Monday, August 04, 2008



Let’s all hail to the mobile phone as the next advertising’s promised land!

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." --Winston Churchill

The more time we spend focused on the inner workings of the advertising industry, the more we believe we'll see more change than is commonly thought. Churchill spoke with great hope for the emerging world order of his day in the above quote. Yet I believe what we're doing today is just the beginning of the beginning for digital advertising.

I say "digital" instead of "online" advertising because people equate "online" (rightly or wrongly) with the Web. We're about to see a media explosion, a seismic shift in the way we deliver all existing media (TV, radio, outdoor, and, yes, even print). As all media are delivered via IP, we'll begin applying all the knowledge learned over the past few years in online advertising to the emerging digital advertising landscape. All media are headed this way, albeit some sooner than others, TV and radio, are headed there first.

TV will be delivered in an increasingly non-linear fashion until eventually no linear content broadcasts remain. TiVo and other DVRs are just a simple bridging technology. They allow viewers to break an unfortunate model they simply don't prefer and slice linear broadcast media into chunks that are time-shifted to correspond with their own schedules.

Revolution Without Victim
Recently, we have to face the reality that the mobile phones are fast becoming ubiquitous. Over 3 billion mobile phones are used worldwide and it has greater penetration than television or home Internet cable. All of a sudden, it replaced the dog’s role as a man’s best friend. Now, mobile phone is a very personal possession. People are actually carrying their social lives in their cell-phone, and regard them as extensions of themselves.

Furthermore, the development of 3G technologies from mobile communications in the past 3 years has given us an entirely new way to communicate with others. In fact, it changes the realm of our communication in a sci-fi alike way. It’s not merely the wireless voice telephony and video call, but broadband wireless data in mobile environment as well. 3G technologies enable network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services while achieving greater network capacity through improved spectral efficiency. Now, Mobile devices can deliver the convergence of video, data and audio and serving as mobile TVs. So we can change our methods of accessing the world - sending and receiving codes.

Yes, we'll still see live events broadcast as they happen. News will have to cover events in real time (maybe more so, in many cases, to compete). Other content is currently only delivered in a broadcast format because it was the only method available when TV was invented. It was also a logical extension of radio, which was a single linear stream of sound.

If all media will eventually be delivered in a nonlinear format, which means the end of "broadcast" media, all advertising will be dynamically served, just as we serve Web-based ads today. There’s a lot of uncertainty about the specifics, but nearly everyone thinks 
the mobile world is a good one for some kind of advertising.This means massive shifts in the way advertising is planned, bought, and sold. Eventually, it's a greater extension of what we're already doing. It actually expands our channels and spaces to sells everything through mobile devices.

The 3 billion mobile phones around the world can potentially reach a much bigger audience than the planet's billion or so personal computers. The number of mobile phones in use is also growing much faster than the number of computers, especially in poorer countries. Better yet, most people carry their mobile with them everywhere—something that cannot be said of television or computers.

Mobile advertising seems to be an industry that’s about ready to explode, chasing the billions already being spent on Internet advertising. But mobility, although it has unmatched attractions for advertisers, also is a business very much in a state of flux. Previously, some of those in the burgeoning mobile advertising industry, which has been making money mostly through text-driven ads, expect advances in networks and advertising capabilities to reach an inflexion point in time for the Christmas shopping season.

The Dawn of A Mobile Ad Era
Considering this, Chriscomm ( C-Comm) lead by Anton Karya, serves as frontrunner in 3G Mobile Advertising. Together with one of the biggest nationwide news provider and Ironroad, Swedish Company, C-Comm provides the whole different way of advertising. Delivering the first-class news content such as TV news in your mobile devices, C-Comm offers various interactive advertising through mobile communication. C-Comm begins to deliver ads to handsets alongside video clips, web pages, and music and game downloads, through mobiles that are nifty enough to permit such things. If so, mobile advertising could become a tiger escaping from its cage next year.

C-Comm also has an undeniable way of advertise by actually putting the ads before the news. In mobile devices there is no way the mobile phone user can switch their channel while the ads are on. This help assuring the ads reach the right audience. The audience can also interact with the ads, they can directly dial the customer services or sending them text messages to get more detail of their ad. For example, for advertising of a brand new car, besides airing their TVCs through mobile phones before the news content, the advertisers can send the specification of the car when requested by the content users.

Yet the biggest selling point of mobile ads is what marketing types call “relevance”. Advertisers believe that about half of all traditional advertising does not reach the right audience. Less effort (and money) is wasted with online advertising: half of it is sold on a “pay-per-click” basis, which means advertisers pay only when consumers click on an ad. But mobile advertising through 3G technologies is the most focused: if marketers use mobile firms' profiles of their customers cleverly enough, they can tailor their advertisements to match each subscriber's habits or their choice of news. Justification: viewers watching on-demand programming select their own, personal primetime and watching their preference of ads.

The effectiveness of a mobile ad campaign can be measured in a variety of ways. The main measurements are impressions (views) and click-through rates. Additional measurements include conversion rates, such as, click-to-call rates and other degrees of interactive measurement. Moreover, mobile advertising offers the possibility to subsidize cost to subscribers (mobile phone users). Eventually, mobile phone operators are mulling a service that would rewards customers for listening to commercials and other information over the phone.

Despite these rosy expectations, there still is some caution evident because mobile advertising in a unique and unknown medium is bringing together carriers, ad agencies, publishers, mobile ad technology companies and brands. Everyone is treading on unfamiliar ground.

The No. 1 issue facing mobile advertising, says Anton Karya, Business Development Director of C-Comm, is that the mobile industry is not yet emerge as a single advertising medium. Brands and advertisers are familiar with working with print, TV, radio and the Internet as separate entities. We have to make them positively understand that mobile networks can bring together the Internet, video, text, gaming, music and more.

In addition, his partner Reagan Panggabean from Ironroad who provides the technology says, “Mobile is a group of quite separate media with different characteristics, they differ in form and in the audiences they draw. People are still trying to figure out a way to handle this.” Anton Karya also thinks mobile advertising will become more interesting to major brands when richer content on wireless devices becomes more widespread, especially video and TV. The richer the media, the richer the consumer experience, which drives sales and brand recognition.

So this column is a call to the advertisers to take their cues from the upshift in the current market landscape. The core technologies we built to serve ads, plan and manage campaigns, handle sales, implement insertion orders, and, perhaps most important, report results have been underfunded long enough. The industry must begin to focus on these platforms with an eye to the media future. It must create technologies to easily handle the transition to nonlinear video (and audio) ad insertion and become ready to handle the media shift. We should all focus on seeing this type of vision through to completion.

If this kind of thinking is nurtured and made pervasive among traditional media people, we're looking at a whole new media buying world. It would be much bigger than "online advertising." It's not about the Web anymore. It's about all media becoming digital. And that’s where C-Comm stands as likely victor.

As published in ADOI Magazine - August 2008