The insider’s guide to mobile marketing in Spain

With the highest mobile-Internet penetration in Europe, as well as being one of the world’s Top 10 nations for .mobi registrations - Spain is an attractive bet for mobile marketers.

With the highest mobile-Internet penetration in Europe, as well as being one of the world’s Top 10 nations for .mobi registrations - Spain is an attractive bet for mobile marketers. mobiThinking caught up with Alberto Benbunan co-founder of award-winning agency Mobile Dreams Factory to get the low down on mobile Internet in Spain.
Starting out in Madrid four years ago Mobile Dreams Factory now also has offices in New York and Mexico, with plans to open offices in London and Paris shortly. It has worked with Diageo; Vodafone; Coca-Cola; Cepsa and Caja Madrid among other big brands.

  • See this interview for more on the Mobile Dreams Factory campaigns and The Top Ten mobiThinkers 2009 for more on Mobile Dreams Factory story.

  • Insider’s guide to mobile in: NigeriaKenyaBrazilFranceJapanCanadaGermanyUSAIndiaUKAustraliaSpainSouth AfricaCountry guides homepage

    Q1: How big or advanced is mobile Web in Spain v rest of world? What is the potential? What are the latest statistics?
    According to a 2008 study from the European Commission, Spain has the highest mobile-internet penetration of any country in the European Union, with 19.5 percent of the Spanish population using mobile broadband.

    Q2: What is driving growth? What is holding it up?
    Growth is greatly helped by the fact that three of the biggest operators in the world — Telefonica, Orange and Vodafone — all operate in Spain.
    Growth is held back by the traditional agencies that, either due to ignorance or fear of new media, discourage their clients from mobile marketing. They don’t integrate mobile into the marketing mix and keep clients in the dark about the potential of new technologies. [See discussion here].
    However brands that are prepared to challenge the status-quo, have discovered that mobile is both an efficient communication channel and a powerful tool for interaction

    Q3: Which industries/sectors have shown the most interest? Is interest from local or international companies?
    Technology may be global but advertising needs to be local; the more focused it is, the more efficient it is.
    The companies that have shown the most interest in mobile are those that sell premium content, but among real-world companies, banks and mass-consumer brands are the most active in mobile marketing.

    Q4: Which brands are the most innovative and which spend the most on mobile marketing? Who isn't interested that should be?
    To date, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Heineken and other mass-consumer brands have been the most innovative mobile marketers. This is maybe due to these companies knowing their markets best and the deep influence that mobile can have on their target audience. They also have the biggest budgets to try new things, experiment and innovate.
    But it is in the interest of all companies to invest in mobile marketing, in order to establish one-on-one conversations with their clients and embrace the media that consumers keep with them 80 percent of the time.

    Q5: What are they doing – mobile Web site, banner ads, text campaigns?

    SMS has been used in Spain for more than a decade, but traditional pull-push text campaigns are on the decline. The most innovative campaigns such as those using redeemable mobile coupons, Bluetooth and RFID are beginning to be more dominant.

    Mobile sites are a “must” in any mobile marketing campaign.

    Q6: Are these long-term or short-term campaigns; who is integrating site, ads and text; and who is integrating with other media, such as billboard, TV, press campaigns?
    In general, we see short- to medium-term campaigns. But where mobile-marketing agencies, together with clients, convince traditional agencies to integrate mobile into broad marketing campaigns, there are both longer-term and 360-degree campaigns (with mobile as one part of an integrated media campaign).

    Q7: What are the best mobile sites in Spain? What makes them stand out?
    Newspapers (Marca, Expansión, Sport) have made a very strong effort to build their mobile audiences, but the operators have surpassed them, both in terms of capturing content and traffic. Vodafone Live! has done particularly well, building a content base for diverse audiences.

    Q8: What type of site is most popular with a) consumers and b) business customers?
    Regarding consumers, sport is king, such as Marca. It’s probably the same for business clients as well, though many will also check the general press and finance newspapers El Mundo or Expansion.

    Q9: Who are the most innovative / powerful players on the supply side: a) creative agencies b) advertising networks. And who are the gurus?
    Who are the most innovative / powerful players on the supply side?
    In terms of creative agencies, Mobile Dreams Factory obviously gets my vote without a doubt. Not just because I work there, but it has also won as many awards as any agency worldwide.
    As for advertising networks, Vodafone has certainly done an impressive job recruiting both advertisers and third-party sites to its network. Nokia Interactive Advertising has also done very well recruiting new sites.

    Q10: What makes mobile marketing different in your country compared to abroad?
    Having the three biggest operators in the world, one of the highest adoption rates, and the most innovative and creative campaigns in recent years makes the mobile marketing in Spain one of the most advanced in the world.

    Q11: What is the most exciting thing about mobile?
    Our mobile phones are with us 80 percent of the time. We leave it on when we sleep; it’s the last thing we check before we go to bed and the first thing we look at when we wake up. The mobile is simultaneously a communication channel and a communication tool. Mobile is the best of all media because it unites penetration, frequency and affinity and, most importantly, it’s measurable.

    Q12: What do you do better than the rest of the mobile marketing world?
    Creativity in mobile marketing doesn’t only consist in taking advantage of the 160 characters of an SMS, but in knowing about new technological possibilities that allow you to reach clients effectively: creativity + technology. But the most important part is knowing how to integrate it to traditional and digital media.

    Comment below or email editor (at)

    See The insider’s guide to mobile Web marketing in:

  • Japan
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • USA
  • India
  • UK
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • Brazil
  • Country guides homepage

  • And don’t miss:

  • mobiThinking’s page of essential links
  • Five-minute interview: Juston Payne, John Wiley & Sons
  • The Top Ten mobiThinkers 2009
  • spain1_teaser_138.jpg

    Spain: high mobile Internet penetration


    Alberto Benbunan: your guide to Spain


    Marca: mobile sports


    El Mundo: mobile news

    Rating for this article:

    This guide was written in Q1, 2009. We plan an update later this year. When we do that we'll see if we can find the data you request on Spain.
    Editor, mobiThinking

    1. How dated is this information?
    2. Any research on the difference between engaging users via sms and mobile internet?
    3. Any figures on how many people receive there primary eMail on their mobile device and can respond through their device?
    4. Any research on servicing clients (not marketing) via SMS?

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