Mobile Marketing - Carriers Join the Game

Everyone seemed to know that it was coming, but the news yesterday was pretty exciting just the same. Sprint Nextel announced (are announcing) that they will allow advertising on their WAP portal. (See article.)With as many mobile subscribers as Sprint has on it's data plans, this should really boost available display ad inventory. Both Third Screen and AdMob have been reporting phenomenal growth and combined seem to be delivering more than a couple hundred million impressions each month right now (public statements they've made). It's a great start towards opening up more opportunities in the mobile environment. Verizon is also piloting banner ads on their WAP portal, but no announcement yet that I've seen.

Given the slow network speeds and limited navigation capabilities (i.e., no QWERTY) that most mobile subscribers have, I think these numbers are fairly significant and likely to continue growing. Few (single digits) mobile subscribers are regular users of WAP today.

Along similar lines, Boost Mobile announced a new program (couldn't find the release, but saw it on Moco) that collects information on their subscribers (VIP program). Subscribers will get both customized (I read this as personalized) products and services ... along with special offers - which I interpret as targeted promotions. The majority of our mobile subscribers say "not under any circumstances" to this type of offer (i.e., giving up personal information in exchange for a benefit in order to be targeted), but when you look at the younger age demographics (Boost's), that changes dramatically - they are interested. Will also be interesting to watch.

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