Exciting opportunities for brands and agencies according to observations at MWC 2012.
Mobile advertising and marketing was once again a major theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The growing availability of free mobile services increases the need to consider ad-funded business models among a range of actors, not the least telcos which are faced with declining ARPUs as the business landscape evolves. Mobile advertising and marketing companies constituted one of the largest categories of exhibitors at the congress, and in some halls the players from the mobile ad ecosystem were densely clustered. There were further an abundance of presentations, lectures and panels on mobile advertising where renowned industry profiles presented and debated various blends of the topic such as the mobile advertising ecosystem, the major opportunities in emerging markets, mobile social media marketing, and location-based advertising (LBA).
Location-based advertising is portrayed as one of the strong suits of mobile advertising as few other media can enable targeting with comparable precision. Having remained a futuristic concept mainly featured in experimental campaigns for several years, location-targeting has recently begun to be increasingly utilised as a common targeting variable among the major mobile advertising players including Millennial Media, Nexage, Madvertise and InMobi. The granularity of the location-precision varies from static variables such as city and zip code to real-time targeting leveraging GPS, Cell-ID and Wi-Fi positioning technology. There are furthermore a number of small newcomers addressing the market with dedicated LBA solutions, often aiming to provide relevant and engaging user experiences through the use of high-precision location-targeting. Such players enabling advertisers to pinpoint specific locations include Placecast, AdMoove and Xtify.
Developments within mobile advertising and marketing do further include an ever-increasing use of rich media ad formats. Formats capitalising on the possibilities of HTML5 present the opportunity to provide a far more engaging and visually appealing ad experience for both in-app and mobile web advertising, and the CTRs and CPMs do often far exceed traditional campaigns. A general trend among the larger providers of mobile advertising has been to introduce broader rich media offerings in their portfolios, often utilising specialist competence nurtured within smaller start-ups. Adfonic has for example partnered with Celtra, Crisp Wireless, Phluant Mobile and Medialets, while the leading independent ad network InMobi recently acquired Sprout. Berg Insight anticipates that legacy ad formats from online advertising such as display and search advertising gradually will be replaced by more sophisticated and richer formats combined with refined targeting in line with behavioural and contextual attributes such as location and time.