Commentary

Re-Tweeting The Show: OMG, We Killed WAP!

Editor's Note: Updated 5/5 to reflect changes in stats reported by MySpace

Post-OMMA Mobile, some housekeeping.

First, we are trying to corral as many of the presentations as we can from yesterday's show to put online in the next few days. The metrics pieces were especially strong, I thought, led off by a great presentation of multi-campaign, cross-platform mobile ad effectiveness from Joy Liuzzo of InsightExpress. Both Joy and our keynoter Maria Mandel of Ogilvy broke down mobile ad strategies by marketing goals very well. Later in the day, we had rapid-fire numbers and campaign examples from our metrics panel as well. I think we presented more raw data and campaign reports in this OMMA Mobile episode than we ever have before.

Second, since many of you asked, the next OMMA Mobile is Oct. 30 in L.A.

Third, there is some discrepancy over a number I threw out yesterday at the show's open regarding the share of MySpace traffic coming from mobile sources. The number I quoted, 35%, raised eyebrows in the Twitter feed, and even our panelist from MySpace, Brandon Lucas, senior director of business development, MySpace Mobile, told me he hadn't seen that number yet. He felt that it was definitely north of 10% and closer to 20%.

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I was pulling from several reports about a presentation made the day before at the Nokia Developer Summit 2009 in Monte Carlo by the company's VP and GM of Mobile, John Faith. That number actually has been reported variously as either 35% of all MySpace traffic coming from mobile sources -- to others saying that the 35% refers to share of mobile traffic coming from apps as opposed to mobile Web. I will go with Brandon's number, but also add that he told me the company feels that 50% of all usage will be coming from mobile in coming year. Update: MySpace contacted me to clarify the diverse reporting. The truth is that the share of mobile traffic coming from applications rose from 10% to 35% last year.

Brandon said at the show yesterday that that so far there is no evidence of cannibalization. The mobile versions are giving users the opportunity simply to interact more with the service and not replacing desktop use. OK for now, I guess. But I find it hard to believe that mobile cannibalization is not going to be a concern in some categories.

Next, my daughter says hello. She enjoyed hearing that so many people mention her to me when we meet at the show. Now she is threatening to show up at the next show. Great. I've got a diva, now.

The #ommamobile Twitter feed is a wonderful resource for tapping into the points that resonated with the audience. I was poring over it on the train trip home last night and was struck by the contrast between the points our own MediaPost coverage called out and the ones the audience ran with.

Our own mobile beat expert, Mark Walsh, has a good piece focusing on the guarded endorsement of mobile platforms from our first panel of media directors. Mark called their advice to mobile marketers and tech companies "a breath of fresh air of reality to the breathless hype that often attends discussions of mobile advertising." Which was the intention of this panel in the program, of course. As I recall from the Twitter feed, some people in the mobile industry find these reservations from above tedious or all too familiar. I don't, because I continue to hear them when I do talk to people like Weiden+Kennedy's Greg March and MEC Interaction's Patrick Cartmel.

March warned mobilistas to stop selling mobile as mobile and learn more about the client needs to sell a solution that happens to be mobile. I think Cartmel's point was also well taken, that these impressive one-off campaigns we like to showcase at shows are just that, impressive one-offs.

The twitter chatter was fascinating. Perhaps the most-discussed point from the show was the comment from AOL's senior product manager of search, Farhan Memon. "WAP is dead," he claimed, and that got tweeted even into the morning. So today I asked Farhan to give us more of his thinking on this. Since many of you asked about this comment, let me quote directly and at length from Farhan and invite you to comment below.

"The crux of my argument is, feature phones cannot render content that is more than basic text and graphics that are more than basic GIFs. In order for the user experience to improve, devices like the iPhone, Android, and Pre are needed. Indeed, these and other smart phones are increasing in proportion to the phones that are out there," he says. "Simultaneously we see that users of smart phones use the mobile Web more often and engage with advertising or e-commerce more often. Jim McDonnell [marketing manager, emerging channels, Papa John's] said 98% of his orders came from smart phones. So as a publisher, why would I want to put my limited resources into creating content for devices that have a declining user base and don't monetize well? Feature phone content today is like the ice houses of yesteryear. Ice continued to be sold when fridges came out, but none of the ice houses made the jump and became road kill. Don't become digital road kill."

And just to clarify, Farhan is not equating WAP with mobile Web. "Mobile web will live tailored to smart phones. By WAP I mean text-centric content accessed through feature phone that don't have good browsers."

Let the arguments commence.

3 comments about "Re-Tweeting The Show: OMG, We Killed WAP!".
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  1. Kevin Planovsky from Vert, April 30, 2009 at 4:33 p.m.

    WAP can't be dead because it was never alive. Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) was truly only a thought and was never alive enough because consumers didn't want it. It wasn't until full-HTML capable devices showed up that mass adoption of consumer data plans began growing. Hence, the mobile web is now VERY alive and growing & WAP is still the old, unused thought that helped get us to where we are now...

  2. Gerald Troutman from Triamond Media, April 30, 2009 at 6:05 p.m.

    WAP may be a never-was, but the cell providers are using the allure of HTML browsing to run up their users' billing by unconscionable amounts. With my own provider, the choice of a smartphone comes burdened with an immediate price increase of 67% over a plan with similar cell coverage but with a WAP enabled phone. It's cheaper in the long run to buy a PDA if you need WiFi access and the ability to handle Office docs from a pocket device.

  3. Matt Riker, May 1, 2009 at 9:41 a.m.

    Twitter is like a breath of fresh air on the Social Media scene. I have been on it for just a few weeks now and I have met several interesting people. It is a platform to network with people you would like to meet in real life.

    <a href="http://www.epostmailer.com/"> http://ePostMailer.com</a>

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