Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ringback tone advertising to hit $780 million annually by 2015 as consumers chase free airtime

HAMPSHIRE, UK: A new report from Juniper Research has highlighted the increasing popularity of ringback tone advertising, which is expected to be the destination of more than $780 million in annual adspend by 2015.

The ad format - where consumers opt-in to receive airtime or credit in return for allowing branded content as their ringback tone – has already been successfully implemented in a number of key markets, proving popular both with mobile users and leading brands.

The mobile advertising report found that some campaigns run on ringback tone advertising were currently generating substantial response rates: for example, a Pepsi campaign on Turkcell’s TonlaKazan service generated more than 25 million calls from 5 million users. Meanwhile, as ad-funded services are increasingly deployed in key ringback markets such as China and India, there is expected to be a gradual transition of service users across from paid-for ringback tone to capitalise on free airtime offers.

However, according to report author Dr Windsor Holden, for the channel to gain optimal adoption, it was essential that content placed within the ringbacks was non-intrusive. “While ringback tone advertising has a number of potential benefits for network operators – notably providing a new revenue stream and reducing customer churn – both they and the brands must ensure that the advertising is contextual and does not jar with those listening. Otherwise all parties – operators, brands, even the service subscribers – could face a backlash from disgruntled callers, conceivably
resulting in a decline in network voice traffic.”

Other key findings from the report include:

• Total advertising expenditure across all mobile channels is expected to reach $11.5 billion in 2015, up from $3.1 billion in 2010.

• Mobile channels are benefitting from brands’ strategic transition from above the line (ATL) to below the line (BTL) advertising.

• Retailers are increasingly seeking to offer smartphone apps as a key means of generating brand exposure.

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