Following agreement from all the major UK mobile networks, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has officially widened its remit to serve the mobile advertising industry. As of September 2008, the five UK networks 3, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone UK - have formed a Mobile Steering Group to oversee and advise on the trade bodys strategy to educate advertisers and agencies about the benefits of mobile advertising.
Launched in 1997, the IAB has long-extolled the virtues of online advertising to the marketing community, and, with significant funding from all five UK operators, will now build upon the work it has already done in the mobile arena to formally extend its offering with a series of initiatives over the next 12 months and beyond. With plans to hire a senior mobile manager in October, the IAB aims to grow the medium via dedicated events, educational publications and research essential to its development.
These activities will be supported by the IAB Mobile Council, which was launched in November last year. The Council is responsible for the implementation of many of these initiatives and currently boasts expert members from across the mobile advertising industry. The IAB says it will be growing this membership over the coming months to include representatives from major publishers, agencies, advertisers and technology companies to ensure that all areas of the market are covered. The first event the IAB will be hosting in its new role as a mobile advertising trade body will be a Mobile Forum on 7 October.
While the IAB concentrates on research and promotion for mobile, the operators remain committed to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), the global organisation dedicated to best practices and the protection of consumer privacy. The IAB will also be liaising with the GSMA on its mobile audience measurement project.
In late 2007, the IAB conducted a survey among 40 senior-level marketers, who suggested that this year and next are critical to the success of the medium. The study found that mobile advertising is viewed in much the same way as online was at the turn of the century: lacking standards, measurement systems and case studies demonstrating the efficacy of the medium.
Mobile has huge potential now that the networks have all fully embraced the media opportunity, says IAB Chief executive, Guy Phillipson. Demand for help and information about what mobile can do for brands has never been higher and the IAB is proud to have landed the brief.
The network operators also seem happy with the news. Neil Andrews, head of portal advertising for 3 says:
The next few years are critical to the development of the medium and we are confident the IAB can facilitate the future success of mobile advertising, in the same way that it has done with online.
And Steve Ricketts, Head of Third-party Services & Mobile Advertising at Orange UK says that working with the IAB, the company can bring down barriers and drive success for advertisers, agencies and consumers.
Having been a member of the IAB for many years, we look forward to jointly flying the flag for mobile - emulating or even exceeding the success with online, to make make mobile the fastest growing and most engaging advertising medium, says Ricketts.