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Changing Advertising with Wireless Technologies

Introduction

Advertising has had its fair share of evolution ever since its birth. With changing communication technologies, marketers induce new mediums in advertising. Advertising jumped from print to TV and now the internet. Now, communication technology is bombarded with new and latest wireless accessibility facilities and advertising is not to lag behind! We see advertising now as we have never seen it before. As much as TV remains the prime medium of advertising as to date, the dawn of DVRs, wireless access and mobile devices, social networks, and mobile phones have changed the shape and form of advertising to a great extent. Although DVR tends to threaten the way advertising was traditionally done, new technologies have provided endless opportunities for marketers. Advertising requires fastest and the most accurate accessibility to the targeted customers, and these latest communication technology wonders provide just that.

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Advertising and DVRs

Digital Video Recorders brought about a threat to the conventional modes of TV advertising that put concern upon marketers. DVRs gave the users a chance to altogether skip the advertisements fairly easily. According to a Forrester Research survey, over 30 million homes possess DVRs in 2009. Due to this TV commercials are being reduced to 20% in the coming 5 years (Locklear, 2004).

Now this change has brought about two different impacts onto the world of advertising. Firstly, markets are now working with DVR’s manufactures to get information on viewer demographics and interests to induce better targeted advertising in future. In addition, marketers are pushing for wider screens of DVR so as to get additional opportunities for advertising. more interactive ads are being developed to display through the DVR remote (Otlacan, 2009). Secondly, a move from TV advertising is also leading to a boom in Internet advertising revenues. Seventy-five percent of advertisers have increased spending on Internet advertising, a report said (Locklear, 2004).

Advertising and Wireless Accessibility

Currently the hottest spot in the advertising world is in the Wireless advertising zone, where the advancements in the wireless technology have brought about a revolutionary change in the use of mobile devices and a new form of advertising.

Wireless advertising is the use of wireless networks to send advertisements to mobile devices, let it be for the purpose of creating brand awareness, increasing sales or promoting a new product. Wireless advertising is a new medium and channel of advertising where marketing is done through mobile phones, PDA, and pocket PCs. Why have wireless networks become so popular recently? Three are three reasons for this that put them far above the conventional mediums of advertising (Yunos, 2007).

  • Firstly, they offer accessibility. Wireless devices are handy and are carried everywhere. When adverts are sent through such mobile devices, they reach the customers promptly and provide accuracy in supply of the information directed by the marketers for the customers.
  • Secondly, they are personal. The individual identity of a customer can be easily tracked down. This not only helps in advertising but also in marketing research. TV was nowhere near this close to the target audiences!
  • And thirdly, advertisers and marketers can easily track the target audience’s whereabouts whenever they have the device turned on (Yunos, 2007).

The customers too of the current age are fast and want awareness. Wireless networks allow the advertisers to provide easy access to awareness regarding various product lines through these networks. So we can say wireless networks cater to a perfect match between the advertisements and the customers. Therefore we can say through wireless accessibility, advertising is more targeted and individualized. This was never before in the time of TV monopoly in advertising. Through wireless accessibility, target customers can search products, inquire, order and make purchase from anywhere in the world. Other than easy access to the vast target audience, for advertisers, wireless technology offers standard and extremely cost effective means of advertising (Yunos, 2007).

Advertisers use three common modes of advertising via wireless networks: I-mode, SMS, and WAP, each of which requires different mobile devices and accessibility requirements.

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WAP

WAP stands for Wireless Application Protocol is a tool in mobile devices that allows users to access information from anywhere in the world instantly. WAP makes the internet wirelessly connectible. It translates the WML/HDML language of mobiles to HTML/HTTP language of internet, allowing the users to send their requests and interact on the internet through web servers (Yunos, 2007).

SMS

The common use of mobile devices is sending SMS which stands for Short Messaging Service. It is a distinct digital feature in mobile devices which allows the users to create, send and receive messages containing letters or numbers to and from other mobile devices or email addresses. This is done based on SMS messaging gateways through the internet. SMS is popular because it is fast, reliable, silent, and it requires minimum effort and it delivers precisely what is required in situations where loud communication is a problem. For marketers sending ads through SMS is the latest trend. SMS has a fewer rate of ignorance and people do give them due importance. Advertisers are making the best out of this feature (Yunos, 2007).

I-mode

Thirdly, I-mode, which was primarily invented in Japan, allows the mobile device users to access internet and web through their mobile devices. They can browse the web, check, send and receive emails through their mobile devices through i-mode. It was invented in 2000, and so far it has over 10 million users worldwide. It also uses C-HTML language and links wireless devices to the World Wide Web through protocol (Yunos, 2007).

PDA

Other than these wireless devices also include PDA, Personal Digital Assistant, where users can store and cache content. It is simple and is becoming very popular. It synchronizes internet content unto the device. Because of this, wireless advertisers create downloadable ads to get into the devices. These ads are either discount offers or new product awareness campaigns where samples or discount coupons are being offered (Yunos, 2007).

Web Clipping

Web clipping is actually a support program of PDAs. It lets the users access updated content through the mobile devices or wireless modems. It brings the web content to the ‘palms’ of the users. The web content from the web pages gets customized to the tiny screens of the PDA, where are easily readable and accessible and closer to the readers, thus more benefits for the advertisers (Yunos, 2007).

We just examined the endless and ever growing opportunities for advertisers through wireless advertising. When we talk about online advertising, we can not ignore the growing strength of the online social networks, and we can also not overlook how they are now benefiting the advertising world.

Advertising and Social Networks

Social networks have brought the latest trend in online advertising. Peer-to-peer advertising is another name for social network advertising. What is social network? If you have heard of Facebook or Twitter, you may have already witnessed then wonder of peer to peer advertising even without noticing.

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Famous social networking websites include The Facebook, Orkut, Twitter, Tagged, Hi5 and a lot more. These websites contain the normal ads bar you see on the sides of these websites, like other websites, usually these are the ads placed by Google or Yahoo. This is one way these websites benefit the advertisers (Mccolum, 2009). Other than that, the increasing popularity of the ads on these sites is through the widespread and immense use of applications on the profiles of the users, sending and receiving gifts to each other’s profiles, sending invitations to various games, links to brands and etc (Chatterjee, 2009). Where users are busy in branding their profiles, they are continuously engaged in being exploited with advertising. Advertisers through these websites have narrowed down the whole process to come to the needs of the youth in a more personal way. Customizing avatars which is a feature offered by all of these social networking sites is also a form of web advertising and the marketers are benefiting each day through this exciting feature. According to a research, one in every five online ad is featured on the social networking websites. MySpace is the online advertisement leader with 9.2% of all online ads. Second come Facebook who has the share of 8.2%. Tagged.com, MocoSpace.com, and Hi5.com share about 3.7% of online ads served and other websites with less popularity have about 0.1% of the online ads (Chatterjee, 2009).

Advertising and Mobile Phones

It is said that where internet is being exploited currently with online advertising, little light has been shed upon using mobile phones for advertising though they are thought to be the next big thing.

In London a research conducted by the Online Publishers Association showed that more and more people are using mobile Internet is on the rise, and are displaying acceptance of mobile advertisements. Another research in the United States showed that about 76% of the cell phone users have web access through their phones and around 34% use this service as to date. Other researches have shown that 14 percent access the web for news and information (Pfanner, 2007).

So, what does this show us? They show an increasing trend towards mobile internet users, although the numbers currently are low. How can we say that? It is a fact that, all over the world, people own more cell phones now than personal computers.

According to Bob Greenbag, who is the chief executive of R/GA an advertising agency in New York, mobile phones should be on the top most priority for the advertisers, why? Because they are with the customers at all times! So what is a better way to reach them? But despite this fact, TV still remains the foremost prioritized medium for advertising and mobile is out on the third screen (Pfanner, 2007).

In Japan, increasing amount of advertising is being done through mobile phones where they send text messages and ask for responses from customers, either in the form of getting samples, coupons or entering contests.

On the other hand, several companies enter into joint contracts with telecommunication companies to send promotional messages through SMS to mobile users. Telecommunication companies themselves make the users aware of new product campaigns through text messages.

A latest trend is towards voting through SMS lead by several reality shows on TV such as American Idol, where many countries al over the world have followed suit. The responses they get not only help them gain revenue through each SMS they receive but also help them in determining their popularity and viewership (Kaketsis, 2007).

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As much as mobile phones hold the potential for effective and targeted advertising, they are not as much exploited as they should be currently. For this reason, Nokia has embedded new services in the phones to hamper mobile advertising. One of these features enables the digital advertising specialists to create campaigns for cellphone-based media applications like music players and navigation systems which are more individualized features. This would allow the advertisers to reach directly their targeted customers. The other is related with web applications with the similar notion.

Conclusion

Advertising can never be stopped. One may squeeze it one way but it sprouts out enormously in another way because marketers are always looking for more and more ways of reaching target customers more effectively. Where DVRs tried to reduce the influence of advertisements, by giving the customers power to ignore ads, advertising sprung up via online means and also through wireless accessibility. The users of PDAs, SMSs, I-modes, etc are now being targeted by advertisers at an increasing rate. The newest trend is towards social networking advertising, where the youth is busy bedazzling their profiles with advertiser’s campaigns that are now moving towards more individualized advertising. However, when we talk about individualized marketing, the most effective medium has to be mobile phones. Although they are thought to be most effective medium, they are the least used one. But in future, with the increasing trends pointing towards their dependency for advertising, we can say that mobile phones are the next big thing in terms of individualized advertising for targeted customers, as they first and foremost provide the most reachable access to the customers. Why? Because every customer has it in their hand or pocket, just waiting to be touched by ads!

References

Chatterjee, P., (2009). Peer to Peer Advertising Through Social Networking Websites. Web.

Kaketsis, M., (2007). Mobile phone advertising: the next big thing. Web.

Locklear, F., (2004). DVRs poised to change advertising culture. ARS Technica.

Mccolum, J., (2009). 20% of Online Advertising is on Social Networks. Web.

Pfanner, E., (2007). Mobile phones are new frontier in advertising.

Otlacan, O. (2009). Advertising in the DVR Age.

Yunos, H., (2007). Wirelesss Advertising. Web.

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