• Not Mobile Customers, But Mobile Audiences
    From the time I started this column several years ago, one of my persistent laments of the mobile industry has been that tech companies are not by their nature and culture media companies. It never was in their DNA to think of themselves as content platforms that need to market and merchandise media. They don't think of third-party publishers and advertisers as partners and benefactors with whom they share audience data in order to better target content. And, most of all, they don't really think of their customer base as an audience that constitutes an asset it can use in ...
  • SMS Ads: Talk to Your Next Date
    "Who are you calling?" my fiancée asks. "A dating service, I think. The SMS ad told me I could 'talk to my next date.'" She is not amused. Note to self: when you buy an engagement ring, consider the pain it might inflict when driven into your rib cage. "Ow! I am testing in-text SMS ads. They come in text alerts and SMS search results from a bunch of providers," I say. "Uh, huh. And why are they sending you dating ads? What do they know about you I should know?" "It seems to be what most of them ...
  • Street Sales: Merchandising iPhone Apps Without the Store
    At our "iPhoning It In" panel during the recent OMMA Mobile conference, Jason Spero, vice president of marketing for mobile ad network AdMob, stridently declared that developers and brands did not need prominent iPhone App Store placement to make their content discoverable. Ads running on other apps can push a highly motivated audience to your content, he argued. We didn't get to explore the model in detail during the session, so I followed up with Jason. It turns out that one of AdMob's own engineers, Josh Snyder, developed a simple Twister-like touch-screen game, "Knots," that languished in the App Store ...
  • Shallow And Sassy
    I have been playing around lately with the limited number of consumer brand applications in the iPhone App store. The result so far are mixed. As I mentioned last time, we started talking about the proper form and goal of a branded app at OMMA Mobile, but the answers are not clear-cut. Marketers meet the new mobile content marketplaces and more accessible platform like Android and the iPhone with great ambitions, but they run the risk of both over-shooting and underwhelming their audience all at once.
  • Building The Better Bottle Opener
    A number of themes and issues from last week's OMMA Mobile show in Los Angeles will reverberate in these columns over the next few weeks, I am sure. But for now one keeps rattling around my head: the marketing effectiveness and purpose of the branded app.
  • Measuring The Opportunities
    As this column hits your mailbox, OMMA Mobile should be in full swing in L.A. Nielsen's Nic Covey will be kicking off today's show with some recent and fascinating research into mobile habits and ad responsiveness. While I will be curious to see how Nic interprets some of these points today, let me share a few sneak peeks at his deck that intrigue me already.
  • Bejeweled Begone
    When I think about all the trouble mobile gaming has had getting traction with U.S. customers, I wonder why developers aren't trolling the exploding world of online casual games for innovative ideas like "Pain," the game whose pleasures are as simple and archly sadistic as they are addictive. The last thing we need is another "Bejeweled" variant, or a nondescript 2D side scroller with a movie license slapped on it.
  • Wapped Upside My Head
    According to a recent survey by Azuki systems, 52% of mobile users access the mobile Web, but 80% wish it were easier to get information there. Aside from the mobile Web numbers being considerably higher than we see from more formal metrics, I am not sure exactly what numbers or sentiments like this really mean. Are users having trouble just getting onto the Mobile Web or finding things there? Well, probably both.
  • Who Are Your Soldiers?
    Viral marketing campaigns are notoriously unpredictable. Until you send an edgy piece of promotional creative out into the wild, or initiate a UGC come-on, who knows whether it will fall flat or "go viral." I was intrigued by the small scale success of mobile UGC campaign from 211(me) for a Dave Attell comedy show at the Showcase Live in Foxboro, Mass in August. According to 211(me) CEO Robert DeFranco, this use of mobile and Web for grassroots event promotion exceeded initial goals tenfold on some metrics. The client credited the mobile effort with having to adding a second show.
  • What's On Tonight?
    This whirlwind tour of mobile video comes to an end for now with the granddaddy (in mobile years) of the format, MobiTV. Well, let me qualify. A "whirlwind tour" encompasses my basement office, living room lounger and Borders, where I tested most of these services. For me, that's getting out. My fiancée likes to remind me, "You have the skin color of someone who has been held hostage for a number of years." I think that is the pallor one gets from over-exposure to two-inch LCDs...or that I am a hermit. At any rate, alabaster skin may be the price ...
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