Wednesday, May 16, 2007

AOL Enters Mobile Advertising with Third Screen Acquisition

More news from the mobile marketing front: AOL yesterday announced it had acquired Third Screen Media, which will operate as part of its subsidiary. Third Screen runs a mobile advertising network and provides tools for advertisers, publishers and carriers to research, place, administer and report on mobile ads.

Basically this illustrates the continued convergence of mobile with other digital advertising. It doesn’t explicitly address the unique capabilities offered by mobile—individual (tied to a person), local (tied to current physical location), continuous (always-on). Nor does it address interactions across those channels, such as using email, Web and mobile in the same campaign. In other words, it’s about advertising, not messaging.

Ultimately, messaging is likely to be more effective than advertising. By messaging, I mean two-way interactions with customers. Messaging is more work for marketers: they have to develop useful programs and keep them running, and probably change them fairly frequently to keep customers involved. It might help to look for messaging programs that add real value (e.g., price alerts, online coupons) rather than simple marketing promotions that attract participants largely by being entertaining.

Advertising is still needed to find customers to join messaging programs. So the two are complementary, not competitive. But it would be easy for marketers to consider advertising enough by itself. That would be a huge waste of the potential of the mobile medium.

1 comment:

merben said...

Interesting. Mobile advertising and Internet advertising seems to be good ways of earning money these days. AOl is also trying to keep up with Yahoo and Google by making this move.