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Nielsen Study Reveals Consumer Cell Phone Preferences December 20, 2010

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As marketer’s begin to embrace mobile marketing strategies and begin being faced with choices on which strategies are best for their firms, one element that will be increasingly important to know is which phones are being used by specific demographic segments.  Nielsen is making strong in-roads at providing that information

A recent Nielsen Company report revealed that U.S. consumers rate Apple and Google Android phones as the most desirable, but men, apparently, prefer Android OS phones, whereas women prefer the Apple iPhone.

Smart phones, which have a nearly 30 percent penetration in the U.S. mobile device market, are led by the Apple iOS (27.9 percent), RIM’s BlackBerry (27.4 percent) and Android (22.7 percent). Of consumers queried about plans to upgrade their current phones, 35 percent picked iOS, 28 percent Android and 15 percent BlackBerry. Interestingly, more feature phone owners were interested in migrating to Android (28 percent) than Apple (25 percent) and left BlackBerry in the dust (11 percent).

The preference by gender was also clear: Of females looking for a new smart phone, 30.9 percent opted for the iPhone, and only 22.8 percent are interested in Android. For men, however, 32.6 percent want an Android phone, and 28.6 percent want an iPhone.

In the 18-to-24-year-old group, 35.9 percent of respondents opt for the iPhone, with 32 percent leaning toward Android. The difference narrows in the 25-to-34 group (31.9 percent versus 29.8 percent) and flips for the 35-to-52 group (27.4 percent for Android and 26.3 percent for Apple).

Bank of America & Visa Testing Mobile Payments for Consumers August 20, 2010

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As U.S. retailers and consumers are becoming more and more aware of the capabilities of Mobile Technology and the benefits it can provide, they are continuing their exploration into the many segments of Mobile that are still untapped in the U.S. marketplace (Europe, Asia and other parts of the Global community are far ahead of us in their adoption of Mobile technologies).  Mobile commerce / Mobile payments is one of those untapped opportunities that is finally being explored by the major players in the financial industry.  The story below details a study that is soon to be underway by Bank of America and Visa regarding consumers use of their Mobile devices for making purchase payments.

However, it should be noted that this technology is already available from a multitude of vendors in the U.S. and is being used by a number of U.S. based firms in some test markets – particularly in the fast-food industry.

Should your firm be interested in exploring the use of Mobile payments for your business, please contact us via our website, or email at Info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com; we’ll be happy to arrange for you to work with the Mobile services vendors most appropriate for your business.

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Christina Warren, Mashable

Soon, some New Yorkers will be able pay for their purchases with their smartphones rather than their credit cards.

Bank of America and Visa are working together to launch a new test program that will bring digital wallet capabilities to smartphones.

The program will start in New York in September and run through the end of the year. Visa is planning on rolling out a similar test program with US Bancorp in October.

Users in the test program will be given small chips to insert in their smartphones. These chips emit radio signals over very short distances and can communicate directly with point-of-sale systems in stores. By waving their smartphones near cash registers, users can automatically send payments and banking information.

This sort of technology has existed in Europe and Asia for the better part of a decade, but mobile-based purchases have yet to really take off in the U.S.

As smartphone and mobile usage continues to climb, however, it looks like U.S. consumers might finally join the revolution. In addition to the Bank of America/Visa program, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Discover Financial Services are also working together on a joint mobile payment system.

Startups like Square are also jumping into the mobile and micro-payments arena. Likewise, PayPal has been ramping up its mobile offerings. Both the iOS and Android versions of PayPal Mobile include Bump technology that allows users to easily transfer payments by waving or bumping their devices. In our discussions with PayPal, the company has also indicated that it is very interested in working with other partners to make it easier for businesses to collect payments using PayPal from mobile devices.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

Smartphone Owners Mobile Purchasing Behaviors Differ by Device January 7, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As consumers become more and more dependent on their mobile phones to assist them in their everyday lives, it’s inevitable that they will begin to make purchases via mobile.  In a transition similar to that of the Internet before it, consumers are now beginning to test the capabilities of their mobile device to become the ultimate tool of convenience allowing them to handle the purchase of items they need using mobile technology.  And as it was with the Internet, retailers are now playing ‘catch up’ to make that capability available.  However, as those retailers begin to develop their mobile marketing strategies they can now take advantage of the research offered below.

Therefore, we recommend that all retailers become familiar with the information below and then begin the process of optimizing their websites for mobile viewing. Should you elect not to optimize for all mobile devices, then use the information below to select the the device whose user-demographic profile best matches your target demo’s.

Retailers can learn more about the best ways to use mobile technology to promote their products and services by visiting our website, and if your firm would like to explore using mobile, we at Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to assist you.  To schedule a free consultation regarding using mobile marketing for your firm, contact us via our website.

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Center for Media Research

According to the Compete quarterly Smartphone Intelligence survey, smartphone owners are more comfortable buying from their handsets, but still have some site functionality problems. 8% of smartphone owners that tried to purchase a product on their device were unable to do so. 45% of those that abandoned the process reported that they did so because the site would not load, and an additional 38% left the site because it was not developed specifically for smartphone users.

Danielle Nohe, director of consumer technologies for Compete, points out that “… smartphone use is no longer limited to an exclusive group of tech savvy consumers. As… people grow more comfortable transacting, site owners must redesign around mobile shopping ease-of-use… ”

Nonetheless, says the report, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is ready to explode in 2010. But Nohe cautions that marketers recognize the differences that vary by individual and device. For instance, he says “We’re seeing notable behavior differences across devices… (as) users of the Android operating system share different characteristics than Blackberry and iPhone enthusiasts.”

Key findings from Compete’s Q3 2009 Smartphone Intelligence survey include:

  • 37% of smartphone owners have purchased something non-mobile with their handset in the past 6 months
  • 19% of total smartphone owners have purchased music from their device, 14% have purchased books, DVDs, or video games and 12% have purchased movie tickets
  • 40% of Android owners and 51% of Blackberry owners would spend $500 or more to buy a product from their mobile phone, compared to 9% of iPhone owners
  • The most popular mobile shopping-related activities are research related: 41% of iPhone users and 43% of Android users are most likely to check sale prices at alternative locations from their mobile phones while they are shopping
  • The second most likely activity is accessing consumer reviews, with 39% of iPhone owners and 31% of Android owners investigating reviews from their handset before they purchase
  • While m-commerce is poised for explosive growth in 2010, consumers are still more likely to abandon mobile purchasing on sites that are not optimized for the on-the-go experience, similar to shopping cart abandonment in the early days of e-commerce.
Shopping Use of SmartPhone Away From Computer (% of SmartPhone Owner Respondents Using At All)
Use of Smartphone % of Respondents
Look up shopping info about item to purchase online 68%
Find address & store hours of preferred store 68
Review a product description 52
Look at 3rd party or consumer review of product while in store 45
Check order status originally placed online 43
Look for retailer or product coupons 43
Check for availability of in-store pickup 40
Check price of in store item as “good deal” 36
Make purchase after seeing item in store 34
Make purchase if product not available in store 28
Make purchase without seeing item in store 28
Check status of rebate submitted 24
Source: Compete Smartphone Intelligence Survey, Q3 2009

Compete’s Smartphone Intelligence combines consumer insights with behavioral data to reveal how smartphone owners are using their phones.

For additional information about this study, please visit here.

What does Google’s $750M purchase of AdMob mean for mobile advertising? November 12, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Every once in a while a business deal gets done that ‘those in the know’ believe will have major impact on business in America and possibly worldwide.  The Bank of America/Merrill Lynch merger was one, the AOL/Time Warner merger was thought to be one, AT&T/BellSouth was another, Kraft/Phillip Morris was one that worked, Sony/Columbia and Walt Disney/ABC also seem to have worked.  This week, another was announced; this one is anticipated to have impact worldwide – first in the advertising industry, and then in the industries which will be affected by those changes in the advertising industry.  This week’s announcement is the purchase of Admob by Google. 

Below is a detailed analysis by Mobile Marketer on the anticipated impact this purchase will have on advertising in general, mobile advertising specifically, and overall business.  Those of you who have read this blog on a regular basis are well aware of our contention that mobile marketing is the next big growth area in marketing/advertising.  To us, this announcement further confirms our thoughts on this issue.  Read the article to see if you believe the same, we would love to have your comments.

November 10, 2009, Mobile Marketer

mobile mktg typesGoogle now has three out of four bases covered Google Inc. has signed a game-changing agreement to acquire mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million in stock in a move that validates mobile advertising as an effective marketing medium.

Google is hoping that this acquisition will enhance its existing expertise and technology in mobile advertising, while also giving advertisers and publishers more choice in this fast-growing area. The deal will help Google in its efforts to develop more effective tools for creating, serving and analyzing emerging mobile ads formats and expand beyond its traditional focus on search advertising.

“We’ve been talking about the awesome opportunity that mobile marketing brings to the world,” said Mike Wehrs, president/CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, New York. “Some people understand that, and this deal shows that the largest and best-known advertising company—Google—understands the awesomeness of the opportunity, and they understand where this is going.

“If anything, it’s absolutely proof-positive of the value of the mobile channel and it encourages brands to take a very hard look at their priorities,” he said. “If they’re not already increasing their mobile spend, this is a wake-up call.

“It sets to rest any questions as to whether mobile ad networks had a sustainable, profitable business model, and this will cause people to pay attention, wow, there is significant large-player interest, so it spells opportunity.”

Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is a top Web property in all major global markets, albeit largely monetarily successful in its search advertising business. It has recently made mobile an increasing focus of its business.

AdMob, San Mateo, CA, is one of the leading mobile ad networks specializing in banner ads for brands such as adidas, MTV, Land Rover and Toshiba that run on publisher sites such as CBS, AccuWeather, Cellufun, MovieTickets.com, Lonely Planet and Stitcher. These ads run across iPhone sites and applications, as well as those based on Google’s Android platform.

Founded in 2006, the 140-employee AdMob won $47 million in funding from investors such as venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners.  AdMob and Google share a common investor in Sequoia Capital, a well-known Silicon Valley eminence.

Google’s rationale

Mobile advertising is a rapidly growing and competitive space, and Google and AdMob are currently specializing in different areas. Though Google offers many forms of mobile advertising, its focus to date has been on mobile search ads, while AdMob’s focus has been mobile display ads and in-application ads.

Google dubbed AdMob the quintessential Silicon Valley startup and claims that it is generating impressive year-on-year revenue growth. Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions.

As this ecosystem continues to grow, the company expects these new marketing media to offer significant benefits. Google believes that advertisers will be better able to engage mobile users with AdMob’s ad formats. The deal will bring new innovation and competition to mobile advertising and will lead to more effective tools for creating, serving and analyzing emerging mobile ad formats, per Google.

The company claims that, by improving the performance of mobile advertising, publishers and developers will be able to monetize their content more effectively, which will hopefully have benefits for the wider mobile ecosystem. Google also claims that users will see more relevant ads and ultimately get access to more free or low-cost ad-supported content and applications, improving their mobile experience. The mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive, with more than a dozen mobile ad networks. The deal is similar to mobile advertising acquisitions that AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo have made in the past two years.

Analysts abuzz

Industry analysts are buzzing about the news of the acquisition, and many were eager to chime in with their thoughts about the potential impact of the deal. “This definitely puts Google in a good position—it really helps them with display ads,” said Tole Hart, Philadelphia-based research director of consumer services at Gartner. “AdMob is definitely a large ad network, and this is taking a large competitor out of the market, but there are still enough ad networks out there to make it a fairly competitive market. “There is less competition, but still some competition in the market, Yahoo in search, and other mobile ad networks such as Quattro Wireless, Millennial Media, Jumptap and a few others still in the market,” he said. “It’s still going to be competitive.”

Many analysts believe that mobile advertising has nowhere to go but up, so there will be plenty of room for multiple players in the space. This definitely helps Google position itself well for strategic growth in the ecosystem. “We think the mobile advertising market is going to grow a lot, and to me it seems like a pretty good deal,” Mr. Hart said. “If it’s going to help you in this market going forward, it’s money well spent—the current revenues aren’t going to add up, but if it gets you going and gives you some assurance that you’ll be a leader, it’s worth it. “Five years from now, everyone will have a smartphone or a really good feature phone, so there will be a lot of eyeballs and a lot of revenue,” he said.

Gartner projects that the worldwide revenue for mobile advertising will be $13.5 billion in 2013, up from around $500 million in 2008. This includes mobile banner ads, SMS, text links, search and maps, ads in applications and games, ads in videos and TV shown on a mobile phone. Up until now, Google has focused mainly on search advertising, but this deal signals that it has its sights set on other areas as well.

“This one move underscores Google’s ongoing insistence that their strategy is to look at mobile and be a big player there, and this gives them one more piece of that puzzle, one more tool to pursue that strategy,” said Neil Strother, analyst at Forrester Research, Kirkland, WA. “They do OK with AdSense for mobile already, and this gives them a platform to go into display more and play in the smartphone space, because AdMob has leveraged that pretty well.

“Mobile advertising is still a fairly small chunk of the interactive marketing spend, it’s still relatively early, but now Google can get in and marshal their resources, and they will become a major player,” he said. “It probably solidifies them as the leader in the mobile marketing ecosystem.

“The potential is rather high to reach more mainstream users, because even mid-tier phones come with browsers and more people are signing up for data plans that come with Web browsing, so they can search and discover things that are entertaining and can have advertising in some way.”

Some analysts focused on the potential for integrating AdMob with AdSense to some degree, and the various synergies the AdMob acquisition could create for Google. “First off, this is a big deal, both in deal size and what it could mean for Google,” said Michael Boland, San Francisco-based senior analyst and program director at BIA/Kelsey. “Google is clearly keen on replicating its online dominance to the mobile world as growing smartphone penetration drives the growth of the mobile Web.

“What it’s done so far has mostly been text advertising on Google searches and throughout its AdSense for mobile network mirroring its online strategy,” he said. What AdMob brings is an extensive network of display ad inventory on 15,000 mobile Web sites and applications for iPhone and Android, according to Mr. Boland.

“It’s been the largest ad network for in-app ad inventory on the iPhone, which has important implications for demographic targeting and audience segmentation,” Mr. Boland said. “With AdMob, Google can now reach incremental mobile users and beef up its ability to serve mobile display advertising. “This is a strong position if you combine it with the fact that Google has so many existing online advertisers,” he said. “It can transition many into mobile marketing with a one-stop-shop approach. “This has implications for many more advertisers entering AdMob’s network—otherwise ad networks rely on a combination of direct sales and some self service, so in that respect, Google’s front door to advertisers gives AdMob an advantage over other ad networks.”

Self-service mobile advertising will grow in usage, which suggests Google’s approach will position it well, according to Mr. Boland. “We could see more and more mobile distribution options integrate with its existing AdWords dashboard, again, a one-stop-shop approach,” Mr. Boland said. “If you think about it, this again mirrors Google’s online approach. “Other mobile ad networks have meanwhile begun to ad self-service tools to reach more mid-market and SMB long-tail advertisers,” he said. “This will be a growing source of mobile ad revenue as mobile marketing reaches these segments of the market, just like they did online.”

Focusing on display, search and messaging-based advertising, eMarketer predicts that U.S. mobile advertising spending will grow from $320 million last year to $416 million this year to more than $1.5 billion by 2013. “Google’s acquisition of AdMob obviously gives a lot of legitimacy to mobile marketing in general and mobile display advertising specifically,” said Noah Elkin, senior analyst at eMarketer, New York. “It signals, as on the desktop, that the combination of display and search are going to be what drives the advertising ecosystem, including mobile advertising. “I’m sure that all of the mobile ad networks have been thinking about a combination like this, they’ve all received quite a bit of venture capital money over the past few years, and they’ve been contemplating something like this as a potential exit strategy,” he said. “This deal could help accelerate that timetable. “Google putting a lot of money into the space speeds things up a bit.”

Mr. Elkin would not rule out the possibility that this deal could lead to an acquisition by Microsoft or another Google rival. “Microsoft getting involved is certainly possible—AOL bought Third Screen Media and merged that into Platform-A,” Mr. Elkin said. “Microsoft has invested pretty heavily in voice search with the TellMe acquisition a couple of years ago, and I’m sure they’re looking pretty closely at mobile display as well. “This is the beginning of a dance or musical chairs, with everyone looking for a partner,” he said. “It’s all leading mobile ad networks to cater to slightly different constituencies, there’s not a lot of overlapping reach, so they are viable acquisition targets—AdMob is very strong with iPhone users, while Quattro and Millennial have different user bases, so there are lots of ways into this market. “We’ve pointed to display and search as the two main components driving the market, increasing smartphone adoption and the increase in mobile Web surfing and applications usage is driving that.”

Open letter from Omar Hamoui, founder/CEO of AdMob, San Mateo, CA, to publishers, advertisers and visitors to AdMob.com

This morning we announced that AdMob has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Google. I’m obviously excited, and not only for our customers, partners, and employees. I’m excited because I believe this will be an important moment for everyone involved in producing, consuming, or monetizing engaging products on mobile. The truth is that the mobile industry has had no shortage of creative energy, amazing products, and talented entrepreneurs. But until now, it has always felt like those of us involved in this space played second fiddle to our online brethren. I believe that time is over.

I’ve been working in mobile for over 7 years now. Before AdMob, I founded two separate mobile startups that never got significant traction. It was so frustrating to build what I knew was an incredible service only to find myself unable to distribute or monetize the product without a carrier or handset deal. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Talk to any veteran in mobile and they will tell you just how hard it was to get things done only a few years ago. I remember we used to have a cynical saying that summarized both the promise that mobile possessed and the monumental barriers we could not cross: “Mobile is the future, and always will be.”

That frustration is what led me to found AdMob a few years ago while I was in grad school. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to gather a tremendously talented group of employees. Together we’ve been a part of helping to create a healthy and vibrant environment where developers and publishers, small and large, can both promote their services as well as benefit from the attention and usage their products attract. In our early days we were focused primarily on the mobile web, and gained immense satisfaction from each new business that our service made possible within the mobile browser.

Then came the iPhone. Suddenly, Apple solved so many problems that had plagued mobile for so long. They showed all of us the way forward and their efforts have led to a landslide of rapid improvements in our space. We were so excited by the promise the iPhone represented that we shifted a significant portion of our attention to that device in its very early days. We launched the first iPhone ad units focused on the web and quickly added the capability to run ads in applications. Now with the addition of excellent devices from Palm, Nokia, RIM, and plethora of Android powered smartphones, we have all the preconditions necessary for what will be a tidal wave of mobile browsing and app usage. But let there be no mistake. Our business, and the mobile industry in general, owes Apple a debt of gratitude.

We now operate in an environment that is much more advanced than the one we entered into a few years ago. There are literally hundreds of competitors, small and large, with different areas of focus and expertise. Lately, it seems that almost every week we hear about a new idea or company in the mobile advertising space. This has led to rapid innovation, and we’re excited about the positive attention this deal will bring to mobile advertising. We have no doubt this will bring even more players into the space and accelerate all the innovation that is already taking place.

There are so many people to thank for getting us to this point. We’ve benefited from the advice and support of the best investors and advisers in the world. We’ve had tremendous publishers, advertisers, and partners. We’re very excited by all the very real benefits this will bring for them. Our ads will become more relevant, our products more robust, and our monetization capabilities more significant. Most importantly, I’ve had the honor of working with a team of people that were all, top to bottom, completely committed to our mission. I’ve never in my career seen such dedication, excellence, and passion. This is a group that is smart, fun, and very focused on building and launching amazing products. We’ve been able to keep the bar so high that I often tell people that I’m very lucky to have founded the company in the first place, as I am fairly certain I wouldn’t have made it through the interviews. So let me be plain: None of this would have this happened without the team at AdMob, and I will be forever in their debt.

The best part of all this is what’s next. We are not going away. After our deal with Google closes, we will work together to accelerate the pace of innovation in this area. Our product and engineering teams will keep building great products for all of our customers. Our business development team will keep working to maximize ad revenue for the more than 15,000 mobile Web sites and applications that make up AdMob’s publisher network. Our sales teams will keep working with our thousands advertisers to deliver successful campaigns and our marketing group will keep pushing to get the word out about mobile. It’s just that now we will be able to do an even better job for all of our customers.

I have one important thank you left and it is for Google. We’ve been blown away by their entrepreneurial attitude, their speed, and their insight. My management team and I have been lucky enough to spend time with some key people at Google, and we’ve always walked away excited about our shared values and similar cultures. In all of our interactions we’ve felt their passion for innovation and new ideas. Obviously this transaction represents only a part of their overall interest in mobile but all of us at AdMob are looking forward to working with them to make sure that the future of mobile is no longer so far away.

Mobile industry’s two cents

With the deal sending shockwaves through the industry, many competing mobile ad networks and other players in the mobile ecosystem were eager to share their views about the potential impact of Google’s acquisition of AdMob.

Here is what they had to say:

Andy Miller, CEO of Quattro Wireless, Waltham, MA

I think it has a huge impact. We’ve been hearing rumblings, and I was hoping that it would be Google. It’s a huge validation point for the industry, as Google is the most sophisticated mobile player, and it wanted to accelerate on this with a mobile ad specialist like AdMob. Google said that the mobile Web is different and we need to accelerate in this space. It’s an exciting development for Quattro, as well.

Agencies are the ones putting it on the table in front of brands, and a lot them are partners with Google, so this further validates the space for them. It’s further justification to present mobile plans to their clients. This ups everyone’s ante. Hopefully we’ll lead the way with our targeting. It’s a pretty robust ecosystem of folks trying to move the market, and this will accelerate it and move it forward by years.

This is the first big domino to fall. When Google comes out and said mobile is different and we want to dominate it, people will take notice.

Paul Palmieri, president/CEO of Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD

What happened today is astounding. Google’s perspective has always been that mobile is just the Internet. Today Google validated what many companies including Millennial have thought for years—that mobile is a different market with a huge potential for advertising, possibly a bigger opportunity than online media. As the clear leader in mobile brand advertising, we are happy to see a player like Google bring economies of scale to the performance advertising space in mobile.

Millennial Media has generated our substantial lead in the market by focusing on the advertiser, delivering results, and has been rewarded with the largest reach of any media company large or small. Reaching 80 percent of the U.S. mobile audience, we look forward to working alongside the Google/AdMob pairing to fully realize the vast potential of the mobile advertising market. Congratulations to Google and to AdMob.

Paran Johar, New York-based chief marketing officer of Jumptap

The announcement is causing tremendous excitement as it validates the enormous potential of mobile advertising. We predicted consolidation in the industry and AdMob’s broad high-volume business model is highly synergistic for Google.

The industry frontrunner will be determined by who can deliver the most advanced targeting capabilities for better ROI for advertisers and publishers.

Patrick Moorhead, director of emerging media at Razorfish, Chicago

It’s obviously super-exciting—it’s obviously a landmark deal, not only the scale of it, but the fact that it’s Google. It’s a sign that mobile is no longer emerging media, because they bought scale, they bought the leader in the space. I’m a huge fan of those guys, we do a lot of business with them and with Google, and this is good news for everyone in the industry.

What it means for other ad networks is that there is a future for their business and it’s growing—a rising tide floats all boats. Other players shouldn’t be thinking ‘game over,’ they should be thinking ‘game on.’

If you take the model that happened with our company (see story), Google picked up DoubleClick and Microsoft picked up aQuantive, this signals that Google played their cards, bought a leader and, based on precedent, it won’t be long before Microsoft looks around and says ‘wow, we have to make a move.’

Brands are the only people who aren’t playing effectively in the mobile space, and this is a wake-up call to clients who says mobile is not a real opportunity, because it is. Google doesn’t get involved in anything it doesn’t think has scale.

Michael Chang, CEO of Greystripe, San Francisco

This is an unprecedented validation of mobile advertising and demonstrates the value of rapidly growing a mobile-only advertising platform.

It is also a clear sign that Google understands the value of the mobile channel and brought in a company that has created a mobile-specific solution. We congratulate all of our industry colleges over at AdMob on their hard work.

Gib Bassett, director of marketing at Interactive Mediums, Chicago

Upon hearing this news today, my initial reaction was ‘validation for mobile advertising,’ but definitely not ‘game over for ad networks as a competitive segment.’ Given the high valuation placed on AdMob, Google clearly sees what AdMob has created as very compelling and a strategic fit with its pre-existing ad program, AdSense.

I think the value of ads displayed in rich apps, such as ones served by AdMob, may have more value than AdWords served on search results pages and sites across the AdSense network, simply because an app user has so much more invested in the experience and therefore is paying a lot more attention to what’s being displayed for them.

I thought the news was especially interesting given recent word that AOL was likely exiting the mobile ad business despite a lot of investment and an acquisition [of Third Screen Media]. So although mobile advertising is a relatively new category, it’s matured a lot in a short period of time, having seen large efforts like AOL’s come and go, and a giant like Google coming in and making a statement like it has buying AdMob.

I’d also say that this is another indicator of the ‘mobile customer experience’ driving the smart moves in the industry. Google knows that to provide the best mobile ad offering, it needs to consider all the ways ads can be most effectively served to consumers on mobile devices—across mobile-optimized Web-search results through rich smartphone applications. They have done that exactly and now have a stronger offering which blends AdSense and AdMob.

For other ad networks, there is still room to move, but they need to more clearly differentiate their offerings. As the nature of the mobile channel continues to morph and lines among disconnected categories like SMS text messaging, the mobile Web and applications start to blur, there should still be room for other ad networks to come up with innovative ways of helping marketers connect with their customers in the most timely and relevant manner possible.

Gary Schwartz, president/CEO of Impact Mobile, New York

AdMob has done a tremendous job globally of positioning mobile as extension of the digital buy. Although display advertising on mobile is still relatively embryonic, digital standards bodies like the Interactive Advertising Bureau are actively positioning mobile as an extension of the more mature online cousin. There is no doubt that this Google deal will further legitimize the mobile display buy with brands and agencies.

Eric Harber, president and chief operating officer of HipCricket, Kirkland, WA

Given that Google is the buyer and the size of the deal is so large, this is certainly a milestone moment for mobile advertising and marketing. It provides additional validation to our firm belief and experience that mobile marketing has moved beyond the test phase and now has a seat at the table when the brand’s marketing mix is developed and dollars are allocated. However, mobile advertising isn’t an end-all solution for brand managers seeking to reach consumers via mobile. Oftentimes, SMS is the gateway to engagement because of its ability to reach the great majority of mobile subscribers who have text messaging capabilities on their devices. Calls-to-action and the resulting activity by consumers have proven to drive sales and give brands a valuable, permission-based ongoing relationship with consumers looking for ongoing information and offers. This personalized loyalty and relationship marketing aspect is uniquely driven via SMS mobile marketing and is growing in importance.

Dave Gwozdz, CEO of Mojiva, New York

The news that Google acquired mobile advertising player AdMob for $750 million confirms the legitimacy of the mobile advertising industry, and overcomes any skepticism of whether small screens can offer big opportunities to reach mobile consumers.

The fact that Google has placed a premium on owning a mobile ad network is very notable. The market has definitely matured to the point where it makes sense for online behemoths to try to combine networks, analytics and delivery technologies in the hopes of capturing a share of this growing market.

Zohar Levkovitz, CEO of Amobee, Redwood City, CA

The recent marriage between Google and AdMob is a clear indicator that the mobile advertising industry has a bright future. Industry innovation will also stand to benefit from Google entering the competitive mix.

However, Google’s recent financial commitment also signals to operators developing their own mobile advertising offerings that there is no time for complacency. While operators still own the mobile market in terms of reach and the subscriber in terms of trust, billing relationships, user demographics and targeting information, it is undeniable that Google’s recent acquisition is a game-changer.

Nevertheless, there are still challenges to overcome and fragmentation continues to be a stumbling block. In order for mobile advertising to have a strong, viable future, we believe that the solution must be more centralized around the unbeatable assets of the mobile operators. Major brands and media buyers want a one-stop shop solution and access to the operator’s premium inventory. An operator-centric approach will play a key role in making this possible and further accelerate adoption.

Ken Willner, CEO of Zumobi, Seattle

AdMob is a Zumobi partner and this is a great validation of the potential of the mobile advertising space.

Zaw Thet, CEO of 4Info, San Mateo, CA

Beyond our obvious joy for Omar, Tony [Nethercutt, vice president of sales at AdMob], Jason [Spero, vice president of marketing at AdMob] and all our friends at AdMob, there’s much more to this story, such as:

  • Thus far, nobody has talked about what this means for Android/Droid – and whether this will hurt iPhone developers and/or help other mobile ad networks as Google influences AdMob to spend more time on Android.
  • We believe this is great news for the mobile industry as it indicates the momentum and growth we’ve experienced over the past two years. That said, the rumor we’ve heard has Apple also bidding for the business – maybe one reason the price was so good.
  • Lastly, we want to clear something up. It has been pointed out that 4Info’s primary short code [44636] is featured in the SMS ads picture on Google’s announcement page – this does not imply any kind of special relationship with Google or AdMob. We do work with both companies, but it does reinforce that SMS is a critical part of the industry, and that no mobile marketing/advertising program is complete without SMS. We also believe it speaks to our leadership position in the SMS space.

Susan Marshall, vice president of marketing at ChaCha Mobile, Indianapolis, IN

We think the acquisition validates the claim that we have all been saying: There is enormous opportunity in mobile advertising and we have just begun to see what’s possible.

There is plenty of room for innovation and competition in the mobile advertising space. Interestingly, AdMob only works well on less than 17 percent of the phones out there, including iPhones and BlackBerrys. So, there is big upside. SMS works on all phones, i.e. the overwhelming majority of 83 percent of the other phones out there.

In the end, it’s all about what the brand is trying to achieve with mobile advertising. We believe in a multichannel approach. Web, SMS and display make the most sense, with a heavy emphasis on conversational SMS when you are trying to reach youth.

Alec S. Andronikov, CEO of MoVoxx Inc., Los Angeles

I actually still think that when we come to mobile advertising, the industry is just starting to cross the “chasm” (per Geoff Moore’s analogy) between early adopters and not yet adopted by the early majority of advertisers. This acquisition allows AdMob to get into the “early majority” because of Google’s ad relationships.

I think it could potentially start what I call a second round of mobile “musical chairs,” as other big guys are going to start looking for acquisitions that give them similar capabilities but are cheaper plays, as not a lot of folks out there have nine figures to spend on mobile acquisitions.

Staff Reporter Dan Butcher covers ad networks, banking and payments, carrier networks, manufacturers, and software and technology Reach him at dan@mobilemarketer.com.

Mogreet Debuts First-Ever Mobile Video Marketing Platform Across All Top U.S. Carriers November 4, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Hundreds of Millions of Americans Can Now Receive Targeted Mogreet Video MMS Messages From Marketers On Everyday Flip Phones or the Latest Smartphones, Including iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre

By: PR Newswire Nov. 4, 2009

Mogreet, the company behind the world’s first mobile video messaging platform, today announced the debut of its game-changing mobile marketing solution, the Mogreet Mobile Video Marketing Platform. Mogreet’s platform can deliver short format videos to more than 200 million U.S. mobile devices, while measuring the effectiveness and ROI of each campaign in real-time.

Mogreet clients routinely experience open rates, video views and click-through rates 15 to 25 times higher than other forms of advertising media. And by virtue of the fact that mobile customers react to text messages in 20 seconds on average — versus hours or days for email — brands see results almost instantly. Marketers also benefit from the inherent virality of Mogreet Mobile Video Marketing, as mobile messages can simply and easily be shared amongst friends, which can result in 5 to 10 times additional reach.

“It’s 1993 all over again … only this time, rather than email, the race is on to harness mobile to build a direct relationship with the end consumer,” commented James Citron, CEO, Mogreet. “The ability to deliver your message in video to just about every mobile phone in the U.S., and not just smart phones with Internet plans, means marketers are not forced to sacrifice reach when they add mobile to their marketing mix.”

“Over 150 million U.S. consumers do not own a smartphone, and most have never seen a video on their mobile phone. With Mogreet, we have designed a way to reach these consumers and enable brands to communicate in rich, engaging media, creating an iPhone-like experience across all major cell networks and phones, ” explained Jay Goss, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Mogreet.

Mogreet is expanding marketers’ reach by harnessing the power of over four-billion text messages sent each day in the United States from consumers of all ages, including adults 35-44 who now send more texts than place calls. Mogreet’s platform has been utilized by leading brands in numerous verticals from hospitality — including the launch of a sixty-property line of hip hotels — to apparel, retail and entertainment, with four #1 box office film releases.