Optimism about mobile advertising abounds. For instance, the June 23 press release by ABI Research states that its new market study found that, “In 2010, not quite $2 billion was spent on mobile advertising. In 2012 that figure will be more than $7 billion. And by 2016, the forecasts suggest that about as much money – $24 billion – will be spent on mobile advertising as much as is currently spent on all online advertising put together.”
Projections are one thing. Tangible results are another. Alcaltel-Lucent’s Optism™ Solution, a hosted advertising platform that enables advertisers to easily book campaigns across multiple mobile operators, has already been successfully used by Volkswagen, Nissan, and adidas. The results from the implementation of this opt-in service (individuals who have agreed to receive ads) – that executes mobile marketing campaigns with broad reach but a tight focus on engaged audiences – are impressive. They speak to analyst bullishness.
What is Optism™?
It is Alcatel-Lucent’s plug and play platform for mobile operators consisting of:
- IT & Security – VPN tunneling via the Internet with protection against unauthorized use of information and network resources.
- Ad Delivery Server – Pre-integrated Alcatel-Lucent SMS and MMS gateways and ad delivery adaptors to simplify network infrastructure/Solution integration and reduce traffic loads generated by dialogue messages.
- Media Inventory Booking Tool – Enables media agents to easily book campaigns according to the geographic regions and the specific audiences they want to address.
- Campaign and Inventory Manager – Allows media sellers to build different types of campaign templates, tracks what is being purchased and when so Alcatel-Lucent can ensure the traffic load imposed on an operator network stays within bounds.
- Reporting and Invoicing – Gives media sellers a tool to generate a report detailing the performance of a completed campaign. This is sent along with an invoice for the campaign and a report of any activities reaching service subscribers.
- Dialogue Manager and Ad Selection Server – A scripting tool that enables advertisers to build messaging dialogues with subscribers.
- Ad Selection Server – A capability that can also be integrated with applications to create a targeted ad for a given purpose.
What kind of results has it achieved?
Three case studies highlight the power of the Optism™ Solution to produce speedy and concrete results:
Universal Motors, the exclusive dealer for Volkswagen in Ghana, Africa, used the Optism™-based mobile marketing service of operator Tigo to alert customers to the availability of the new Volkswagen Touareg. The campaign used interactive text dialogue, sent to the mobile phones of an opted-in audience who had indicated interest in cars, to gauge interest in the new Touareg. They achieved a 30 percent response rate with 90 percent of respondents (roughly split between males and females) requesting more information. By age, the most responsive were 35-50 and over 50s, and the least responsive were 25-34s.
Also working with Tigo, Ghana’s mobile operator, Auto Parts Ltd., the exclusive distributor of Nissan automobiles in Ghana, wanted to generate awareness of its new Patrol SUV. Their campaign used an interactive text dialogue featuring two messages. The first asked people to identify what of four items was most important to them when evaluating an automobile. The second focused on the information they were most interested in receiving about the car. The target audience was split 74 percent male to 26 percent female. 15-24s were most responsive, with numbers declining for 25-50s and rising slightly for over 50s. As highlighted in the study, some people were so eager to engage with the company they ignored the first question and sent messages asking, for example, about the Nissan Patrol’s price. Valuable data was also mined by Nissan concerning safety being the number one concern for Ghanaian car buyers.
Egyptian operator Mobinil’s Optism™-based “Mobinil Ads” program was used by adidas to drive traffic to a new flagship addidas® Originals store in Cairo where customers could pick up a limited edition adisas Originals gift. Started on a Wednesday to drive weekend traffic, the ad was sent only to Mobinil’s customers who had opted in to receive ads about “Fashion and Sports.” Results were that 35 percent of those receiving the ads requested and invited to the store, 15-24s were on average 98 percent more responsive than over 30 year olds, and females were 23 percent more responsive than males to ask for an invite.
Putting aside the benefits to all parties of the mobile advertising ecosystem – operators, media buyers and sellers, marketing executives at companies, etc., what makes this all the more exciting is the context of the impact represented by these early adopters.
Direct snail mail has traditionally, according to the Direct Mail Association (DMA) in 2010 in the U.S. for letter-sized envelopes, had a response rate of 3.42 percent for a house list and 1.38 percent for a prospect list.
They also said open rates (you send me an email and I open it instead of deleting it before reading) for email campaigns were for a house list: a 19.47 percent open rate; a 6.64 percent click-through rate; a 1.73 percent conversion rate; with a bounce-back rate of 3.72 percent and an unsubscribe rate of 0.77 percent.
As reported in Kikabink News, the average online banner ad click-through-rate (CTR) seems to have stabilized after years of falling to a little less than .10 percent.
As they say, the bottom line is the bottom line. Better targeting, to more engaged audiences, with broader and scalable reach, detailed analytics in near real-time, at reasonable prices that can likely improve lead generation and closings looks like a win for everyone involved including the customer who gets selected and highly timey information about things they have identified as being of interest. In terms of performance per monetary unity spent, the combination of a versatile platform leveraging the targeting capabilities of opt-in customer permission looks like the glide path that can fulfill the enthusiastic outlook for mobile advertising.
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