In the simplest of terms, mobile marketing is all about communicating and engaging with the consumer through mobile devices such as mobile phones. Some examples of mobile marketing vehicles are short message services (SMS), multimedia messaging service (MMS), unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), mobile internet, and mobile applications.
Short Message Service (SMS)
SMS, also known as text messaging, which first came out in the early 90s, continues to be one of the most popular mobile marketing vehicles. There are forecasts indicating that it will remain to be so for many more years into the future.
Although the majority of text messages are transmitted person-to-person, more and more Americans are using SMS to interact with brands. We see a growing number of people using SMS to interact with TV shows (like voting on “American Idol”, joining trivia contests about program content, and getting program alerts). We also see people participating in on-pack promotions (e.g., texting codes found on product packages for a chance to win an instant prize). There are also the mobile coupons which drive buyers to retail outlets (like discount vouchers for Dunkin Donuts Lattes and EA games) and so on.
Text messaging is to the mobile world as the email is to the Internetâ€”just without the graphics. It is a great potential for local business also to promote own brand and to build relationship with clients in limited budget.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
MMS, also known as picture messaging, which functions quite similar to SMS. The nice thing about MMS is that it supports images, animation, video, and audio, and that enables marketers to push rich media ads to consumers. Additionally, MMS is interactive in a way similar to SMS that it enables recipients to respond to messages and engage with brands.
While MMS has a smaller reach than what SMS has, promotional MMS is more capable in terms of activating consumers. The ROI (return of investment) on MMS is quite compelling–five percent is actually considered a low response rate to an MMS campaign. There are evidences of conversion rates of over 20 percent on well targeted MMS programs.
Just like the banner ads in many web pages, marketers are placing banner ads on mobile contents. There is a big trend for mobile internet usage although it only took about 7% usage rate for Canadian mobile users in 2008 (according to Canada Mobile Association), and there were 54.5 million mobile internet users in the US in early 2009, representing 25% of online users.
One of the greatest benefits of mobile display advertising is that it provides a richer palette for brand advertising (albeit a smaller one), while avoiding the need for opt-ins or consumer-initiated reply messages.
The popularity of mobile application is up since the mobile app download is expected to exceed 4.5 billion in 2010, and will grow to 21 billion by 2013. Many free applications derive their revenue from advertising. This is typically done with banners as well as full page advertising (e.g., between game levels).
Cellular phones have evolved over recent years to the point where they perform a wide variety of functions that were traditionally only available though stand-alone devices or services, such as digital camera, MP3 player, video camera and so on. People could go everywhere with just a mobile phone to do things they now do with computers. The future online marketing success will largely rely on how successful the mobile marketing will be.