South Africa: Mobile Advertising Showing Real Results

Technology & Convergence

The mobile advertising space is starting to see important growth and is likely to explode in the run up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Internationally, mobile advertising and branding campaigns are starting to show significant results.

According to a report on an Adidas campaign posted on the business-to-business media website, an internal branding study showed a 69% increase in intent to purchase Adidas products, with 87.5% of people who saw the campaign interacting with the ad on their handheld devices.

Targeting boys and girls aged 13 -19, the ad features well-known basketball stars positioning the concept that Basketball is a Brotherhood. Mobile viewers who clicked on a text ad posted on various mobile websites (mobisites) were sent to a specially built mobisite where they could choose from a handful of options, which included calling one of the stars, tailored voicemail on their phones from the stars, specialised ringtones, and wallpaper.

Five million mobile impressions on ads for the Adidas mobisite drove 75 000 page views to the mobisite in the first week, and some 8000 people opted in, providing their cellphone numbers. About a thousand of those people clicked to call one of the stars, Kevin Garnett, and 18% of those called him again. The research also found that mobile outperformed all other media for driving opt-ins at a fraction of the cost.

A JackMyers survey of 500 teens in the US States aged 15 - 17 found that 37% viewed news and/or sports videos on their cellphones and were likely to pay attention to video advertising on cellphones, while 31% were likely to pay attention to text advertising on cellphones.

In a similar campaign to the Adidas Basketball is a Brotherhood campaign, Nike ran a campaign locally on Vodacom's VLive! Portal around 'using your body as a weapon' (

JackMyers Media BusinessReport projects mobile advertising will increase 120% to US$1.1 billion in 2008 and 120% again in 2009 to US$2.44 billion. In contrast, newspaper advertising in the US was expected to decline over 2008 and 2009, while broadcast network TV and radio advertising were expected to start declining in 2009.

Online advertising is the only other big grower in the US and was expected to grow by 24% in 2008 and 28.5% in 2009.

Mobile advertising is therefore on the cusp of huge growth. Given the low Internet penetration stats in SA, the large mobile base of subscribers and the fact that Vodacom launched a mobile advertising unit in 2007, SA is poised to see mobile advertising take off in the run up to the World Cup.

(Biz-Community (Cape Town), 29 February 2008)