Mobile advertising is likely going to see a major rise in 2009, and mobile Web technology firm Bango is predicting that mobile will become a significant linchpin for online advertising next year. The firm has made five predictions that the small and medium sized business world shouldn’t overlook. And while I agree with these predictions, it is also worth addressing whether all of the results will be so positive.
- Advertising via mobile will look more appealing – Bango is suggesting that mobile will be a more appealing form of online advertising as it can target users more directly. However, while Bango does suggest that this could mean a more attractive cost of acquisition, the downside is that users may not like to be so easily contacted on mobile phones. Getting an ad sent directly to your hand is only good if you’re truly interested in the product.
- “Big Guns” in online retailing eye new opportunities in mobile – Bango believes that one major “commerce” retailer will acquire a D2C mobile content provider, and thus expand its presence in digital content. Furthermore, the big guns in the online music, video and books markets will have identified mobile as an increasingly important media platform and will want to expand into this area. Bango addresses that one implication could be how such a move from a major player would threaten Apple’s position as a leading music retailer for mobile devices. That is certainly one to watch. But more importantly, it will be interesting to see if truly targeted advertising will become as viable as Bango and other firms suggest.
- Music becomes DRM free – Bango believes that online music retailers will likely follow Amazon and Napster’s lead and meet consumer preference for DRM free music that can be transferred effortlessly between phone and PC. This could result in mobile phones becoming the dominant platform for listening to music, further boosted by their portability, the high storage capability of the latest phones and the ability to play the ubiquitous Mp3 format – DRM of course. But the question here remains if retailers can do what Creative Labs, Microsoft and others have tried to do – capture the iTunes market. Many at Apple would say “i think not.
- Cash-strapped consumers snip broadband landlines, use mobile data plans to access Internet – Bango is suggesting that as people have begun to cancel their landlines in favor of using mobiles for all voice calls that the same could change the way the Internet is viewed. Bango is predicting that users will start to cancel their fixed line broadband subscriptions and upgrade to smartphones and wireless “dongles” to get on the Internet. This consolidation will happen first in the U.S. where nearly 20% of mobile users have a smartphone. Here, Bango’s view has gone bongo; because while the phones users may be able to ditch their landline broadband for wireless, thee movie is anything but a smart. Cable and DSL speeds have increased tenfold in the past decade and nothing in the mobile arena can compare. While WiMAX has promise, the technology is still not ready for primetime surfing.
- Open access fever continues, says Bango, which is quick to point out that of the remaining proprietary players, U.S. operator Verizon will finally open up its Brew platform in 2009, enabling it to further grow its data business with a fully realized, open Internet offering. However, the other closed mobile player, Apple, is likely to remain closed on the back of the momentum it has built around the iPhone and its App Store. As if replaying history from 20 years ago, the Apple solution will plateau as more mainstream, open and cost-effective content and application environments emerge. Which will go on to become the Microsoft of the mobile world? Bango further predicts plenty of activity in 2009, but admits that it will be too soon to declare a winner.