With mobile phones outnumbering TVs, PCs, and automobiles; SMS text messaging outnumbering emails, it is not difficult to understand how the mobile phone will be disruptive as the next large media platform.
There is already a convergence in technologies between Internet, Mobile phones, TV and banking industries.
According to the exerpt from the book, “Mobile as the 7th mass media,” by Tomi Ahonen, the mobile phone started as a simple communication tool that allowed the user to contact or be contacted anywhere and during anytime. Now this device has transformed to include: consumption (browser), charging (payments), creation (camera), cool (fashion), commercials (advertising) and now community (social networking including: Flickr, Twitter, etc.)
The seven types of media that were discussed in this book include: Print, Recordings, Cinema, Radio, TV, Internet and now Mobile Phones.
Internet was the first technology that content providers engaged users. Traditionally, the messaging delivered by the content provider was broadcasted to the user, with no interaction. With the advent of web 2.0 technologies, the relationship between the content provider and the user was transformed by the formation of online and offline communities that enabled the user to share, discuss and collaborate different ideas, news, files and other interests with other users.
The book contains a chart that illustrates how newer technologies can cannibalize older ones. Mobile phones can cannibalize all the other media including the internet. All the functionalities of the internet are now fulfilled by the mobile phone.
The seven inherent advantages of the mobile phone include: the personal nature of the phone (advertising message ca be customized to the user, as mobile phones are rarely shared); the portability (the mobile phone is always in proximity to the user whether if they are traveling or sleeping); cell phone is always turned on; the ability to have a payment channel; ability to have user-generated content; more accurate information about the user (easier to measure audience data); the interactivity between the phone and its users – data 2.0 (includes text and twitter messages) measuring not what the individual does, but rather what the group engages in.
An example includes: the iPhone 3G has disrupted the current business model with the convergence of internet and mobile phone technologies, while maintaining user-friendly design with sleek design. A significant number (30.9%) of iPhone users watch online mobile videos. During some ad campaigns that targeted mobile phones, 75 percent of all video ad impressions were from iPhone users. With media rich formats and campaigns that engage the consumer, this type of media could be the future of advertising media. Increasing brand awareness and brand equity would be the main objectives of advertisers of this medium.
Here is a quote from an article discussing advertising and the iPhone:
“These big brands require premium mobile executions on rich formats, like video and interstitials, to visually showcase their products and to create engaging user experiences. The best use of mobile is seen in multi-format, interactive campaigns that leverage both rich formats and high volume formats like WAP display and text banners to generate brand awareness and favorability, message association and increased likelihood to buy, rather than pursuing on-the-spot purchases in most cases.”
Here is another article with an interesting video that illustrates the advantages of portability and the interactivity of the mobile phone. The user shown in the aforementioned video can scan barcodes that are embedded in advertisements that are printed in magazines, newspapers and other written media to purchase the item or to engage in further interactions with the advertiser.
Undoubtedly, mobile phone will be an emerging force for media in the future. The only area of contention could be the infringement on the user’s privacy. After all, users must pay for airtime minutes as well as any data received or sent. In my opinion, the only effective manner that mobile phone advertising can be effective is if advertisers engage the consumer, by being granted permission to do so. It is the consumers that need to seek this type of media whether it would be downloadable games, applications, or to engage in text messaging/twittering. Recently, to launch the new 2009 Audi A4, Audi of America released an iPhone game that utilizes the accelerometer technology on the iPhone. This certainly created a buzz for the game. Users were fascinated by the game and through users, they became advocates of the advertiser.