“Moving Targets” – The Economist


In the light of today’s lecture, and the rise of mobile advertising, lasts weeks ‘The Economist’ is a good read. It contains a special about technology and advertising. One of the articles is about what advertisers love, and what they hate, about mobile devices.

The article describes the rise of several new advertising methods for the mobile platform using new technologies that are connected to mobile phones. The use of mobiles has been increasing in the last few years, and will continue to increase. The tipping point of time spend on a mobile phone versus spend on a desktop will be reached in the US, and is expected to be reached in 2015 in the UK. Global spending on mobile advertising is growing.

One of the options for new advertising possibilities is Geofencing. This technology allows advertisers to reach users within a particular area. The shampoo company Pantene is using this technology to target their customers, based on weather details of their area and a shampoo that matches those surroundings. Another location-based technology are beacons, small devices that communicate with devices nearby through radio signals. Companies like Tesco and Duane Reade, to send coupons and offer mapping through large stores, already use this technology. Another possibility for advertisers is the voice recognition function of mobile phones. This allows people to ‘talk back’ to advertisements, which can create interaction with a customer.

These new possibilities seem exciting but should be considered cautiously by advertisers. The limits of mobile phones for advertisers are the small screen sizes, which makes it hard to specify advertisements. The line between content and advertising is getting less distinct, which could possibly be considered as annoying by customers. The other important limit is privacy issues. Companies like Path or Goldenshore Technologies are being sued. Path, a social-networking application, took information from address books without consent or knowledge of the customers. Goldenshore shared location with advertisers without consent of the customer.

How do you feel about advertisements on your mobile phone? Would you have problems with receiving push messages and coupons based on your locations?

Source: The Economist (2014) ‘Moving Targets’, 13 september 2014: p 7.

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