McDonald's Begins Testing Mobile Coupons

BrandWeek is reporting on an exciting development in the mobile couponing space:

McDonald’s is dialing up mobile coupons for a regional test at 113 locations in Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. Consumers can receive one of the chain’s new iced coffees for free when they use a mobile coupon at participating stores between April 7-27.

So how does it work?

Customers are asked to go to or text “mcd” to 22888 to receive the application. Upon signing up, they receive a unique redemption code that consumers show the McDonald’s cashier. Once registered, they can receive future offers from other  merchants as well

Read more @ BrandWeek.

A First Look At Amazon's New SMS Purchasing System

Ars Technica has a first look at Amazon's recently announced SMS ordering system.  Some details about the system:

Amazon is still working on its goal of becoming your one-stop shop for anything, at any time or any place. Today, the company introduced TextBuyIt, a sort of SMS version of its 1-Click buying system. Users can send a text message to "AMAZON" (262966) with a product name, author, artist name, ISBN, or UPC code and receive the top two Amazon search results back almost instantly. From there, they can find out more information or simply make a purchase directly from their mobile phones. Although the process is a breeze on a smartphone, Amazon's real goal is to make buying easy for those with "plain old" mobile phones.

Head over to Ars to see some screenshots of the system in action on the author's iPhone.

"Digital signage as middle media platform"

Lyle Bunn has written an interesting piece for Digital Signage Today. His thesis:

Social networking. Bluetooth. Mobile commerce. Millennials visiting Web sites and extending music and TV.  Each of these are components in the next wave of the digital signage business model.
By extending display messaging to a personal device such as a cell phone, message engagement and brand interaction is significantly advanced. This advancement makes digital signage valuable for marketers and communicators wishing to extend ad display into brand engagement.

He gives us an example of this works with SMS Text Messaging:

SMS Text. Text codes presented in a digital ad could prompt the download of information, coupons or media such as ringtones, wallpaper or games. A text code could also enable a mobile commerce transaction. Mobile commerce provider mPoria reflects that the average mobile commerce transaction is $130 with conversion rates of .8-1.5 percent on mobile devices.

There is much more over at Digital Signage Today.

Mobile Marketing to reach $19 billion by 2012

The state of the market right now:

In 2007, mobile marketing reached just under $3 billion. The majority of the increase in spending will be through SMS or MMS messaging campaigns.

The prediction for the future:

Text messaging is expected to remain the highest ad placement for marketers because of emerging markets in Asia and India which do not support video, display and other mobile campaigns. Messaging is expected to account for more than $14 billion of the total $19 billion spent on mobile campaigns by 2012. Messaging campaigns accounted for $2.5 billion in mobile ad revenues in 2007. Text-based ads have a response rate of more than 10%.

Read more at BizReport.

Who Controls Short Codes?

RCR Wireless News has an interesting story about the battle brewing over just who should regulate Short Codes:

The controversy over whether the Federal Communications Commission should regulate short code-related text messaging has opened a floodgate of weighty policy questions — from network management to consumer protection to free speech — that could make resolution of the matter far more difficult than federal regulators and warring factions may have anticipated.

How did we get here?

Last year, NARAL Pro-Choice America bumped heads with Verizon Wireless after the carrier initially rejected its application for a short code it wanted to use to transmit wireless alerts to supporters. After the controversy gained national media attention, Verizon Wireless reversed course and gave the abortion-rights organization access to its network. Then Rebtel, a Voice over Internet Protocol firm that offers low-cost international calling on mobile phones, began to complain loudly about being turned down by Verizon Wireless, Alltel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. in requests to secure short code-enabled text messaging rights.

So how is this going to end? We'll just have to wait and see.
Read more @ RCR Wireless News.

"Mobile Marketing Is Here. Can You Hear Me Now?"

Adota has an opinion piece on the current state and the future of mobile marketing. Some highlights:

Predictions around the rise of the mobile marketing space have come fast and furious. eMarketer states that the U.S. mobile advertising market, which was $1billion in 2007, will grow to $5 billion in 2011. While these numbers are impressive, what the experts seem confused about is when the mobile marketing revolution will begin. Instead the pundits are focusing on “what’s to come,” not what is happening now. This is a mistake. Truth is, there is a great deal happening present day. Marketers should not sit and wait for a formal invitation before making their move.

So what is happening right now?

One example of how mobile marketing is already providing real results for many brands is their use of SMS (AKA text messaging), which allows for the sending of short 160 character messages to and from a mobile phone. 160 characters might not seem like much but when they are highly targeted AND personalized to each individual user, the message can be quite powerful. According to a January 2007 CTIA Report, 96% of all active cell phones in the U.S. can be reached using text-messaging (more than 220 million users). In fact, text messaging is the fastest growing communication channel in history worldwide and already has twice the reach of the Internet (Computer Industry Almanac 2006). These figures cannot be ignored and they are not; currently 89 percent of major brands have stated that they are planning to market via mobile phone text messaging by 2008.

Read more at Adota.

Cell Phone Boarding Passes Are Here

The New York Times recently ran an interesting story on the evolution of airline boarding passes:

First came the kiosk, a strange addition to airport terminals when Continental Airlines began offering it as a check-in option in 1995. It was followed by Web check-in, introduced by Alaska Airlines in 1999.

Now, with 80 percent of passengers using these self-service options, the next step is electronic boarding passes, which essentially turn the hand-held devices and mobile phones of travelers into their boarding passes.

Far off technology? Nope, it's already here:

[S]o far, Continental is the only carrier in the United States to begin testing the electronic passes, allowing those travelers to pass through security and board the plane without handling a piece of paper. Their boarding pass is an image of an encrypted bar code displayed on the phone’s screen, which can be scanned by gate agents and security personnel.

Read more at The New York Times.

HTC Developing Phone for Android (Google OS)

MobileCrunch has the scoop on HTC's upcoming phone, which will use Google's Android mobile operating system:

High Tech Computer (HTC) is developing a mobile phone that will use the open-source Android software created by Google for its operating system. The phone will be called Dream and have a large touchscreen and full QWERTY keypad. The handset is over 5 inches long and 3 inches wide and has a keypad that swivels out from underneath the screen.

So what will it be? A Google phone or an iPhone...

Wireless Spectrum Auction Raises $19 Billion

The New York Times reports on the recent wireless spectrum auction:

The government announced on Tuesday that it had closed the most lucrative government auction in history as wireless companies bid more than $19 billion for the rights to radio spectrum licenses.

In the coming days, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to publish a list of the winning companies. The major participants included AT&T, Verizon and Google, although many experts said they did not expect Google would bid much more than the minimum reserve price of $4 billion for one of the more attractive groups of licenses.

Why the mention of Google?

While Google was not expected to post a winning bid, it has already achieved an important victory by influencing the auction rules. The commission forced the major telephone companies to open their wireless networks to a broader array of telephone equipment and Internet applications. It remains to be seen whether a variety of technical and regulatory issues can be resolved to make the promise of more open networks a reality.

Well played Google, well played.

NBC Launches Mobile 'Law & Order' Game

Mobile gaming isn't just about selling games. NBC understands that it is about extending the brand:

Players work to solve the latest celebrity crime in New York, investigating the crime scene, interrogating witnesses and bringing their key suspect to trial. Cast members like Alana De La Garza offer advice and feedback to help move the case along, and mini-games like Warrant Race (where players rush to try to secure warrants) are also included.

"Creating mobile games based on popular television series like 'Law & Order' is one way NBC Universal is looking to extend our audiences' experience with the brand," said Jeremy Laws, senior vice president, mobile and broadband, Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group.

Read more @ OnlineMediaDaily.

Mobile Ticketing Takes Off

From the indispensable OnlineMediaDaily:

MORE THAN 2.6 BILLION MOBILE ticket transactions amounting to nearly $87 billion will be delivered to 208 million mobile users by 2011, according to a new study.

The report by Juniper Research found that the mobile ticketing business is gearing up for major launches in the next few years as early trials evolve into commercial services controlled by the ticketing issuers such as Ticketmaster and

Read more @ OnlineMediaDaily.

Social Networking Moves to the Cellphone

The NY Times has an interesting piece on the coming migration of social networks to mobile phones:

Social networks may be nothing new to habitués of the Internet. Several years of competition among Facebook, MySpace and Friendster have generated tens of millions of members.

But now the market is teeming with companies that want to bring the same phenomenon to the cellphone. There are so many “mobile social networking” upstarts, in fact, that when New Media Age magazine in Britain tried to identify the “ones to watch,” it ended up naming 10 companies.

What is so appealing about the mobile space?

The prize, as these start-ups see it, is the 3.3 billion cellphone subscribers, a number that far surpasses the total of Internet users. The advantage over computer-based communities, they believe, is the ability to know where a cellphone is, thanks to global positioning satellites and related technologies.

The market research company Informa Telecoms said in a report last month that about 50 million people, or about 2.3 percent of all mobile users, already use the cellphone for social networking, from chat services to multimedia sharing. The company forecast that the penetration rate would mushroom to at least 12.5 percent in five years.

Head over to the Times to read more.

Nielsen: Mobile Ads Reach 23 Percent of Users

Neilsen Mobile has a new study out on the state of mobile marketing; the numbers looks good:

Nearly a quarter of mobile users say they’ve encountered some sort of advertising on their mobile devices, despite the relatively small universe of mobile Internet users, says a new report issued by Nielsen Mobile.

Over the last 30 days, 58 million users reported being exposed to mobile advertising, or 23 percent of the total mobile audience, according to Nielsen’s bi-annual Mobile Advertising Report, which is based on a survey of over 22,000 active mobile data users (those who use phones for more than just phone calls). And while just 13.7 percent of mobile subscribers have accessed the mobile Internet--still the biggest source of mobile advertising, says Nielsen--users are finding ad messaging on their mobile devices in numerous ways.

So what do these numbers mean?

As for whether mobile advertising works, perhaps because they are well targeted, or perhaps because they still stand out in this uncluttered medium - currently, these ads are generating strong response rates, based on Nielsen’s report. In the past 30 days, 28 million users claim to have seen a mobile ad and responded to it in some fashion. Interestingly, the most popular response to a mobile ad was neither a click nor a call – but a text. Nielsen’s survey found that 26 percent of those who responded to mobile ads did by sending an SMS message.

Read more @ MediaWeek

Apple Set to Reveal Road to Third-Party iPhone Apps

Today is the day for the iPhone SDK:

At this point, it's still not clear whether Apple intends to officially release the SDK at Thursday's event or just make some announcement. At any rate, the SDK will be in programmers' hands soon, and analysts and developers expect a wide variety of applications to blossom in the coming months -- everything from photo-editing apps to motion-sensing games that take advantage of the device's orientation sensor.

The possibilities, as Mac developer Daniel Jalkut recently noted, will be limited only by developers' imaginations.

Those possibilities will be also influenced by a number of outstanding questions about Apple's planned app-distribution method, the vetting process it will use, and any iPhone access restrictions the company imposes on developers. The company is expected to provide answers to those questions as well on Thursday.

Even more important though:

At the very least, Thursday's SDK event will involve an announcement about new enterprise features for the iPhone, according to an invitation circulated last week.

While enterprise software may not be as sexy as movie and game apps, its inclusion could be huge for Apple's ability to meet its goal of 10 million iPhone sales by the end of the year.

By adding features like push e-mail and cultivating relationships with corporate-software vendors, Bajarin says, the iPhone could become one of the major communication platforms in business, making it much more competitive with the corporate-friendly BlackBerry.

Read more @ Wired News.


Elevate Church Text Messaging Case Study

Elevate Every now and then we like to highlight how our customers are using our SMS mobile marketing software in new and innovative ways. Today we look at Elevate, a forward-thinking church in Hawaii. While many churches, temples, and other religious groups have recently embraced text messaging, Elevate was one of our first customers to take advantage of the technology.

Objectives of Elevate's Mobile Marketing Campaign

Elevate is a Hawaii based church that exists to inspire a movement of caring and growing communities that fill Hilo and the nations of the earth with the worship of Jesus.

As a youth-focused, community-driven organization Elevate's outreach efforts extend far beyond the confines of a the traditonal church. As is common, many of its community members are constantly on the go, living hectic, modern lives. Elevate decided that a text messaging solution would allow them to quickly, effectively reach their members. Club Texting delivered that solution.

The Solution
Elevate signed up the church’s leaders, as well as members of the community. They built their text messaging list by highlighting their new SMS program at  community events and services. With a large list of subscribers in hand, they began to send out text messages, in order to achieve a number of goals:

  • Promoting Special Events: “REVO this sat. @ new venue: old farmer’s exchange – btwn downtown L&L & Sack n Save. Spread the word to everyone, REVO is on!!!
  • Promoting Church Campaigns: “tonight the ‘elevate africa’ vision plus another night of intense worship. come ready to shake things up!
  • Promoting Church Services / Prayer Groups: “gathering tonight @ hmc, pastor dwight on freedom, sweeeeet worship and lots of good fun at the café. See you there!"

The Results
Elevate continues to send text messages to its members on an almost weekly basis. As more and more people learn about and look forward to receiving these updates, Elevate's list is growing rapidly.

To learn more about text messaging solutions for churches, please visit Club Texting.

Study: Cell Phone Passes Land Line As Hardest To Give Up

How important is it to be marketing your message mobile-ly?

NEARLY TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS HAVE used mobile devices for things other than talking, according to a new study on mobile data usage by the Pew Internet Project.

The Pew report found that 58% of U.S. adults have used cell phones or PDAs for text-messaging, taking a picture, looking for directions or surfing the Web. A full 62% have either used a mobile data service or logged onto the Internet via a laptop away from home or work or via a handheld device.

Text-messaging and taking a photo were easily the most popular non-voice activities, with 58% of mobile users doing both at least once. Playing a game (27%), sending e-mail (19%) and accessing the Web for news, weather and other information (19%), rounded out the top five.

All good things to hear...but how do they feel about their mobile phones?

It also showed for the first time that the cell phone would be the hardest communications technology for people to give up. More than half (51%) said it would be very hard to give up their cell phone, compared to only 38% in 2002.

"Even in 2006, the landline phone was still the most difficult device for people to do without," said John Horrigan, associate director of research for the Pew Internet Project. Underscoring the premium placed on mobility, the cellphone now also trumps the Internet, TV, e-mail and the BlackBerry or a wireless e-mail device.

Head over OnlineMediaDaily for more insights from the report.

Marketing Feedback Cards Go Digital Via Cell Phones

Here is a very interesting story from MediaPost, about a, well, non-traditional use of text messages:

WALK INTO ANY APPLE, JCPENNEY, Sony, or Wal-Mart store and provide instant feedback on products via text messages from cell phones. That's the long-term vision of Glenn Allison, who along with several other Northwestern University graduate students co-founded tech startup Mimieo to develop software applications for marketers.

It may be a long-term vision, but they've already got the technology in place:

The most recent, an online and mobile poll, asked consumers to rank how well they liked the entertainment value of each ad during the Academy Awards, and whether they were more or less likely to purchase the product after seeing the commercial.

On Oscar night, a panel of graduate students analyzed the data from polls and has published a report on the findings. High marks were awarded by viewers to JCPenney, MasterCard, Coca-Cola, and L'Oreal.

JCPenney introduced the American Living brand. The ads gave glimpses into American life, and a new brand catering to "family and home." A high percentage of both men and women enjoyed the ads, and indications of their preference for the brand increased. Mastercard's "Studious Pupil" commercial was one of the most entertaining. The ad featured a twenty-something guy in a shrunken shirt and red tie "searching for the priceless things in life."

The commercial got favorable responses from poll respondents, and ranked high in entertainment value, particularly among Facebook users. Coca-Cola and L'Oreal were winners, too, according to Allison. Consumers could vote through Facebook online and Apple's iPhone.

Read more at MarketingDaily.

Inaugural Text Messaging Competition Selects Non-Profit Winners From Kenya, Uganda, Mexico and Azerbaijan

Text Messaging isn't all about business:

Mobile technology organisation today announced the winners of nGOmobile, a competition aimed at encouraging grassroots non-profits in the developing world think about how they could benefit from text messaging in their work.
Grassroots NGOs around the world were invited to submit short project ideas explaining how greater access to mobile technology - and SMS text messaging in particular - would benefit them and their work.

The top four entries, selected by a panel of distinguished judges, are being awarded a brand new Hewlett Packard laptop computer, two Nokia mobile phones, a GSM modem,'s own entry-level text messaging platform - FrontlineSMS - and a cash prize of US$1,000.

Read the entire release here.

Flat Rate Plans To Spur Growth In Mobile Advertising?

MediaPost's OnlineMediaDaily reports:

THE MOVE TOWARD FLAT-RATE, UNLIMITED calling plans by three of the major U.S. wireless carriers this week could help spur the growth of mobile media and advertising, say industry analysts and mobile marketing executives.

They view the unlimited $100 voice plans announced in succession by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile as fostering greater usage, and as a step toward all-you-can-eat offers that will eventually include data services. That would help turn the cell phone into a more ad-friendly platform as more people download content, send text messages and surf the mobile Web.

Unlimited data plans, coupled with the iPhone effect, could be a game changer.

The iPhone Is Changing Everything

Last week the Financial Times published an article about the iPhone, and some surprising data that Google uncovered. What Google found is stunning:

Google on Wednesday said it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple‘s iPhone than any other mobile handset, adding weight to the group’s confidence at being able to generate significant revenues from the mobile internet.

“We thought it was a mistake and made our engineers check the logs again,” Vic Gundotra, head of Google’s mobile operations told the Financial Times at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The iPhone represents the future of the mobile device market. As soon as device manufacturers  figure out how to produce phones as intuitive and web-friendly as the iPhone, we should see a dramatic shift in the way consumers use their phones, and in turn, the web. Google is confident that this is going to happen:

If the trend continues and other handset manufacturers follow Apple’s lead in making web access easy, the number of mobile searches will overtake fixed internet searches “within the next several years”, Mr Gundotra said.

Read the entire article @ the Financial Times.


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