RBT Ads Worth $780m a Year by 2015

Annual revenues from ringback tone (RBT) advertising will hit $780m (£487m) by 2015, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The ad format – where consumers opt-in to receive airtime or credit in return for allowing branded content as their ringback tone – has already been successfully implemented in a number of key markets, proving popular both with mobile users and brands.

The Juniper report, Mobile Advertising Strategies: Opportunities, Business Models & Forecasts 2010-2015, found that some RBT ad campaigns are generating substantial response rates. For example, a Pepsi campaign on Turkcells TonlaKazan service generated more than 25m calls from 5m  users. Meanwhile, as ad-funded services are increasingly deployed in key ringback markets such as China and India, there is expected to be a gradual transition of service users from paid-for ringback tone services, to capitalise on free airtime offers.

But report author Dr Windsor Holden says that for the channel to gain optimal adoption, it is essential that content placed within the ringbacks is non-intrusive. “While ringback tone advertising has a number of potential benefits for network operators – notably providing a new revenue stream and reducing customer churn – both they and the brands must ensure that the advertising is contextual and does not jar with those listening,” says Holden. “Otherwise all parties – operators, brands, even the service subscribers – could face a backlash from disgruntled callers, conceivably resulting in a decline in network voice traffic.”

The report also forecasts that total advertising expenditure across all mobile channels will reach $11.5bn in 2015, up from $3.1bn in 2010. It adds that mobile channels are benefitting from brands strategic transition from above-the-line to below-the-line advertising, and notes also that retailers are increasingly seeking to offer smartphone apps as a key means of generating brand exposure.

There’s more information about the report, including a free whitepaper, here.