Will 2008 be the year of Mobile Advertisement?

Mobile Phones are personal devices we always carry on with us. As their media capabilities increase, mobile handsets become ideal for brands to get across their message to consumers through personalized multimedia campaigns.

So far, Operators have used their knowledge about customers mainly for SMS-based marketing, with a high risk of annoying the user with spam. As more powerful and open handsets appear – iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android-, and as Operators adopt flat-fee data plans, other promising technologies are emerging for a better user experience and ad effectiveness:

- Mobile Web. Banners and contextual links are ready to take off, with Google and others occupying that space, probably bypassing Operators. Apart form the personalized targeted ads, features like click-to-call can make Mobile Web even more effective than Internet, with higher click-though rates.
- Mobile TV / Video. Be it interstitial ads before clips or new formats embracing interactivity, this segment, still in its infancy, will develop intensely: Broadcast Mobile TV (DVB-H/DVB-SH) will raise users awareness and will enable broadcast channels mass distribution.
- Downloadable content/apps. Many brands will see interest to sponsor downloadable content specifically targeted to a segment, with interstitials shown between games.

All these new models will require a 3G network and handsets to make them compelling. 3G handsets are lowering their cost and becoming affordable for teenagers. Teenagers are today the key segment for ring-back tones, logos and game downloads, using their 2G phones. No doubt teenagers are the ones likely to first embrace new types of advertisement. Simply wait for them to get a 3G phone.

Mobile advertisement market size in 2011 is estimated between $5 and $18 billion, depending on which analyst is consulted.

How will this market split among the different players in the value chain is still to be seen. Operators risk to be bypassed by Internet players, but let’s not forget that Operators are the ones owning the scarce resource of spectrum. If operators decide to charge data on usage, instead of flat-fee, this can be a showstopper for the mobile ads party.

NewTeeVee recently posted their “outsourced” predictions for Video Advertisement. Even if focused on Internet TV, most of the comments are also valid for Mobile Video Advertisement. Worth reading.