What You (may have) Missed – Part 43

Another busy month, and lots to catch up on. Mobile advertising was in the news as the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers released figures showing that mobile ad spend in the UK was worth £28.6 million in 2008, split almost 50/50 between mobile display ads and paid search, and virtually double the previous year’s spend.
Also on the mobile ad front, Amobee Media Systems launched a mobile advertising service for Telefónica in Spain, while in the US, Alcatel-Lucent and 1020 Placecast teamed up to provide mobile service providers and brands with a location-based service delivering relevant messaging and advertising to opted-in consumers.
And mobile marketing firm Velti acquired Ad Infuse, which specialises in personalised mobile advertising. Velti says the acquisition will enable the company to strengthen its position in the US market and sustain its growth over the coming years.
Also on the acquisition trail was 2ergo which snapped up Australian mobile marketing firm Wapfly Technologies, as part of a move to extend its global reach into the Asia-Pacific region. Wapfly specialises in developing mobile Internet sites, mobile applications and mobile marketing services for brands, broadcasters and agencies.
If it’s not advertising it’s apps, and research from Strategy Analytics revealed that the Apple App Store captured a 12% share (by volume) of the mobile applications market in 2008. And in what looked like a belated attempt to take on Apple at its own game, Nokia finally launched its Ovi Store, though technical problems meant its debut was somewhat fraught. Meanwhile, Vodafone announced that it was planning to stimulate a new generation of mobile Internet applications by providing Internet service developers with a single point of access to its global customer base. The move means that developers will only need to create Internet applications once in order to reach millions of Vodafone customers on any device, and will be able to charge for it directly through Vodafone’s billing system. Vodafone was also on the hunt for the best mobile Internet start-up, offering a total of €150,000 (£133,000) prize money in its ‘Vodafone Mobile Clicks’ competition. The winner will be announced in September.
O2’s media business launched a location-based mobile marketing campaign for health club group, Fitness First. The campaign offers five days free membership and a personal training session via SMS to O2 customers living in specific postcodes near Fitness First gyms. Meanwhile, Mobilize released the results of a mobile campaign for online food and drink retailer, Approved Food & Drink. An SMS offer was sent to 6,000 opted-in customers, resulting in a 550% increase on orders placed in the three hours immediately after the texts were sent out, compared to the previous day
And the champagne corks were popping at Orange, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Orange Wednesdays, 2-for-1 cinema tickets campaign, one of the best-known and longest-running mobile campaigns.
Mobile web, media and messaging service Wadja.com launched a white-label mobile social network offering, enable brands to build their own branded mobile social networks, powered by the Wadja platform. And Xtract released its flagship social intelligence product, Social Links, in a Software as a Service (SaaS) version.
Near Field Communication (NFC) techology was in the news, as Credit Suisse, PostFinance, SIX Multipay, Swisscard, Swisscom and Visa Europe reported the successful conclusion of a pilot study of contactless payments using NFC-enabled mobile phones incorporating Visa payWave card payment technology in Switzerland.
Separately, Innovision Research and Technology and NXP Semiconductors announced a joint marketing and licensing agreement related to NFC technology. The agreement aims to bring both companies’ complementary NFC capabilities to other companies actively involved in the NFC value chain.
On the mobile payments front, Billing Revolution announced a partnership with mobile ad network MoVoxx to use Billing Revolution’s technology platform to commerce-enable ad placements on mobile phones.
And mobile messaging company Sybase 365 revealed that it was partnering with global development organization Swisscontact to provide sustainable development of Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) and Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) services in emerging markets. The Sybase 365 mCommerce solution enables subscribers to buy, pay, bank and remit money via a mobile device.
And those are only the highlights of another action-packed month in mobile marketing. Stay tuned throughout June for all the latest news as it happens.

David Murphy