If you think social media is hot right now, wait until mobile media gets into full swing early next year. We're already starting to see iPhone, Android and iPad applications swamp the mobile platform, but that's just the beginning. The full-blown mobile media onslaught will start in earnest early in 2011. (Remember, you heard it here first.)
Given all that, I decided to do a little research into mobile media - how it's used, where it's been and where it's headed. Two great resources on this front are the Mobile Marketing Association and MarketingProfs.com, both of which have a lot of great articles and posts.
Here's what I found when I did my research:
How do people use Mobile Media? According to the Mobile Marketing Association, there are 12 different ways people use mobile media:
• Click to call: Users place an outgoing call to the content provider or advertiser
• Click to locate: Users find the closest business enabled by location-based services
• Click to order brochure: Users receive marketing materials by supplying their postal addresses
• Click to enter competition: Users text to enter sweepstakes to win prizes
• Click to receive email: Users receive an email and a link to online site by supplying their email addresses
• Click to receive mobile coupon: Users receive an electronic coupon on their mobile phone that can be redeemed immediately at a participating merchant
• Click to buy: Users make a purchase paid for with a credit card, added to their monthly mobile bill or using some other form of mobile payment
• Click to download content: Users download content, including logos, wallpapers or ring tones, onto their mobile phones
• Click to enter branded mobile web site: Users click a banner to get connected to standing or campaign-specific mobile website
• Click to forward content: Users forward relevant content to friends, creating a viral campaign effect
• Click to video: Users click a banner to view an advertiser's commercial for a product or service
• Click to vote: Users reply message ballot or poll from their mobile phone and provide marketers and brands with valuable research insights
What are the primary mobile marketing tools? MarketingProfs broke them down into several different categories.
• SMS (Short Message Service): Nielsen estimates that SMS is the most common phone-based activity among U.S. cell phone users of all ages. That said, in the 60 Second Marketer's humble opinion, SMS is the equivalent of MobileMedia 1.0. I mean really, when was the last time you actually participated in an SMS marketing message, about 2005?
• Mobile Websites: The most sophisticated marketers have a sub-domain set up specifically for mobile phones. So, for example, when you type www.ESPN.com into your smart phone, the ESPN site actually figures out that you're visiting the site from a mobile device and re-directs you to a sub-domain (e.g., m.www.ESPN.com). That way, your experience from a mobile phone is different from your experience at your computer. The trick here is to be sure you create a mobile site that a) loads quickly, and b) provides a streamlined experience.
• Mobile Ads: Research from InsightExpress indicates that mobile ads perform about five times better than internet ad placements. The most common mobile ads are simple text links and graphical banner and display ads. Banner and display ads are sold on both a CPC and CPM basis. Remember, there are about 5,000 different types of mobile handsets available, so no one banner size is optimal for all.
• Bluetooth Marketing: This is a form of on-demand mobile marketing that targets users based on precise geographical location. So, for example, if you're standing in front of Joe's Pizza, you might receive a free coupon, wallpaper, ringtone, video or audio file if you're standing within 100 feet of their store. Many vendors allow companies to track responses in real time, too. All that sounds pretty cool to us.
• Smartphone Apps: The primary smartphone platforms include iOS, Android, Palm and BlackBerry. The best way to use apps for marketing is to create something that's either functional (e.g., a calculator), entertaining (e.g., a game) or provides some sort of social connectivity (e.g., an app just for your community). Apple keeps 30% of all revenues associated with selling downloads through iTunes, so keep that in mind during development. Android's open source model is a little easier to implement, but is slightly more difficult to market and deliver. BlackBerry is becoming more competitive, especially with the launch of its App World store.
• QR and 2D Codes: These are the barcode-like squares that are starting to pop up on posters, print ads and other forms of media. They're terrific tools that can be used to drive people to your website or to enhance the user's experience. By snapping a photograph of the code with your smart phone, you'll be able to download additional information, MP3s or other content. These are cropping up everywhere, so keep an eye out for them.
The Bottom Line:
There's a marketing revolution going on and it revolves around media. For the next several years, technology will continue to provide new and fascinating media channels for brands to connect with customers and prospects.
Over time, the revolution will move away from new media channels and towards the creativity behind the message. In other words, as smartphone apps lose the "aha" factor, marketers will be pressed to find new and innovative ways to use these channels in an engaging fashion.
Posted by Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response.