. SMS will play an increasingly important role as it becomes tightly integrated with display advertising. If operators can join the ends together, then we will reach advertising nirvana; the ability to deliver a relevant, personalised SMS to a consumer in response to clicking on a display ad would make most brand managers giddy. (Ok, I concede that this may only be nirvana for customers on contract tariffs only‚Ķ..:-)

Let’s hope then that this gives many of the mobile advertising product managers who read this blog food for thought. I suspect trials in this area would produce fascinating results and if they ever get off the ground they may very well be the seeds of the advertising model that will define mobile media.

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