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Mobile advertising to increase this year

The BuzzCity mobile advertising network has delivered 70% more ads in 2010 than it did all of 2009. End-user demands for online content are fuelling this with Opera recently reporting that October was a record month for global mobile data traffic and Gartner forecasting earlier last year that by 2013 cellphones will be the most common device to access the internet.

2010 has been an interesting year. Despite the unpredictable and often sluggish general economic growth during the year, we have seen quite a different picture when it comes to mobile advertising and marketing, says KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity.

The BuzzCity mobile advertising network has already delivered 70% more ads in 2010 than it did all of 2009. End-user demand for consuming online content is fuelling this with Opera recently reporting that October was a record month for global mobile data traffic and Gartner forecasting earlier in the year that by 2013 cellphoneswill be the most common device to access the internet.

So what does 2011 hold for mobile marketing? I see it as falling into key areas:

1. Marketing budgets will continue to shift towards digital. o This makes sense as the audience on mobile continues to grow as handsets get better and cheaper, and data rates continue to fall

o Mobile will get a bigger slice of digital spend, particularly in emerging markets where mobile is the more common form of online

access due to infrastructure and cost reasons, as well as amongst niche communities. o There will be an increase in brands and agencies using more mobile tools – SMS, mobile display ads, applications, in-game ads,

search and location-based services- to enable them to engage with their target audiences for branding, customer acquisition and retention efforts. o But clients remain price sensitive and the era of experimentation in mobile is over. 2011 will be the year when it’s time to decide on a clear strategy for mobile marketing. It will be critical for brands to ensure that mobile is fully integrated into their businesses ‚ a traditional web presence is simply not enough anymore. Plus agencies need to work closely with the brand’s product development team to define the role of mobile, e.g. will it be an app, a site etc?

2. Mobile content: discovery and distribution o Moving on from the early years of mobile marketing, the ground rules for mobile content have now been established and mobile specific content (not just ringtones) is now being created, for example the New York Times on mobile is radically different from its web version. o With the increase of smartphones and feature phones in the marketplace, more retail players will take to mobile, deploying more product info, but discovery continues to be a challenge (see the need for a clear strategy). o There will need to be strong retail partnerships offline to support mobile commerce and QR bar codes will help to improve discovery for many. An example is Sears Holdings Corp which is using multiple mobile channels, from commerce-enabled mobile Web sites and applications to QR codes, to enhance its multichannel holiday marketing strategy and drive sales. o Free & freemium applications and games will take centre stage particularly on operator portals as this boosts their earnings from data charges.

3. Phones will come into their own when it comes to banking and commerce The retail and entertainment sectors are leading the way with mobile payments ‚ and we are seeing innovative payment methods being deployed where most least expect them. Some examples in African countries include: o After successfully launching broadcast mobile TV services in Namibia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria in 2008, MultiChoice, through its mobile division DStv Mobile, launched the service recently in November in South Africa for selected Nokia handset models o Prezence Digital created a commerce-enabled mobi site using extensive Handset Content Adaptation (HCA), which is a one stop mobile destination where consumers can browse, book and pay for tickets to their favourite events. o Retail outlets such as Spar sent out text based mobile vouchers for all handsets across all carriers for selected FMCG products with discounts of up to 30%. o Bank-led MVNOs, such as First National Bank (FNB) in South Africa will sign on more merchant partners as more retail players take up-mobile strategies.

From the examples above, we can safely say that during 2011 and beyond mobile phones will continue as a dominant force in socio economic development and organizations will carry on using mobile and m-commerce to drive reservations, to promote events, and to increase general awareness of their destinations and venues.

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