Mobile technologies are uniquely capable as a channel of this targeted approach and as a result, can clearly differentiate from other marketing channels such as direct mail, TV, billboards, or banner advertising online. In addition, this level of targeting also benefits the willing user who will receive much more relevant advertising, which can have real value for them.
This targeting methodology could also be used by content providers, such as retailers for online shoppers. Instead of displaying advertisements to customers, retailers could surface individual products which are particularly relevant for users. This type of methodology is already used on the PC Internet and is highly successful.
For example, Amazon generates 33 per cent of its revenue from recommending individual products to customers. Once the browsing experience becomes more user friendly on mobile phones, retailers could do the same thing, but with a greater degree of sophistication.
Mobile operators continue to occupy the ideal position in relation to the end-user. From their central vantage point, operators can collect and accumulate the knowledge that is key to monetising the mobile Internet. The more an operator understands mobile browsing habits, coupled with aggregated data activity, the more they will be able to provide services that are not only relevant, but services that subscribers are willing to pay for.
However, for this to be a success, operators will need to start looking beyond their traditional eco-system to include a much broader number of players so that together they can address these issues, and profit from users' increasing appetite for data.
Ken Denman is CEO of Openwave Systems.
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