Update: Mobile Marketing M&A Already Beats 2009

March 3, 2010
First two months of 2010 see huge pick-up in mobile transactions

We recently wrote about how we expected mobile advertising and marketing M&A to pick up in 2010 and we have definitely seen that over the first two months of the year (click here to read our previous post). As of March 2, there are already more announced mobile marketing acquisitions than in all of 2009, according to the Updata database.

The most recent transaction came on March 1 when mobile ad network Mobclix announced its acquisition of HeartBeat, a SaaS platform that helps iPhone app developers manage and access sales and other data. Others have included Millenial Media’s acquisition of TapMetrics and the headline-catching acquisitions of AdMarvel by Opera Software and Quattro Wireless by Apple.

Some companies even are deciding to refocus their businesses around the $2.6 billion mobile marketing industry. At the beginning of February, mobile marketer SinglePoint spun off its mobile messaging business to Ericsson to focus solely on SMS advertising. One week later, SinglePoint acquired India-based M2Junction, a text-messaging mobile advertising platform provider, to strengthen its position globally.

As the Internet, mobile and social begin morphing into one unstoppable creature, M&A that overlaps all three will continue to increase. We expect to see more interesting combinations and M&A announcements throughout the remainder of the year.

Selected Mobile Marketing Transactions, 2010

(click chart to enlarge)

IT For Generation ‘Me’

October 17, 2008

Francesca Bartolomey

Francesca Bartolomey

Part 3: Reaching Gen Y

It is the not-too-distant future and I’m walking around the city oblivious to my surroundings as the latest Britney tune comes pouring through my earbuds. I meander down the street and as I approach a Best Buy, Britney cuts out and I suddenly hear the unmistakable ping-ping-ping of a text message! “$10 off any DVD at Best Buy – valid for the next 2 hours ONLY!” reads the text. Impulsive and physically incapable of resisting a deal like this, I rush into the store and pick up X-Men Origins: Wolverine on DVD.

This is the future. And of course, in this ad-saturated future, everyone has a GPS-enabled smart phone.

The National Retail Federation has projected that holiday sales this year will rise only 2.2%, a significant hit to the 4.4% average maintained over the last 10 years. Consumers are likely to pinch pennies this holiday season as uncertainty in the US financial system continues. But as usual, Generation Y is the exception to the rule. Australian research firm The Leading Edge conducted a study of 1,230 young adults ages 18-24 and found that 33% of respondents in this age group actually planned to spend more this holiday season on tech gadgets than they did last year. This is obviously good news for retailers, but only if they can actually reach this spend-thrifty demographic.

Our instant gratification mentality (as well as our willingness to spend on whatever’s cool) hasn’t gone unnoticed. While pouring millions of dollars into advertising on MTV might have worked for Gen X, Gen Y spends far less time watching television. Major brands have learned the hard way that in order to keep Gen Y engaged and gain access to our wallets, they must move beyond archaic brand recognition techniques on tired media channels. These days, interactive marketers are reaching Gen Y through a multitude of ways, such as:

Social networking sites. 85% of Gen Yers are on a social network; this is obviously where retailers need to be in order to make sure they’re seen by Gen Y. Internet Retailer sponsored a study in August 2008 and asked US online retailers where their online presence was. 39% of respondents said they advertised on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube. The better ad campaigns on these venues move beyond simple banner ads and more toward engagement with the target audience. For example, when Disney Pixar’s Wall-E came out, Facebook featured free images of characters from the movie that users could distribute to each other for free.

  • Text messages. A study by BIGresearch revealed that Gen Yers are twice as likely as the general population to be influenced by text message marketing. This medium is trickier as too many texts can be an extreme nuisance. (No one wants their music interrupted every five minutes just to be reminded that Macy’s is having a sale.) Marketing through this channel should be kept to a strictly opt-in basis and messages should be well-targeted, infrequent, and include a coupon.
  • User-generated content. One effective marketing strategy some corporations have leveraged is allowing Gen Y to get involved with the brand by creating content for it. Applebee’s has an initiative to engage younger patrons by inviting them to create their own videos to upload and share with others via their website. And it’s not just restaurants that are engaging Gen Y in this manner. The community section of ABC’s website for popular primetime drama Lost allows users to communicate with other fans via message boards, upload videos of their own plot theories, and play interactive games about the show.
  • And through Gen Y itself. We’ve been inundated with commercials our whole lives so at this point we’re pretty good at tuning ads out. Most of us, however, don’t tune out our friends. In fact, we keep close tabs on each other and rely on each other to pass along information about what’s new and cool. We connect and share news through outlets such as Facebook’s news feed, Twitter, and Google Reader. Yelp has rested its whole business model on the idea that peer reviews matter. And they’re right.

But it isn’t just corporations that are leveraging technology to engage with tech-savvy Generation Y. Presidential nominee Senator Obama alerted his vice presidential choice to supporters via text message. He even has his own iPhone app. Both Senators McCain and Obama have integrated Gen Y-friendly technologies into their campaigns such as blogs, Facebook pages – both even have their own social networks!

And even Broadway has gotten into the act! Two-year old rock musical Spring Awakening (with it’s heavily Gen Y cast) launched Digital Rush – a text message-based coupon offering same-day discount tickets to the show.

The future as described above isn’t too far off. And when it comes, established brands will have to either cater to the powerful Gen Y demographic, or risk losing us (and our disposable cash).

Mobile Marketing: IT Spending On The Go

May 30, 2008

Don More

Don More

And M&A Opportunities Will Follow

Mobile marketing is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Internet growth segments, creating significant investing and M&A opportunities in coming years while driving major changes in ad spending and campaign planning.

The iPhone’s phenomenal success (iPhone users now drive more than one out of every thousand web page views) highlights mobile Internet’s growth potential, which until now has been held back by bandwidth and user interface limitations and not by lack of consumer interest. As a recent study by research firm iSuppli found, iPhone users spend only 47% of their time actually placing calls, compared to 71% for other cell phones. Data from Forrester Research shows that 20% of consumers describe their cell phone as a device that they could not live without. Uses include accessing the Internet, emailing, watching video, playing games, IMing with friends, and much more.

All this mobile activity has not been lost on advertisers. Online research firm eMarketer expects worldwide mobile marketing and advertising spend to reach $19 billion by 2012, which is about seven times its 2007 level. During this time, non-mobile paid online search spending will “only” about double.

The way the mobile advertising market is shaping up, the rise of promising new vendors and technologies is sure to follow. There is a multitude of companies to watch in this space. A few include mobile media delivery company 4INFO; ion interactive that, among other things, creates landing pages that are iPhone-optimized; and Cellit that offers both pre-packaged and custom mobile marketing solutions to both SMBs and large enterprises.


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