Media: Double Standards -'Our biggest challenge is turning hype into reality'

Seeing as most of us are loath to part with our mobile phones, the potential for advertising on them is obviously huge. Two experts explain how the sector is evolving.

RICHARD SAGGERS - head of mobile advertising, Vodafone Group; chair, Mobile Marketing Association EMEA

- Which advertisers are using mobile advertising?

A variety of advertisers from Mercedes and Peugeot to 20th Century Fox and Volkswagen. They all recognise the value that mobile brings to their campaigns.

- What are the opportunities for advertisers on mobile?

Huge. Mobile is unique in its ability to personalise advertising to an individual's preferences. Mobile moves advertising on from the traditional banner ads to looking much more closely at subsidised services and other "higher value" advertising opportunities. The mobile also lends itself well to new models of advertising - be that frequency capping, time of day or location.

- Are there guidelines and regulations for mobile advertising?

Yes, mostly through self-regulation. The mobile industry has led the way in a number of areas of self-regulation and we would expect the same rigour in advertising. In my role as the chair of the EMEA chapter of the MMA, we're also pushing for wide acceptance of industry standards - at the point where mobile advertising is nascent, making it easy for buyers and agencies to advertise on mobile.

- Do consumers like to receive advertising on their mobile phones?

Research says "yes", so long as it's relevant and they get something in return. We surveyed customers across Europe and found the responses broadly similar in all markets. The greater the relevance and perceived value, the more accepting customers were of the advertising.

- How are you and the mobile industry driving growth in mobile advertising?

We're taking a holistic view of this. It's in our interests to grow the whole industry, pushing for common standards and playing an active part. We're also building examples of best practice and focusing on creating metrics and measures that are widely understood and recognised by brands and advertisers. As a global organisation, we are looking to lead the way.

- What is the biggest challenge for the mobile advertising sector?

In the short term, it is ensuring we all work to common standards and that the various mobile bodies work together to grow this industry. More generally, it's about managing the hype that surrounds mobile advertising. We need to ensure this market is developed responsibly.

- What sorts of challenges does mobile advertising present to media and advertising agencies?

It's a uniquely personal medium and the work needs to reflect that. It's not always about re-purposing other digital campaigns. Many times, the challenges lie in effectively integrating mobile into a full media campaign. This means fully understanding the power of the mobile, its unique attributes and how customers interact with it.

- What sorts of new features can we expect on mobile phones over the next year?

Anything that delivers benefit to the customer. In the UK, we have just seen the launch of the Mobile Internet service - offering simple pricing and a great product.

- What ringtone do you have?

Ringing phone (the old one).

STEVE RICKETTS - head of mobile advertising, Orange

- Which advertisers are using mobile advertising?

Currently, BMW, Adidas, Samsung and other such brands advertise on Orange World, our mobile internet portal.

- What are the opportunities for advertisers on mobile?

Advertisers can target a very specific audience because phones are very personal devices that are usually switched on and kept in their owners' pockets. Around 23 per cent of our customers purchased, or were more likely to purchase, a product having seen it advertised on Orange World. We surveyed a number of customers who saw ads on the portal and more than half recalled the brands unprompted. By offering a range of formats to advertisers such as banner advertising, search, video and messaging, clients can target potential customers in a number of different ways.

- Are there guidelines and regulations for mobile advertising?

Mobile advertising is governed by normal UK laws and regulation. Orange is both a media owner and a network, so we want to build a long-term future for mobile advertising and are constantly reviewing the regulatory landscape to ensure it works for both advertisers and customers.

- Do consumers like to receive advertising on their mobile phones?

The response from customers has shown more than just an acceptance, there's a real appetite for it. More than 50 per cent questioned in a survey said they would be happy to see even more advertising on their mobiles. Compare this with a ratio of just one in ten for TV, and you can begin to realise the huge potential in mobile advertising. We believe it's so successful on Orange World because our ads are relevant, engaging and interactive. However, it is a very personal medium, so it has a great opportunity to irritate. Therefore, we work really hard to get it right.

- How are you and the mobile industry driving growth in mobile advertising?

Orange works with industry bodies such as the MMA, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the GSM Association. We are also busy building case studies and sharing this with partners to do our bit to stimulate growth in the industry. We act both as a media owner and an enabler with tools such as location look-ups and mobile payment to help drive wider mobile marketing initiatives.

- What is the biggest challenge for the mobile advertising sector?

Our biggest challenge by far is turning the current hype associated with our industry into reality. We are continually improving the customer experience and, in time, we will inevitably see an even greater cultural shift towards mobile advertising.

- What sorts of challenges does mobile advertising present to media and advertising agencies?

If they haven't done so already, agencies need to get to grips with the raft of mobile advertising-related technology, from SMS and MMS to mobile internet standards and location-based services. Mobile brings with it a different range of challenges and formats to web or other new media. On top of that, there is a wide range of uses, devices and platforms to be acquainted with.

- What sorts of new features can we expect on mobile phones over the next year?

Now that would be telling ...

- What ringtone do you have?

A subtle beep, as it rarely leaves me during the day.