How To Get Started With Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is now considered the 7th mass media channel after print, recordings, cinema, radio, TV, and the internet. So with this new mass media channel, the question is what’s the best way to approach marketing to users of mobile devices?

A brief history of mobile marketing

Marketing to mobile devices is widely believed to have started in the year 2000 with text message/SMS news services that were free but sponsored by advertising. This evolved into mass promotion of events and alerts with even recent claims of “more than 100% response rate” by Marc Hyatt of Txtlocal, thanks to the viral effects of users forwarding messages to others.

SMS advertising, like forms of email marketing, can often be obtrusive and annoying, with the added inconvenience of costing users money based on their mobile service’s inbound SMS rates. As such, it remains more effective as a “pull” medium rather than a “push” one, such as a means for polling or voting for programs like American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.

Mobile applications also began appearing in 2000 from Handmark. But apps didn’t really become mainstream for in-application advertising until Apple’s App Store for the iPhone arrived in 2008.

Android, Blackberry, Symbian, along with the iPhone and iPad have advanced mobile web browsing to near mainstream use as the February Nielsen Mobile Report affirmed there are now over 72 million mobile web users in the United States.

millennial media nielson mobile web

Are we there yet?

Mobile has been touted repeatedly at conferences over the past few years as the next big thing for marketing years. However, most predictions were based on traffic charts and pretty graphics with gaudy numbers, while ROI and tangible mobile marketing results were often missing from these chipper forecasts.

So where does this leave marketers in getting any real value with such a limited viewing real estate on mobile devices, often less than 4 inches?

Here are some of the main services a business can use to implement a mobile marketing strategy:

  • Admob
    Currently, the largest mobile advertising service; Google wants to buy the company and is awaiting FTC approval.
  • AdMozi
    This relative newcomer provides full screen mobile ads.
  • GoldSpot Media
    Focusing on rich media and video mobile ads.
  • Google AdSense for Mobile
    Google application advertising.
  • InMobi
    Focusing on mobile website advertising.
  • JumpTap
    Ad network of mobile sites and applications.
  • MDotM
    Android and iPhone/iPad application advertising network.
  • Millenial Media
    High end mobile advertising networks and toolset.
  • Mobclix
    Largest mobile ad exchange network.
  • Mojiva
    Advertising on news, sports, entertainment and gaming mobile sites.
  • Quattro Wireless
    Full spectrum mobile advertising service which was acquired by Apple to become iAd.
  • Rapid Mobile
    Full spectrum mobile advertising including SMS/MMS.
  • Smaato
    Mobile advertising platform aggregator.
  • Velti
    Focusing on SMS mobile advertising.

AdWhirl is a great service that now combines many of these advertising options for the developers themselves in a one stop shop mediation solution.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | How To: Mobile Marketing | Search Marketing: Mobile


About The Author: is a SEO Manager at Covario, SEO course instructor at San Diego State University, contributor to The Art of SEO : Mastering Search Engine Optimization published by O’Reilly and owner of Mobile Martin based out of San Diego, California.

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  • ComboApp

    After watching the presentation Apple did for iAd I do think it will be a game changer for mobile marketing precisely by the reason Steve Jobs laid out – ads should not take a user away from app and iAd will do a job to expose an ad within an app.

  • CB711

    Good piece, Michael. I think it’s important to keep in mind the type of mobile device the consumer is using. Not all consumers have smartphones or phones equipped with mobile web. Check out these additional mobile marketing insights:

  • JoshEzt

    Good stuff here. If you’re interested in the SMS side of mobile marketing we put together a guide a few months back entitled, appropriately, ‘Mobile Marketing With Text Messaging.’ It goes into greater depth on this one aspect of mobile marketing, with careful attention paid to the mentioned issue of push vs. pull.

    Check it out in HTML or PDF for printing @

  • Michael Martin


    iAd does look VERY impressive & this is coming from someone that is not an Apple fan while I hope that the FTC allows the AdMob purchase for Google to have a proper alternative.

    You also hit the nail on the head that its imperative for sales that purchases are done easily & seamlessly within the app itself if at all possible.

    @CB711 & @JoshEzt

    You are correct as this was tailored more for the growing smartphone market which is why SMS/MMS is still an effective, if done intelligently, mobile marketing technique that applies to all phones.

    ,Michael Martin

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