Yahoo is about to try the only type of mobile advertising that has even close to caught on–text messages. The WSJ reports the company is set to announce a partnership with Silicon Valley startup 4INFO, which will provide technology for Yahoo (YHOO) to send content to mobile phones via text, advertising included.
Yahoo will be able to sell advertising on its text messages–such as news, horoscopes, sports scores and weather forecasts–or 4INFO will sell them via its own mobile ad network. The revenue is split 60-40 with the majority going to whoever made the sale.
There are limitations: of the 160 characters allowed in a text message, 40 are reserved for the ad message attached. Nevertheless, ad execs tell the Journal that click-through rates on mobile text ads, still a novelty in the U.S., are generally higher than banner ads–between 1% and 10%.
More importantly, ads are the only type of mobile advertising producing meaningful revenue: ads via text message accounts for 88% of $1.7 billon that will be spent on mobile ads in 2008, according to eMarketer.