Mobile marketing is predicted to grow four to five times a year in the next five years, globally. James Citron, CEO of Mogreet, talks about how operators are looking at mobile marketing’s potential to increase their data revenues.
CommsMEA: How is mobile marketing expanding globally and in the Middle East? How much importance do operators give for mobile marketing services?
James Citron: The trend of mobile marketing is staggering in terms of its growth rate. There are about 4-5 times the number of mobile phone users as compared to people who access the internet from their computers.
Mobile internet is probably the fastest growing business the world has ever seen, and mobile marketing since last year has started exploding. An average person is sending about thousands of text messages per month, and the response to mobile marketing via text messaging is on an average 10 times the response rate of an email with coupons. Today, nearly 90% of the world’s mobile devices support MMS. So, instead of sending an SMS with a coupon, an advertiser can send a multimedia messaging service (MMS) that runs a 30 second video about a product.
Currently, mobile marketing applications in this region mainly cater to entertainment, religion, health, education and politics. For example, our mobile platform was used to run a 30 second video marketing one of the Harry Potter movies in Nigeria.
MMS is a $31 billion business globally, and mobile advertising business is predicted to grow 4-5 times a year in the next five years. So, operators are realising that mobile marketing offers a big revenue growth opportunity for them, if they can leverage the reach to bring advertisers into this medium.
CommsMEA: Tell me about Mogreet and its mobile messaging solution.
James Citron: Mogreet is a mobile message marketing services company offering its platform to deliver text, picture and video messages in over 175 countries globally. We deliver mobile video to over a billion consumer cell phones worldwide. So long as consumers have MMS capability on their mobile devices, we can reach them with a 30 second high quality video.
Our telecom customers use Mogreet’s platform to build a database of their own customers. We work along with an operator to find out what type of phones consumers have, and convert the advertising content we receive from our customers, who are advertisers, to suit subscribers’ cell phones so as to ensure end-user quality messages. We have built a large database of handsets globally. Once we detect a certain model of a device, we know whether it will support MMS or not, then we deliver the MMS message to that mobile phone. If it doesn’t support MMS, then we deliver the ad as a text message.
Typically, we pay an operator a gateway fee to connect our mobile messaging platform to their network, and for every message sent, we have a relationship whereby we pay them a small amount to deliver through their networks. We get our revenues from advertiser’s end. For every message we deliver, we can track the back-end for analytics, and customers are provided login IDs via our website to track the same in real-time.
CommsMEA: How is the demand for MMS as a value-added service in the MEA region?
James Citron: Research by InMobi that focused on mobile advertising trends in the Middle East between July and October 2010 discovered that mobile ad impressions in the region grew by 51% to touch 752 million monthly impressions. The study also stated that smartphones were used by 40% of those to view the ad impressions. Consumers, more so in the Middle East, have seen mobile phones show incredible growth, and a natural extension to this is value added services (VAS). In fact, in the Middle East, we are seeing information sharing happening more via SMS or MMS rather than emails.
CommsMEA: How are advertisers using mobile messaging as a means to better engage their consumers?
James Citron: The most effective aspect of mobile advertising is that advertisers take “unique contacts”. It can be an advertisement from a brand that a consumer may not have otherwise seen. We create this advertisement using our platform and send it out to an operator’s consumers’ cell phones.
Secondly, from a CRM standpoint, it is something that we are sending to customers on an opt-in basis. This means a subscriber who gets an advertising message recognises the opt-in to receive messages from a brand.
CommsMEA: How does mobile marketing benefit all in the value chain?
James Citron: For operators, mobile marketing simply increases data revenues. We hear from all operators saying that the future is in data revenue and we are looking at increasing our reach in providing data services.
While consumers know that a mobile phone is the only device they have at all times, for advertisers, it gives the ability to reach consumers, anytime and anywhere. It is to be noted that mobile marketing gives the same reach as a print or web advertising. We serve as the connection point helping advertisers reach their mobile marketing initiatives, and we benefit from a revenue stand point as being the platform that enables advertisers to reach their consumers on mobile phones.