What You (may have) Missed – Part 54

Another month, another avalanche of mobile marketing activity, and as ever, we did our best to keep you updated on it all.

The month ended on a high as the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that the UK mobile advertising market had grown by 32% in 2009 to reach £37.6m. Mobile search was the fastest growing category, up 41 per cent to £20.2m and a market share of 54 per cent, compared to 50 per cent in 2008.

Apple announced that it had sold 300,000 iPads in to stores and customers who had pre-ordered on its first day. In a busy month for the company, Apple then delayed the international launch of the iPad by one month until the end of May, citing “surprisingly strong US demand” as the reason, while towards the end of the month, Apple CEO Steve Jobs published an open letter in which he detailed all the things Apple doesn’t like about Adobe’s Flash platform, including battery drain, security issues, and the proprietary nature of the platform. Jobs concluded that: “The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content.” Ouch.

Alcatel-Lucent unveiled its Optism mobile advertising solution. It’s a while-label offering that enables mobile operators to offer preference-based mobile advertising services to their subscribers on an opt-in basis. The platform uses permission and stated preferences to deliver advertising to subscribers’ mobile phones. Interactions are tailored to their specific interests and lifestyles, such as discount offers on products and services related to subjects they have expressed an interest in. The first two operators to sign up for the service are E+ in Germany and Orange Austria.

Elsewhere, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom completed the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK, while Softwareload.co.uk, Deutsche Telekom’s software download portal, launched a UK mobile application store, containing more than 15,000 mobile applications for download.

Mobile ad agency 4th Screen Advertising announced a mobile campaign for luxury car manufacturer Maserati to support the launch of its latest model, the GranCabrio. Using 4th Screen’s rich media advertising format, iSlide, the campaign targets iPhone users across 4th Screen’s Mpression platform, including inventory from publishers such as Guardian Mobile and ITN.

Meanwhile, 4th Screen’s sister company Mobile Interactive Technology (MIT), revealed that it was behind a mobile donation campaign that contributed £3.4m of the £31.6m raised so far by Sport Relief 2010. All text donations of £1, £5 and £10  made by the public benefitted from 100 per cent out-payments, thanks to mobile network operators waiving their usual fees.

There was a lot of activity on the mobile barcode front. Mobile services company Digital Reach Group (DRG) announced a deal with mobile barcode firm Scanbuy to include Quick Response (QR) codes alongside print ads, editorial content and on packaging and merchandise displays in Ireland. 3GVision, which makes the i-nigma mobile barcode reader, revealed details of a campaign in Glasgow that enables visitors to the city to use two-dimensional barcodes to download architectural tours of Glasgow direct to mobile phones. Three tours have been created by the Mackintosh Heritage Group to help visitors discover some of the great architectural works of Glasgow, including those by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

And NeoMedia Technologies announced that it had signed strategic agreements with two Scandinavian mobile marketing agencies, Mobiento and MORE Mobile Relations, enabling them to use its barcode-reading technology.

There were plenty of deals being done too. HP announced that it was buying Palm for approximately $1.2bn (£785m), while email marketing firm e-Dialog acquired US-based mobile agency, M3 Mobile Marketing, and WIN plc revealed that it was in discussions with IMImobile which could lead to a recommended cash offer by IMI for the company at a proposed price of 141p per WIN ordinary share.

Flytxt unveiled the latest version of its mobile marketing platform, Neon. The company says it delivers a step change in marketing agility and effectiveness, compared to existing marketing systems, enabling mobile operators to run closed loop marketing campaigns within minutes, from a single web desktop, without the help of IT specialists.

Meanwhile, mobile ad network InMobi took the wraps off AdROIt, which offers advertisers automated, cost per acquisition-based performance tracking to improve ROI for their mobile advertising campaigns.

And finally, on the subject of ROI, online entertainment retailer Zavvi.com revealed that it had attracted over 10,000 new customers with a re-launch mobile marketing campaign, created and executed by mobile agency Sponge. The campaign encouraged people to text in and enter a draw to win £1,000. All entrants received a unique code sent to their handsets to obtain a £1 discount on any order placed on the Zavvi.com website. Over a one-month period in December 2009, 24,000 discount codes were issued, with over 19,000 redeemed, generating over £150,000 of revenue and adding more than 10,000 new customers to Zavvi.coms database.

Proof, if any were needed, that when done properly, this mobile stuff really works. Stay tuned throughout May for all the latest news from the non-stop world of mobile marketing.

David Murphy