Start-ups missing out on mobile ad boom

Small firms aren’t embracing mobile advertising, despite the fact that three quarters of Australian mobile internet users are “somewhat or very comfortable” with ads via their handsets.


A study conducted by InMobi and ComScore shows that Australians have the highest level of comfort of any country or region when it comes to mobile ads, 12% higher than the US and 7% higher than Europe.


The number of page impressions viewed by Australian mobile users went from 233 million last July to 310 million in December, a staggering 33% increase in just six months.


This is largely due to the surge in sales in Apple’s iPhone. Australia is one of the few countries in the world where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers. Nearly half of page impressions were via iPhones and 23% from former market leaders Nokia.


Breaking down the figures, men are also more likely to want these ads, with 77% saying they were at least somewhat comfortable with them, compared with 71% of females.

Perhaps surprisingly, age wasn’t a factor, with 75% of respondents under 25 saying they would be comfortable, similar to the 73% of those aged between 25 to 44-years-old.


Graham Christie, commercial director of Big Mobile, a mobile strategy agency says that the majority of his clients are top ASX 100 companies.


Christie says large banking and financial companies are leading the way, with an astonishing 280% rise in mobile marketing spend from 2009 to 2010. But despite most of his clients coming from the big end of town, Christie believes there a huge opportunity for SMEs in mobile marketing.


Surag Patel, InMobi head of global research agrees, adding: “There is a great space here for small and nimble businesses to be making strong in-roads into mobile advertising, purely by experimenting and playing the game.”


Lawrie Lasfaia of SL Interactive, a provider of internet and mobile marketing services agrees.


“The size of the organisation doesn’t matter, what’s important is that the messages are targeted and direct.”


The majority of SL Interactive clients are from the retail sector, with Patel citing a recent campaign by a pizza store.


“We set up competitions in-store asking people to text in their favourite pizza topping. Once we know their taste preferences, their phone number, and the presumption they live locally, it’s very easy to send them direct messages informing them of special offers that are tailored to their likings.”


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