WAP Sites Work, Study Finds

David Murphy

Research conducted by Trilibis Mobile suggests that increasingly, Fortune 100 brands looking to reach consumers through mobile marketing are looking beyond simple SMS campaigns, and creating promotional mobile Internet WAP sites. This is due in part to increased consumer comfort with accessing mobile websites, faster network speeds and improved graphical displays.
Trilibis, which builds mobile websites and destinations for brands, both on- and off-deck, is reporting strong results from brands that add WAP sites to their mobile marketing mix, compared with similar campaigns that rely only on SMS. In the past 18 months, building 60 unique campaigns for a variety of brands, spanning music, sports, television and film, the company has identified features that inspire consumers to engage on a larger scale.
Specifically, Trilibis found that the most popular features, in order of significance, were:
Votes/Polls when:
The poll or vote enables the user to influence the outcome of something he or she is passionate about.
The poll or vote enables the user to compare himself or herself to the overall population with respect to something he or she is passionate about.
It appeals to the user ability to be seen as an expert in the population.
Blogs led by experts in the field (such as sportswriters). In addition, if users can contribute to blogs wirelessly, the stickiness of the site is enhanced.
Branded storefronts: branded collections of ringtones, wallpapers, call tones etc., continue to be popular, especially as the carrier decks continue to grow in size, making the navigation to specific content more difficult.
Informational content: most effective if content is valuable when on the go and easily navigated.
Trivia: particularly effective for sports and television shows, where consumers want to test their knowledge on something they are passionate about.
Working with Sprint in 2006 to develop a mobile-centric promotional campaign for the NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge, Trilibis created a 200-page mobile portal, whose focal point was the Fan Vote, which allowed voters to pick their favourite drivers. As a result of incorporating the voting feature side-by-side with other NASCAR-related content (e.g. news, expert blogs, message boards, premium content downloads and event updates), there was a 500% increase in wireless votes from 2005, when voting was carried out via SMS and was not part of an integrated mobile marketing campaign.
Trilibis noticed a similar trend when the NFL Pro-Bowl Ballot 2006 registered more than 1.95 million WAP-based votes for the AFC and NFC All-Star squads. This was a 200-fold increase over the previous years 10,000 votes, when voting was offered only via SMS. The NFL Pro-Bowl Ballot 2007 generated even more wireless votes -2.35 million proving, says Trilibis, that WAP is a viable medium for promoting brands and interactive content via mobile. 
The mobile Internet is finally here says Nihal Mehta, CEO of Omnicom Groups mobile agency ipsh!  agrees with the findings of the survey.
The mobile Internet is finally here he says. Since the turn of this year, weve already seen a serious uptake in major Fortune 500 brands dedicating a significant portion of spend to mobile Internet presence driven by mobile media.