BusinessWeek has an interesting piece about the intersection between mobile advertising and user context, arguing the combination of persona…

BusinessWeek has an interesting piece about the intersection between mobile advertising and user context, arguing the combination of personal targeting and location information can deliver either the perfect mobile marketing pitch or an “Orwellian nightmare, depending on your point of view. Either way, campaigns that target ads based on the clues mobile users leave behind (such as such as their reading patterns, their viewing preferences and their download history, as well as their action and location at that moment in time) are just a couple of years away.

So far, efforts have been somewhat more modest in their size and scope. This is because marketers and mobile operators are just getting their head around behavioral targeting (BT) and getting to grips with recent FCC rules limiting the use and release of customer data, including location information. (On April 2, the FCC released an order requiring mobile marketers to obtain express consent from users before operators release information.) However, BusinessWeek argues the opt-in mechanism alone is not the answer. Indeed, a March 26 study by M:Metrics found that most people who receive a text message don’t think they gave the company permission to contact them, even if they did give their consent by sending in an opt-in message.

In the meantime, mobile search provider Medio Systems is a convert to BT and intuits user intent from search queries and the links users accept or reject to deliver targeted mobile ads. Operators such as Sprint Nextel may also join the bandwagon.

Users may not like receiving ads, but BusinessWeek concludes the “bigger concern for many mobile users may be that advertisers will simply know their phone number.” Insight into user context, so we thought, would guarantee the delivery of more relevant

  1. Peggy,

    Great article. You've nailed the problem. The solution is simple to state, hard to build. Customers have to start trusting content providers/advertisers NOT to violate their privacy. The way to do this is to put the customer in control of his/her privacy and allow them to only share the data they want to.

    We've built a solution for exactly this problem. We deliver on the three Mobile must have's for the consumer, namely: Convenience (it has to work in the browser), Relevance (it's target for Me) and Privacy – the consumer is control of the data he/she wants to share and it's easy to either enable or disable it.


  2. The end-game will be advertising to person's standing near the mobile phone user (i.e. my phone). The service provider will get the same/similar demographic and more eyes per presentation. While people may view ad's in order to receive free talk-time, etc., few will want to view ad's for the sake of viewing an ad, no matter how compelling/targeted etc.


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