Cheaper Cell Service -- For the Price of Eyeballs

Just like traditional marketing practices in print media where newspapers and magazines can afford to sell copies inexpensively, the same manner is expected to happen in the telco industry space once it does digital marketing -- the modern advertising technique via the Internet and mobile phone devices.

"If telcos will get revenue from mobile marketing ads, the more they can lower subscription rates to customers," said Emmanuel Allix, managing director of mobile advertising firm Pudding Media (Asia Pacific), during an interview with Computerworld Philippines.

"Mobile marketing through SMS (short messaging system) will definitely bring mobile costs down and it won't add up to consumer costs because telcos will get revenue from advertisers," he said.

Allix said that with a telco's adoption of digital marketing, it can be compared to a print media who can place a more affordable price in its copy since it gets revenues from advertising. "A magazine for example would surely be more expensive if it doesn't have advertisements on it. And for telcos, if they get revenue from mobile marketing ads, they could lower subscription costs on users."

Allix said mobile marketing is the way to go for companies and telcos in today's global financial crisis, especially in the Philippines which is known to be the "No. 1 SMS Country" in the world having about 63 million mobile phone users that send over two billion SMS messages per day. He said mobile phone users globally are four times larger than PC users or Internet users, which is estimated at one billion.

Allix said for mobile marketing firms like Pudding Media, they enable Telcos to monetize mobile inventory.

"Through simple mobile phone functions like ring tones when someone is calling or when you're receiving text messages, we can insert ads of businesses. And ours is even non-intrusive, permission-based. It is both opt-in and opt-out," he said, adding that cellpone subscribers will have control on what type of ads or business or company services updates they want to receive.

Allix describes the Philippines as a "very attractive and compatible market" for digital advertising.

However, according to Danilo Eguia, secretariat manager of Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP), although ad revenues is reported to be about US $3 billion in the Philippines per year, only 1 per cent of it belongs to digital marketing.

"Mobile marketing definitely has a huge opportunity here in the Philippines. Not only large companies can benefit from it but also SMEs since digital marketing is more direct and cost effective. You can really target your potential customers," Eguia said.

IMMAP on Tuesday conducted its 3rd Internet & Mobile Marketing Summit at the SMX convention center in Manila where it identified the Internet and mobile phone users as the two fastest growing advertising mediums in the Philippines. IMMAP described digital marketing as a "measurable and results-driven marketing."

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