VH1 has teamed up with Operation Smile, who are featured in several episodes of the series, to encourage consumers to share their smile to create a smile mosaic and raise money to give children all over the world the smile they deserve.  All smiles collected via mobile messaging, online uploads and street marketing will become part of a mosaic composite featuring photos from “Jessica Simpson’s The Price of Beauty.”   The mosaic will live online at VH1smile.com.  People can also send a photo of their smile using their mobile phones using the code 80366.

For every smile shared, $1 will be donated to Operation Smile by VH1 up to $10,000.  In addition, consumers will be encouraged to donate to Operation Smile on their own by texting SMILE to 90999 to donate $5 automatically.  They can also go to OperationSmile.org to donate.  Operation Smile is a not-for-profit that performs life-changing surgery on children with facial deformities worldwide.

Overall, this is a pretty well integrated marketing effort. In terms of best practices, you should always integrate mobile into a larger marketing plan, not just rely on the one channel by itself. Furthermore, this is a very good example of how social and mobile marketing intersect. I would not be surprised to see some very impressive numbers come out of this campaign.

MINNEAPOLIS (Wednesday, March 10, 2010) – Target is the first national retailer to offer a scannable mobile coupon program that allows guests to receive exclusive offers directly on their mobile phones. Coupons are redeemed by scanning a barcode on the phone at checkout. “At Target, we know that mobile phones are an integral part of our guests’ lives, and mobile coupons are just another way we’re providing convenient, on-the-go shopping solutions,” said Steve Eastman, president of Target.com.

Guests can opt-in to the program on their PC at Target.com/mobile, on their phone at m.target.com or by texting COUPONS to 827438 (TARGET). After opt-in, guests receive a text message with a link to a mobile Web page that contains multiple offers, all accessible through a single barcode. Offers are single use and expire on the date listed. Target’s point-of-sale scanning technology makes mobile coupons possible, and Target is the first major retailer with the ability to scan mobile barcodes in all of its stores. A leader in mobile retail, Target continues to offer innovative mobile solutions for guests. In addition to using the new mobile coupons, Target guests can access their Target Mobile GiftCards, view online assortments, check product availability and store locations, manage their Target gift registry and lists, browse the weekly ad, and receive text and e-mail notifications of great deals – all via their mobile phones.

Feature phones vs Smartphones
Feature phone
No HTML table support
Single column
Make them light – Restrict to 20kb/page

Smartphones – (iPhone and BlackBerry Phones)
Support for HTML Tables, multi-column
Generous use of graphic images (generally restricting to 20 kb/page) Portrait and landscape mode
Take advantage of dynamic html and javascript

Best Practices
Avoid horizontal scroll bar – architect the site so that the elements on each page do not exceed maximum display width
Use of device detection/dimension detection and stylesheets
Standard device widths of 320, 240, 176, 128
Vertical scroll bar takes up 10 – 20 pixels, depending on the device
320 may mean 300 useable space, 240 may mean 220 usable space

Download here.

From Matt Silk, SVP of mobile messaging company Waterfall Mobile

“Geofencing” is a specific use case within the realm of location. You need to be locating a phone (with high frequency) to trigger a geofence, because one is totally dependent on the other. Same goes for the “range search” functionality. Range searching means sending a message to all phones within X meters of location Y.  Again, range search requires either high frequency pinging (aka tracking) so you know where the phones are at a given time, or a single massive “locate everyone” investment. In other words, both geofencing and range search depend on frequent location pinging.

High frequency location pinging has implications on device battery life. That’s certainly a downside. The end user has to download a tag [an app that runs in the background of smartphones to provide updated location info] which is also a downside. Also, device coverage is limited here; while the number of smartphones or open handsets is growing quickly, it’s not near a majority.

However, if the end user has controls to manage his or her privacy and they have visibility into how their location is being used and which brands can track them, and when they get messages, you can envision a whole new ecosystem of brands giving their customers incentives to be tracked. The brand says, “we can send you more relevant, highly contextual messages about deals, etc. if we know where you are.” The users either will or will not accept those terms. The benefit is that brands develop location profiles of their customers, and customers get better service.

In the near term, a good middle ground for marketers is pinging the carrier networks for real-time location prior to doing a marketing blast, and then tailoring the outbound messages accordingly. Take a big retailer for example: they could craft a blast for their entire list, with default, generic messages for people not near a store. People near a store get a very targeted message, and everyone else gets the normal marketing message.”

From techblogstoday.com

In the battle of the network superstars between free-to-stream, ad-supported video (the Hulu model) and pay-per-show, ad-free TV (the iTunes model), there’s been a big missing piece: how to monetize shows and sell ads for content that’s downloaded and played on mobile devices like the iPad? Obviously, it’s a better deal for the user if they can watch at will, without having to maintain network connectivity on the go (to say nothing of the streaming quality, or lack thereof, when connected over 3G), but making sure they see the ads in the content — and reporting back to advertisers who want to know who watched what — is much more challenging for anywhere, anytime viewers.

Wherever there’s trouble, they’re there on the double: the Bloodhound Gang known as Apple’s engineering team has a patent application that may offer a way forward. First filed in September of 2008 and made public on March 4, this patent received a thorough analysis over at Patently Apple. The core idea: watch a block of ads to ‘unlock’ the next segment of video content, not unlike the way most network streaming sites appear to work now. The difference is in the implementation, reporting and controlling how the ads appear and which content is freed up. Users might be able to ‘pay past’ the ads, or watch them all at the beginning of the program to deliver a more seamless viewing session.

More intriguingly, Apple’s patents suggest that advertisers can require or customize a particular level & kind of user interaction that will be embedded in the ad experience, requiring viewers to engage on some level before proceeding to the next segment (thereby ensuring that they’re paying attention and not off making a snack). That would be something of a Holy Grail for advertisers who fear that their messaging is getting lost in the TiVo/DVR ‘just skip it’ timeshifting era.

Combined with the October 2009 patent regarding ad-subsidized hardware platforms, which lists Steve Jobs and Mike Matas among its co-inventors, and it’s looking like we might be moving towards a future where that $499 iPad can be had for a fantastic, subsidized price of $199… if you accept a certain level of embedded and un-skippable advertising alongside your media and mobility experience. “Magical & revolutionary,” you betcha. The idea of power-ads taking over your media playback might not bother everyone, but if you buy Fake Steve’s argument, that’s where the $30/month TV subscription plan comes in. Can’t take the ads? Just pay to play.

Saw this article today from MediaPost which interviewed David Katz, vice president, Yahoo Mobile North America. In it he’s asked about the Morgan Stanley report where Yahoo is called out as having an “unclear” mobile strategy. His response is actually kind of humorous. “Yahoo’s mobile strategy is straightforward — deliver engaging, useful and relevant Yahoo experiences to our users on the mobile devices across multiple platforms. We make key experiences available for both high-end devices like iPhone, BlackBerry and Android and more basic devices.”

I’m not exactly sure what a “Yahoo Experience” is, which is the primary problem But it begs the question: How good is YOUR mobile strategy? Here are four things you definitely want to make sure of when designing your mobile strategy.

1. If your mobile strategy is going to take a year to get off the ground, then you need to re-think it. By no means am I advocating that people blindly jump in, but I guarantee that whatever it is your looking for e.g. increased engagement, metrics, sales, etc. you’ll miss most of it by waiting too long. The mobile data that we’re all using to make informed decisions changes every month. So by the time you get your program off the ground, the data that you used is probably obsolete.

2. If you’re not connecting your mobile marketing efforts to a database, then you’re you’re missing an important piece of the puzzle. All the cool things that you hear about in the mobile space, e.g. shoppers taking automatically receiving coupons in grocery stores for their favorite foods, rely on opt-in marketing programs. Database marketing is something that direct marketing professionals have been doing for years and for good reason. It’s how they measure and prove that what’ they’re doing works. Moreover, you they’re nurturing a list of names and numbers that can be retargeted. So, in  general, don’t chase mobile technologies that don’t allow for some kind of data capture.

3. Make sure you integrate your mobile efforts into your larger marketing efforts. Too many people become infatuated with the mobile channel and lose sight of the overall customer experience. Moreover, most mobile efforts, like SMS campaigns for example, need awareness drivers such as advertising, packaging or out-of-home displays. Make sure your mobile efforts are tied into the overall marketing calendar.

4. Last, and certainly not least, make sure that WHATEVER you’re doing is MMA compliant. That means you have the appropriate disclaimers in your mobile marketing. It means using the industry mandatory double opt-in process when building your database. And it definitely means respecting that fact that the mobile phone is a personal device, not just another email account with a junk mail filter. There’s no quicker way to lose customers than by sending them irrelevant and meaningless marketing messages.

This video is awesome. The first one I’ve seen that really gives you an idea of where mobile content is going. It’s a great example of what happens when you take two great companies: Wired Magazine and Adobe and create a completely new way of engaging with content—even for advertisers. So what can advertisers look forward to? Here’s some things to think about:

The concept enables — in digital form — the immersive content experience magazines are known for, and allows new interactive features to stimulate reader engagement, including:

  • content designed specifically for the touch screen experience
  • easy navigation methods, including an innovative zoomed-out “Browse Mode”
  • the ability to browse image slideshows
  • embedded 360 degree object viewers
  • support for video and audio content
  • the ability to rotate content using device accelerometer functionality

In addition, with this digital magazine concept, advertisers have new possibilities for displaying ad content. Advertisers can develop rich-media magazine “inserts” to provide expanded information to customers directly within the magazine experience — without directing the reader’s attention away to a Web site. Publishers can also offer expanded ad formats that include animation and embedded video. Finally, as is the case with most digital advertising, this new magazine concept opens the possibility for more precise advertising performance metrics beyond the comparatively crude audience measurement/ad engagement techniques in use today.

Top level summary. Download full report at Admob

* Android and iPhone users download a similar number of apps every month and spend a similar amount of time using the apps. However, some differences between the platforms still exist. Only 21% of Android users purchase at least 1 paid app per month, compared to 24% of webOS users, 35% of iPod touch users and 50% of iPhone users.

* iPod touch users download an average of 12 apps a month, 37% more apps than iPhone and Android users. iPod touch users also spent 100 minutes a day using apps, 25% more time than iPhone and Android users.

* 73% of Android users are male, compared to 58% of webOS users, 57% of iPhone users and 54% iPod touch users. The iPhone, iPod touch and webOS have similar gender distributions, with just over half of the users on all devices being male.

* iPod touch users skew considerably younger relative to other platforms and devices. Based on the survey, 78% of iPod touch users are below the age of 25, compared to 25% of iPhone users and 24% of Android and webOS users.

* 16% of iPhone users said they intend to purchase an iPad, compared to 11% of webOS users and only 6% of Android users. Approximately the same percentage of Android users were interested in purchasing the Amazon Kindle as were interested in purchasing the iPad.

* 91% of iPhone users and 88% of iPod touch users would recommend their device, compared to 84% of Android users and 69% of webOS users. webOS users are 3.4x more likely to not recommend their device relative to iPhone OS users.

* Worldwide requests increased 32% month over month to 15.2 billion in January.

The rapid evolution of mobile phones, both on a hardware and a software level, combined with a surge in application storefront releases  could drive revenues from mobile location-based services to more than $12.7 billion by 2014, according to a new report published by Juniper Research.

While service usage will be highest in Far East China over the next few years, greatest revenues will come from Western Europe, Juniper forecasts. Revenues will come from sales of apps through application stores and other channels, but also from mobile advertising tied to those apps. In fact, the Juniper report notes that advertising will likely form an increasing share of MLBS-related revenues over the next five years.

But, let’s take a step back and see how location-based mobile marketing works. Essentially you set up a “Geo Fence” with a company like 1020 Placecast which is typically a half mile or one mile radius around a storefront. Anyone within that radius receives an SMS message (usually with a coupon or something) driving them to the desired store. Of course, any SMS campaign does have to implement the double opt-in process, which retailers cannot overlook. But, the results of geo location campaigns are typically good largerly due to their inherent relevancy. Relevancy targeting can include weather, traffic, demographics or psychographics for a particular area or events going on at a particular time to increase the relevancy of the message being delivered. And the campaigns provide retail stores with foot traffic and beef up their mobile databases, which can be used later.

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