Mobile advertising: It’s time for operators to take control

I don’t need to tell you that mobile advertising presents a huge opportunity for brands, marketers and much of the mobile ecosystem. But it’s an opportunity that mobile operators aren’t yet taking advantage of as fully as they could be. I recently spoke to Noam Green from Mobixell about how operators can benefit from keeping advertising in-house and Noam gave us his thoughts in this opinion piece below.

Over to Noam:

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Mobile devices are the ideal advertising tools – they’re always on and always on hand, paired with a uniquely targetable individual. What’s more, mobile advertising can encompass all other ad media – text, images, audio, video, Web banners and interactive formats. So how do mobile operators make the most of this opportunity – how can they go about turning it into a viable commercial reality, and one that allows them to develop a personalised line of communication with their subscribers without losing control of their valuable customer data?

We know that if ad inventory placement were to shift from demographic targeting to individual targeting, the value of each ad would increase significantly. That translates into higher revenue potential for operators. When operators control the ad planning, delivery and billing functions, they get to keep a larger chunk of that increased ad revenue.

Operators invest a lot in collecting all sorts of information about individual subscribers. In fact, mobile operators can potentially know far more about their subscribers’ lifestyles than search engines and other ad revenue generators. But sharing subscriber data with ad networks means giving up control. When operators give away control of their data they lose potential revenue.

Over the last few months, we at Mobixell have seen an increasing number of operators wanting to leverage their unique subscriber knowledge to generate increased advertising revenue. But most of the options require them to give up subscriber profiles to ad network planners to target ad placement for maximum value.

On the other hand, an operator-controlled mobile advertising platform enables operators to avoid sharing subscriber data with ad networks, keeping subscriber data in-house and retaining control of the customer experience. By understanding the value of their customers whilst keeping their information private and proprietary, operators can protect the customer and increase the accuracy of ad targeting thanks to the wealth of data they hold, which in turn increases the value of each ad.

A multi-channel, media-rich advertising platform enables operators to deliver the best, most appropriate creative for every advertising scenario over a variety of channels including mobile apps, browsers, SMS, pre-roll video and more. Mobile-unique behavioural and contextual targeting enables operators to gather, quantify and analyse behavioural information which can then be applied to make complex real-time targeting decisions.

Let’s look at how this works with a mobile ad for happy hour at a local pub.

Recently, let’s say you’ve clicked on a promotion for a certain brand of vodka. Now, when you show the promo code in a participating pub, you get a deal on your first drink with that vodka: branded as a gift from your operator, of course. Because the operator also knows your age range, it might suggest a pub or a drink that fits your lifestyle. This type of individual, as opposed to purely demographic targeting increases the value, and therefore the potential revenue of each served ad. It also can help mobile operators build stronger relationships with subscribers who see ads as more useful and less invasive and irrelevant.

The mobile ad inventory controlled by the operator can be used to create adverts which are targeted accurately and offer value to the subscriber, not spam. In the happy hour example, the promo could even be integrated with a flirting app to offer half-price drinks if you buy another for your ‘date’ (but remember to drink and flirt responsibly).

A mobile advertising platform also allows optimised, high quality, multimedia ads to be loaded and approved by the operator and served or pushed to multiple delivery channels selected as part of the campaign. The operator can manage the entire advertising experience, from profiling and targeting to ad-placement decisions and revenue collection. Because every single stage of the process is supported, from ad management, targeting and profiling to viral analysis, data gathering and server requirements, operators can ‘go the whole hog’ and maximise their mobile advertising offering.

Customers benefit too, because operators understand their subscriber information and can shape and control their experience to give them better value by focusing on the things they actually want. Optimised, high quality ads can be delivered directly to those who are most likely to respond and purchase. Thanks to the user visibility that subscriber data enables, a mobile operator knows its customers better than anyone, even more so than search engines like Google and Bing. Operators can go one better than search engines by analysing their users’ mobile lifestyle to deliver a truly personalised service that responds to what users actually want or are searching for, rather than bombarding them with annoying, irrelevant advertising.

By managing the mobile advertising platform, operators can keep control of the advertising lifecycle and their hard-earned subscriber data. They can develop a new revenue-sharing stream and as a result, better engage their customers with relevant and targeted messaging. As mobile advertising takes off, operators need to ensure that they are playing a vital role in this lifecycle from the start, in order to establish an ongoing and mutually beneficial partnership between themselves and their customers.

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Thanks for taking the time Noam!

[If you’d like to submit an opinion piece such as this, please just drop me a note.]

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2 Responses to Mobile advertising: It’s time for operators to take control

  1. Sarah August 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    And enter Ovivo Mobile, the ad funded MVNO!!

  2. Ewan August 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    Interesting….

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