Australian carrier Optus launches mobile ad strategy

 In advertising

I was drawn to this story from a post at mUmBRELLA.  According to the lovely Natalie Apostolou at Digital Media magazine,  Optus has entered the mobile advertising game, completing its first significant pilot campaign with client McDonalds over December to over 100 customers.

Quoting the story below:

Optus General Manager content and portals Mark Mulder, revealed to Digital Media that the carrier was committed to mobile advertising with the launch of a cross platform -mobile and fixed -solution for advertisers, launched to industry this week.

Mulder said that while a lot of head way had been made in terms of industry standards and user understanding of mobile marketing in Australia, it was still a “nascent” market and had at least a year of further industry development to go through. Optus has been working closely with parent SingTel on the project and will use its experience in the Australia market for deployments across the Asia Pacific.

The new product offering across fixed and mobile will offer advertisers the opportunity to leverage online campaigns with more targeted mobile offerings and vice versa.

“Advertisers want reach and relevance, online will provide the reach and mobile offers increasing relevance for strongly targeted campaigns,” Mulder said.

Optus has appointed digital sales agency 3D Axis as its first sales partner for the offering and will consider developing an in-house mobile advertising sales team as the market matures.

The focus on mobile advertising coincides with Opus hefty investment in its Optus Zoo mobile portal which features a higher level of engagement and personalisation with users. The new look Optus Zoo mobile portal was soft launched in December and attempts to garner more information form customers in order to target personalised content and eventually advertising direct to their handsets. Further enhancements will be launched progressively over the next few months.

Mulder said that the stall in take–up of mobile advertising in Australia was caused by a lack of standardisation at an industry level and a lack of sophistication in terms of leveraging mobile user’s unique data, with personalisation being key. He added that it was still a struggle to sell the mobile advertising proposition to media agencies as a stand alone offering, but was optimistic that the sentiment would be soon shifting. While predicting that mobile advertising would not gain mainstream traction for agencies and marketers until 2010, Mulder forecast that the recession prove to have “a positive effect of the digital industry forcing advertising to shift their advertising spend towards digital media in an accelerated fashion.”

Mulder said that over 100,000 existing Optus mobile customer have signed up to the new Zoo portal over summer so far. The carrier will launch a “personalise and win” campaign in February to its customer base in a bid to heavily market the new portal offering.

London Calling comment: Interesting to see one of the carriers I worked for in Australia in the late 90’s is finally entering the mobile advertising space.  Not surprisingly, the issues Optus identified as barriers to take-up are still present in the UK/EU market – namely those of standardisation at an industry level and a lack of sophistication in terms of leveraging mobile user’s unique data.

Mark Mulder of Optus mentions that personalisation is key – and this is where mobile operators have the upper hand – they can ASK their mobile consumers their preference – and in turn deliver relevant and useful mobile advertising.  It is also interesting to see that to get “reach and relevance” they will use a mix of online and mobile – smart move.

Mark’s comment that the recession may prove to have “a positive effect of the digital industry forcing advertising to shift their advertising spend towards digital media in an accelerated fashion.” is something echoed here in Europe.

UK operators should take note of the competition Optus is running called “personalise and win” that will help drive users to set their preferences – and hence start a dialogue with Optus about what their interests are – information brands and agencies need to effectively advertise via the mobile channel.

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.