Whos afraid of Do-Not-Call? Not Affle

Source: agencyfaqs! | View Online Article

The Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry being put in place for regulating unwanted marketing calls and SMSes may seem like a dampener for mobile marketing firms, but there is a new breed of companies that is actually counting on it. Affle is one of them. The London based mobile technology company collaborated with Bharti Airtel in June to bring its advertising platform SMS 2.0 to India (more details here).

In a conversation with agencyfaqs!, Richard Humphreys, non-executive chairman of Affle, said, “We actually see DNC as an opportunity because it will leave out the uninterested audience and help us target better.” Humphreys, former president of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, feels that one of the biggest challenges mobile marketers face is deciding “whether or not people want to see their ads”.

Though SMS 2.0 delivers relevant ads to subscribers in their message inbox, the platform works through a mobile Internet or GPRS connection. However, Humphreys does not think that low penetration and use of GPRS in India is a problem. “We are targeting a valuable audience – irrespective of the number.”

When asked about the accuracy of the ads that are delivered to subscribers, Humphreys said it is close to 100 per cent because “we do self-targeted advertising. Customers decide what kind of content they want to see, so it is non-intrusive and even welcomed.”

With marketing efforts from Airtel, the platform already has on board 13 advertisers including Nike, Coke, ICICI Bank, Aviva and Levi’s. Humphreys adds that SMS 2.0 should be used for “branding and sponsorships, instead of hard sell”. In fact, Airtel is planning to aggressively promote the ad platform in December. However, Humphreys is clear that tie-ups with other operators should not be ruled out and that they will happen “in due course”.

In fact, Humphreys thinks that India is one of the most developed markets for mobile GPRS marketing. This is evident from the fact that after experimenting with SMS 2.0 in Singapore, Affle has now launched the platform in India; it will launch it in the UK only next year. Humphreys says that since its tie-up with Airtel, around 14,000 subscribers have agreed to install the application on their mobile. “We are also in talks with handset manufacturers to have the platform built in,” he adds.

Affle’s other advertising platform is Coufon, which lets advertisers run mobile promotions and contests. Humphreys says that India is naturally a market for Coufon, too, and that it will be introduced here next year.

Affle is one of the new generation of mobile marketing companies like ACL Wireless, Activemedia Technology, Enpocket and OnMobile, which are counting on the DNC list and similar regulations to support their entirely opt-in or permission-based advertising platforms. These platforms are then pitched to advertisers as a ready audience of interested customers.