Tactics, Not Technology, The Key To Mobile Ads

Text-message advertising, while a potential pain in the neck, is working, The New York Times reports. Outdoor gear retailer Moosejaw, for example, says that 66% of recipients — established customers — responded to one cheeky ad sent to them via mobile phone text message. That’s great news for Moosejaw and other consumer-facing companies, which have been trying to figure out how to effectively use mobile phones for marketing. And it’s even better news for mobile-specific ad agencies and wireless carriers, which are looking to boost mobile-data and advertising revenue to make up for falling mobile phone-call revenue. Consider that customers actually paid to read that ad — either about 30 cents to send and receive two messages, or two credits against their text-message plan. Market research firm ABI Research projects that the mobile ad market will be worth about $3 billion by the end of this year, soaring to $19 billion by 2011.

Moosejaw’s success also helps debunk the idea that mobile phone technology is getting in the way of mobile advertising. True, most mobile phones can’t handle the kind of interactive, multimedia ads that appear on the Web. So what? Google turned dinky text ads into a massive industry — and most any phone can handle a text message.

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