How Telecom Companies Advertise In Their Own Medium

Are telecom companies eating their own dog food when it comes to mobile advertising? Figures released earlier this year by comScore showed the telecom industry was allocating about 35% of digital ad spending to mobile devices (versus desktop), which is roughly on par with other industry verticals. In that regard, it’s no more “mobile-first” than other categories like automotive or financial services.

New research released today by mobile ad network Millennial Media shows that telecom ranked as the third highest-spending category in the first quarter, behind retail and entertainment. The report doesn’t reveal actual dollar figures for spending, but it spotlights how telecom companies are using the platform to try to reel in new customers.

“In this tightly competitive market, brands use strategies such as conquesting around competitors’ devices, or reaching consumers at home on a particular Wi-Fi network. Telecom brands have the opportunity to take this targeting to the next level by integrating behavioral audiences across screens to reach and engage the consumer,” the study states.

Among audience groups, telecom companies are most interested in reaching home buyers, running sign-up promotions for new cable and Internet services. Other demos they target include music and TV fans, gamers, sports fans and insurance shoppers.

Mobile carriers and plans, however, made up the bulk of telecom advertisers overall on Millennial’s network in Q1, with land line and cable companies accounting for 24%, and mobile devices and accessories at 13%. Looking at ad techniques, driving to a site, retail promotion, and click-to-call were the most common tactics used in ad creative.

“Mobile carriers often promoted discounted devices using multiple and re-targeted creatives designed to generate awareness, and then site traffic,” according to the report. Landline and cable companies were big on using click-to-call in ads, often in registration campaigns. The sign-up pitches made up nearly 40% of all telecom campaigns compared to 11% for advertisers overall. So mobile is clearly a direct marketing tool for the telecom industry.

Among other key findings in the Q1 report:

-Nearly a quarter (23%) of campaigns included watching a video as a call to action versus 17% in the year-earlier period.

-Pharma was the fastest-growing ad category in the quarter, with spending up almost 500%, although no dollar total was provided.

"Smartphone User" photo from Shutterstock.

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