It has taken just five months for mobile advertising to go from a trickle of coverage in the mainstream media to a feeding frenzy. Since Google announced its plan to buy mobile ad network AdMob for US$750 million AdMob for US$750 million in November, national papers and newswires (in the US particularly) have clambered over each other to report the latest rumor, speculation and hearsay, followed by innumerable me-too pieces in trade journals and blogs.
There are two reasons why Asia is the most fascinating part of the world for mobile (anyone disagree with that premise?). First, there's the really advanced mobile markets spearheaded by Japan (but also South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong etc), that set all the precedents that Western nations follow. Second, there are the developing nations that have a) huge and growing populations; and b) have low PC penetration, so mobile will inevitably become the primary way that people access the Internet and many services (that they haven't been able to previously) and connect with brands.
In a thinly veiled attack on rival mobile ad networks (and other mobile start-ups) that have a) taken VC funds and/or b) sold out, Admoda issued a press statement with tongue-firmly-in-cheek, see:
Japan has much higher mobile Internet penetration than the US or Europe. This high usage of the mobile Internet (and mobile data generally) means mobile advertising/marketing is considerably more advanced than elsewhere.
• There are good reasons why Japan is king of mobile – and it's not just a cultural thing – and the mobile ecosystem in other countries would benefit greatly if these were emulated.
• The Japanese operators take much of the credit for fostering this environment (operators elsewhere, please check you are following their lead).
The first week of spring/autumn (Northern/Southern Hemisphere) brought an array of mobile topics from health to gambling and analytics to mobile payment, as mobilists – new, regular and not-seen-for-a-while Carnival contributors – pulled out all the stops. Thanks to all who submitted (hosting the Carnival has been educational as always) – keep up the good work.
UPDATE: 25 February, 2010
mobiThinking is recruiting a small number of volunteers around the world to take part in a small case study. We invite you to conduct a search on the leading mobile search engines where you are: e.g. Yahoo; Google; AOL; Bing; Ask; Taptu. Use the terms Winter + Olympics + mobile and document how many of the best local/international mobile Olympic sites come up in the search results. This will give an interesting insight into the effectiveness of mobile search engines, publisher mobile search optimization and the difference that location makes. All helpers will be credited and will have the opportunity to share conclusions and possible remedies.
For further details and to volunteer, please email editor (at) mobiThinking.com.
UPDATED: 02 March, 2010
Mobile is a Winter Olympics winner for US broadcaster NBC. The stats show it received more mobile visits by the opening ceremony than for the entire 2006 Winter Games and after 17 days had attracted more than 2.5 times the mobile visits at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Update 12 February, 2010: Valentine's details from Flirtomatic
Anyone wondering about the marketing impact of Valentine's should take a look at mobile/online social network Flirtomatic which saw sales of virtual gifts jump 100 percent in the first nine days of February. Flirtomatic sells 1 million virtual gifts annually, peaking around Valentines Christmas and New Year, when it introduces new content for flirts to send to their friends.
Flirtomatic is running Valentine's promotions with AT&T and Metro PCS in the US and all main UK network operators. It is also running a special Valentine's ad campaign with O2. Each O2 user signing up for a free pay-as-you-go SIM card is rewarded with FlirtPoints and a secret Valentine's Day gift (not O2 branded), which they can send on to whoever they like (not just Flirtomatic users).
Arguably mobile ad networks know as much about much about mobile advertising, the behavior of mobile consumers and the popularity of mobile Websites as anyone. There was a time when ad networks' mobile metrics reports only provided a small proportion of this valuable data, but that's changing fast. Now more ad networks are on the case, competition is leading to much more useful reports (particularly among the more recent entrants).
It's a baptism by fire for mobiThinking, stepping in at the last minute to host this, our first Carnival of the Mobilists. But it's a pleasure and an education to read and share the best of the mobile blogs from the past week (or so).