Let's talk statistics. Did you know that out of all the people who see a billboard advertisement only three percent will be affected enough by it to buy the product? Amazing isn't it, all that money spent on advertising and only three people out of every hundred are affected. The number is a little higher when you go on the web though. Bearing in mind that I don't have current statistics in front of me, for every hundred people that see an advert on a website about eighteen people will click it to see what the deal is. Want to know what form of advertising has the highest response from consumers? Go on, have a look at the blog theme and the tag here and take a guess. Mobile ads are the way to go if you want the highest return for your investment, with an average of seventy-five percent of consumers responding to adverts that appear on their phone screens.
Opera have been a driving force in mobile browsing for a good few years now, where other browser companies have gone on record as stating that no-one wants to use a phone to browse (yeah, fuck you too Mozilla) before changing their tunes more recently. Now it seems that Opera share part of my vision for the future of mobile. Appearing on my feeds recently was a news story about Opera shelling out an estimated five million Euros to buy AdMarvel.
AdMarvel work to bring mobile publishers, developers, network carriers, advertising networks and agencies, and advertisers together to optimise the mobile advertising process. Chances are that any mobile advert you've seen since 2006, whether it's on a mobile web site, in an application, or through a message, is one of theirs. The joining of these two companies means one thing for users of Opera's mobile browsers – targetted adverts paying for their development.
Makes you think doesn't it. All those gigantic billboards advertising body sprays that magically make the opposite sex willing to do illegal things with custard are nowhere near as effective as a short message appearing on our phones telling us to try a new product. A lot of this is down to over saturation of billboards (they appear everywhere so we just don't see them anymore) but some is due to how we've come to view our phones. They've been so much more than a way to talk to people for so long now, with each increase in functionality making us rely on them more and more. We've started to trust our phones like friends, relying on them to wake us early, capture moments to share with others, remind us of birthdays (I swear I'd forget my own birthday if it wasn't in my phone), play music, watch videos, browse the web. We rely on our phones, we trust our phones, and subconsciously we value their opinions. So when our phone recommends a new drink to us we treat it like any recommendation from someone we trust that much, and make a mental note to try that product out. It's a little sad when you think about it that way.
Mobile advertising has been around for years of course, with shops delivering offers via bluetooth (something that never really took off) but more recently it's started to be included as an option in packages from the networks. They'll give you free credit to your account if you consent to receive adverts on your phone that are tailored to your needs. Usually this means MMS and SMS spam messages, but a few businesses have been building applications that put the advert directly on the front screen of your phone. I believe that this is the future of the mobile network as we advance into the fourth generation of mobile technology. During this generation everything sent and received over the network will be data based, with no more seperate voice communication network running behind the scenes. As the networks enter into battle for customers they will have to start adopting different strategies to keep costs low for their customers (such as a flat rate service fee to allow voice calls instead of charging by the minute) which will cut into their profits. In order to keep their income on the rise they'll need new ways to get money that doesn't come from their customer, and subsidising their contracts and pre-pay options via advertising is one of the best ways to do this. So we find cheaper deals coming in from the networks and deals provided by advertisers appearing on the frontscreens of our phones, with an option to ignore advertisers we're not interested in and save vouchers for later use. Win win for us, win for the networks who'll get a set income from advertisers, win for the advertisers who'll get their adverts and offers sent directly to people interested in them.
This is my prediction for part of the future of mobile payment options.