Contributed by Fabrizio Caruso, Vice-President, Business Development, Asia, Out There Media

Fabrizio Caruso

Almost every industry research firms predict that global revenues from mobile advertising are expected to show strong growth over the next few years. The always connected subscribers are looking for more convenience and gain real-time information anytime and anywhere they go. This has open up a huge window of opportunity for brands to reach their target audience anytime and anywhere.

As 2010 comes to an end, advertisers are keeping a close eye on the key trends that will define the growth curve of mobile advertising in 2011. We at Out There Media believe that the following factors will play a crucial role in shaping the future of mobile advertising in Asia:

Smartphones and smarter ads

The latest Apple’s iPhone4, Google introduction of Andriod, Window Phone 7 and launch of iPad and other tablets has shown an escalating adoption of smartphone in Asia. The growth of smartphone users has provides a whole new marketing platform for advertisers to move towards the mobile landscape. As the screen sizes grow, screen resolution enhances, network bandwidth increases and high-end content optimization solutions are implemented – mobile advertising will become an even more effective and compelling medium to engage consumers. Advertisers will be able to leverage more rich-content and provide superior consumer experience.

“App-vertising” and embedded ads

The increasing participation of internet players in the mobile space and the emergence of applications stores provide alluring opportunities for the new mix of advertising through mobile applications – “app-vertising”. According to ABI Research, application downloads in Asia alone will hit 2.4 billion by 2013 which is 20 per cent of the world’s total available market. In this digital age, tech-savy consumers are always looking for new applications to induce their lives with more entertainment and convenience. The changing behaviors of consumers create a favourable demand for mobile applications. Brand and advertiser are now channeling their marketing efforts to create campaigns through the new vibrant mobile application store-ecosystem.

This is also likely to promote the new breed of embedded-advertising in apps and games. Interactive apps and games have become platforms where consumers are spending a lot of time and brands can grab a longer attention span by introducing embedded advertisements in such games and apps.

•  Riding the video wave

Operators are enriched with innovative solutions to optimize online video and making it easier for subscriber to view videos on mobile. According to the mobile data forecast from Cisco, mobile video will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 131% till 2014. Increasingly consumers are looking to watch long series of television shows on their electronic devices and spending more time engaging with quality video content. The customized data plans for heavy users with unlimited data plan access have also encouraged subscribers to play videos through their mobile devices. With rapidly growing online video traffic, it presents a great opportunity for brands and advertisers to effectively reach out to a huge pool of consumers.

MMS has been brought back to relevance as a key channel for mobile ads corresponding to the popularity of video content. Advertisers are effectively using cool video content over MMS as an incentive for consumers to participate in mobile advertising campaigns

•  Geo-fencing and brand promotion

Location-based services have provided greater customization of services for mobile subscribers. A Geo-fence is actually a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. Geo-fencing allows devices to detect the geographic area of subscriber and allows stores to offer an opt-in “auto check-in” service to their patrons. It offers a new avenue for brand and advertiser to “wave” their promotions and incentives to their customers who are around the premise. This can provide point-of-purchase advertising to a whole different dimension. Consumers seem to be receptive towards the new concept, finding it to be a way to access the brand information conveniently. Geo-fencing is a great supplement for advertiser to locate and send instant messages on real-time store’s offers to subscriber.

•  Back to basics- text messaging

Even with the upsurge of smartphones in Asia, a huge cross section of the population is still dependent on basic feature phones for connectivity. Hence, creative and targeted messaging campaigns will always yield great results across all markets, and most importantly, regardless of devices. Increasing number of consumers are purchasing products and services based on promotional SMS messages, receiving mobile coupons, latest promotion and offers and real time update of activities from brands.

But it is important to take into consideration intrusiveness and consumer privacy issues. Consumers are increasingly becoming receptive towards opt-in advertisements provided in lieu of free talk time and SMSes. Permission-based advertisements are likely to bring customers closer to the brands and gain their trust and loyalty.


Every year-end outlook predicts that the next year will be the year for mobile advertising. The spotlight is even brighter this year as the biggest brands joined the bandwagon and committed to the medium. With improved analytics and measurement metrics, enhanced media optimization solutions, next-generation mobile devices – 2011 promises to take the industry to greater heights and up close and personal with the consumers.

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