Excuse me waiter, Ill have free mobile content with ads please

Source: Marketing Interactive December 2007 Issue | View Print Article

Marcus Chhan spoke with non-executive chairman for UK-based mobile phone media company, Affle, and former president of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Richard Humphreys on how his latest venture is alleviating mobile marketing to another realm.

It’s going to change the face of advertising, change the way people look at internet advertising and it’s going to presumably take a bigger slice out of marketer’s budgets if they are looking to be really selective, Richard Humphreys, non-executive chairman for UK-based mobile phone media company, Affle claims.

Humphreys says if Nike wants to sell running shoes, it wants to target people with a keep fit attitude for example and if TV cannot offer that, and radio cannot offer that precisely, and newspapers and magazines can only offer that to a degree – so marketers are going to spread and make internet advertising part of their marketing mix.

Commercially launched first for the Singapore market in third quarter 2007, Affle’s innovative SMS2.0 application which combines content advertising and SMS, revealed pilot test results such as CTRs from preview to full screen ranging from 1.12% to 2.77%, and CTRs to WAP sites from 0.28% to 0.97%. The downloadable application, which does not change standard SMS procedures such as common keystroke functions, is content driven with advertising as the business model. The content is permission based as users subscibe to categories and topics of interest and are served with the ads together with the content.

“That’s the big deal for the advertisers. Normally with advertising you’re just talking to everybody and hoping that the few people actually interested in your category or product are listening. Here you’re guaranteed that it’s self selecting and that makes every viewer of the advertising such a valuable person. I think previously marketers have used mobile phone marketing as a kind of spamming thing but here it’s going to be quite subtle and think the ads will evolve into a form of content in its own right. It’ll be a form of branding and like sponsorship, kind of built into the story,” he said.

The ability to profile audiences is a selling point for SMS2.0, especially as the application is able to profile attitudes, interests, and desires to learn more information, rather than the traditional profiling of age, geography and income. The application is the first product brought to the market by the two-year old company which brought on-board the former president of Saatchi & saatchi Worldwide as non-executive chairman for his marketing advertising background, Humphreys, who says the onus is on the advertiser to make campaigns as interactive and as creatuie to be more successful.

“I think one thing that’s been quite interesting is that we’ve attracted lots of brand advertisers, people like Levi’s who are using it as a branding tool which is terrific because it competes directly then with TV amd magazine advertising and all that kind of stuff. We’re laying the people marketers want to talk to on a plate for them so it’s up to advertisers to engage with them in meaningful way,” he said.

Currently SMS2.0 ia available through downloads but according to Humphreys, the company aims to get the application built into phones at the production stage, making it the default SMS application. The company has plans to break enhanced SMS2.0 applications into markets such as the UK and Europe to name a few, some time next year.

The next innovative step for SMS2.0? Facebook integration…possibly.