DMA Study on Mobile Marketing Presents Mixed Picture

The Direct Marketing Association just published a report on mobile marketing and consumer attitudes (n=800) that is very detailed and interesting. Overall it presents a mixed picture for mobile marketers. It profiles "responders" and "non-responders" by age, income, ethnic group and device. It also discusses the most successful channels within mobile.

The profile of those most likely to respond to mobile marketing is as follows:

  • Males 15-30
  • Heads of larger households
  • Those with incomes over $60,000
  • Data plan subscribers

In addition, as you might expect, smartphone owners were more likely to respond to mobile marketing. However, there was also considerable hostility to mobile marketing, expressed among respondents generally:

  • Only 7% of respondents expressed interest in receiving marketing messages on their phones
  • 67% supported a "do not message" registry and 70% wanted a do not call registry for mobile (it exists)
  • 60% said text ads on their mobile phones were "annoying"

Despite the above, 24% of the overall sample had responded to some form of mobile marketing. But 45% of those who received but didn't respond to mobile marketing or offers said that it was because the content or subject of the offer wasn't interesting to them. Concern over cost and airtime charges was another factor among those not respond.

Effectiveness:

  • Text messaging was the most effective of mobile marketing strategies. Among those responding to mobile ads, 70% responded to text ads and 41% responded to polls/surveys (which can also be SMS based).
  • Mobile Web, email and coupons had lower response rates according to the survey
  • Yet mobile coupons elicited the highest interest among the responder population (16%) in terms of future offers, followed by mobile text ads (14%).

Another interesting aspect of the survey was a traffic ranking of mobile sites:
mobile websites

Nielsen also found Yahoo Mail was the largest mobile destination:

Top mobile sites Nielsen

While the study has some holes -- there's no discussion of mobile search at all -- it's quite extensive and interesting. It presents a picture of a medium that must use best practices around opt-in and permission to elicit the highest response. It also presents a medium (among responders) that is not representative of the population at large and skews younger and male, although is relatively affluent.

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By contrast, this EU survey found a very high degree of willingness to watch mobile video pre-roll in exchange for "free content." The results can't be entirely accurate, although there's limited information about the survey in the article.

Bango: Uniques Most Important Metric

As part of PR associated with enhancements to Bango's mobile analytics suite the company conducted a survey of 550 mobile publishers about the metrics most important to them. The company asked the question: “Which of the following mobile web metrics are important to you?"Here was the hierarchy of responses:

  • The daily/weekly/monthly number of unique visitors to your mobile website - 80%
  • Conversion rates/effectiveness of mobile marketing - 71%
  • New/repeat visitors - 58%
  • Information about the handsets your visitors use - 54%
  • Location - 50%
  • The mobile networks used by visitors to your mobile website - 41%

Bango provides only country level information for location. Mobile marketing is generally unsophisticated at this stage and so these metrics just seek to validate the medium in terms of reach and response (clicks essentially).

Over time everything will become more "granular" and nuanced. But for now it's really a matter of proving basic value to marketers and publishers.

CallGenie in Ads Deal with Broadcaster Media

Broadcaster Media began life not long ago as a mobile website authoring tool/platform. Now it offers a range of mobile services directed toward "brands." Among them is Wireant, which is a tool -- kind of a container -- that enables marketers (or users) to create mobile content/applications. It will launch later this summer.

CallGenie will be supporting Wireant with services and advertising in a partnership announced this morning:

As part of the relationship, Call Genie will serve as an SMS delivery house and ad network partner and provide Broadcaster Media with an integrated ad platform that will access and deliver relevant, targeted text, banner and audio advertisements for presentment in their WireAnt desktop application as well as within SMS messages and on mobile web pages. . .

Broadcaster Media's WireAnt, is a desktop application that allows consumers to quickly create and distribute mobile content to their friends. This content can be sent using SMS, with embedded mobile web links. Call Genie will provide the SMS text messaging capability through its OpenMobile product as well as provide relevant banner ads to the desktop application and text ads when SMS messages are sent from the desktop to a WireAnt user's friend.

CallGenie is thus positioning itself as a one-stop shop for mobile advertising and services, as showcased by the range of offerings being utilized by Broadcaster Media.

Qik Now in Public Beta, on iPhone

I had read about Qik a number of times, but first saw the service in action a couple of weeks ago when I moderated a panel on new mobile startups at the offices of France Telecom/Orange in South San Francisco. It was an impressive service and dead simple. Today, the service goes from "private beta" into "public beta."

Qik permits live video streaming in real-time (or near real-time). Clips are achieved and can be shared or embedded in third-party sites. There's also a social networking dimension to Qik. Now the service is on the iPhone too. (At the Orange event, Qik was one of two services that did not use the iPhone for demo purposes.)

The use cases for Qik are many and varied and there are lots of B2B scenarios. Think also: news, travel, events and so on. The simplicity of the service all but guarantees its success. But quality will need to improve for more "professional" uses.

Audacious TechCrunch Tablet Project

TechCrunch -- that's right the blog -- has decided to build a WiFi-enabled, touch-screen, open-source Internet tablet, aiming for a price of $200.

TechCrunch tablet

Image credit: TechCrunch

If they can build a product at that price it may actually come into being as a mass-market device (PC makers fear such devices). I've written again and again about a scenario in which we carry a "phone phone" that does voice very well and a larger screen device for mobile Internet browsing. This TechCrunch initiative further convinces me that that scenario will come to pass -- it's only a matter of time.

The real question is not the hardware but the connectivity issue: will there be enough coverage to drive such a product to mass-market status? If, for example, Clearwire/Xohm takes off and/or LTE takes flight and is available to the public at reasonable rates, these sorts of devices will proliferate. Kindle is the early model.

As TechCrunch points out, the form factor is somewhere between the current iPhone and a laptop. The next-generation OLPC is another such device. I'd love to see TechCrunch succeed in this intiative, especially at the desired price-point.

Opera Releases New Mobile Browser

Opera has released a free new version (9.5) of its full mobile browser, as opposed to the Opera Mini. I downloaded it and am so far impressed with its speed and usability. It offers tabbed browsing, like on the desktop.

http://www.opera.com/img/press/reviews/Screen03.png

Now you've got both Opera and Skyfire (Safari on the iPhone and soon Mozilla) going head-to-head with features in a bid to bring "the real Internet" to mobile devices.

Zumobi Launches for Blackberry

Zumobi has launched its widget-based application for Blackberry. Conceptually similar to Where or the iPhone, the app provides distribution for a range of content partners (via "Tiles") on an customizable interface. Those partners include NPR, AP, Twitter, Facebook and a range of others. In addition, the widget format offers a range of interesting brand and merchant promotional opportunities.

Zumobi interface

Where just launched a successful application for the iPhone that incorporates its content partners, who in many cases (i.e., Yelp, Eventful) have their own independent iPhone apps. A Where executive told me yesterday that the people seem to be responding to the convenience of having lots of content (local metasearch) in a single iPhone application.

Zumobi should thus follow in Where's footsteps, if it isn't already.

Blackberry benefits from having the largest U.S. smartphone market share, but it doesn't have the developer or applications ecosystem (yet) to rival the iPhone. Here's a side-by-side comparison between the iPhone 3G and Blackberry Bold.

Google Introduces Mobile Reviews

Google some time ago introduced the ability for Maps users to write their own ratings directly on Google (as opposed to simply seeing aggregated ratings from third parties). The company is now enabling users to write reviews of restaurants from a mobile browser.

Once the desired restaurant is located users navigate to the "sign in and write a review link" (which appears further down from the listing on the details page):

Mobile reviews on Google

Mobile reviews on Google

Star ratings are provided via a pull-down menu and then people have the option to include a narrative. Presumably these ratings would also be incorporated into Google Maps on the desktop.

One might think mobile reviews would be inhibited by the "form factor" and resistance to typing on a mobile keyboard. However, Google's emphasis on stars (with optional narrative) makes it quite easy to complete a review in a few seconds. Notwithstanding the fact that it's a little buried, this capability should generate lots of additional reviews content for Google. People will likely do this while they're in the restaurant or just after they've left.

I would also guess that these star ratings will eventually make it into Goog411 as well ("sort by rating").

Avot Mobile Video Survey Findings

Avot Media conducted an online consumer mobile video survey (sample size not specified). According to the press materials "Survey takers were asked to test-drive Avot Medias mobile video delivery service. After watching a video they answered 10 short questions about the overall experience."

It's not at all clear how well these findings can be generalized beyond the respondents themselves. But there's clearly a "half empty" or "half full" story to tell from the results. Avot tells the half full story.

Here are some of the findings (for those 29 and younger):

  • 32% would watch American Idol performances
  • 36% would view movie trailers
  • 31% would access instructional 'how to' videos

On the half empty side, depending on your perspective, the following respondent percentages expressed "concerns" about:

  • 32% image quality
  • 33% download time
  • 33% freezing/stuttering

Without specifying any numbers the release also says: "The study uncovers users' concerns and interests regarding mobile media quality, start-up time, costs, and content choice."

Mobile video still has a long way to go (mobile TV in particular). But I must clarify my remarks about the recent Nielsen Mobile study about video viewing. I was told that the 3+ hours of mobile video included downloads/sideloads (not just TV subs) and was a median number not an average.

VirginMobile in Upbeat Media Profile

Though it's tiny, USAToday presents a mostly upbeat profile of VirginMobile, which recently bought Helio's business for roughly $39 million in equity. The company has some innovative marketing and retention programs and is focused squarely on the youth market.

Here's an interesting tidbit in the USAToday piece about the company's ad subsidized minutes/texts program "SugarMama":

Its "Sugar Mama" service, aimed at fusing ads into the mobile experience, rewards customers — with wireless minutes — for watching ads. So far, about 750,000 customers have signed up, earning 23 million minutes overall. (Customers are limited to 75 free minutes a month.)

Blyk in the UK reports phenomenal success with its program, which is more central to the overall value proposition.