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Global mobile ad traffic experiences healthy growth in 2010: BuzzCity

The United States and South Africa have both experienced four consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in mobile advertising traffic, according to global mobile media company BuzzCity.

The company?s Global Mobile Advertising Index for the fourth quarter of 2010 revealed a quarter-on-quarter increase in mobile advertising of 12 percent, with 93 percent more ads delivered in 2010 compared to 2009.

An increasing number of campaigns came from the travel and hospitality sectors, consumer and financial products, per BuzzCity. The banking industry in particular focused its mobile advertising on branding and acquisition campaigns targeted at a younger consumer group. 

During the final quarter of 2010 India, Indonesia, the U.S., South Africa and Kenya continued their dominance as the top five mobile advertising countries.

India continued on its growth curve ? in the fourth quarter more than 4 billion ads were delivered to Indian audiences ? and for the first time outpaced Indonesia to secure the No. 1 spot.

During the final quarter of 2010 there was significant growth in United Arab Emirates, as well as Central and South American markets such as Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.

Mobile Marketer?s Dan Butcher interviewed Dr. KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity, Singapore. Here is what he had to say:

What is the key finding of the study?
Many industry players saw a huge growth of the mobile Internet in 2010. In the U.S. alone we saw a 97 percent growth in traffic compared to 2009.

Cheaper data rates in many markets meant more people could access the Internet on their mobiles ? and more often too.

Better handsets also meant that more content, particularly games and applications, were consumed.

But the numbers do not quite do justice to the efforts in consumer education the industry has invested over the last few years.

The growth last year, in all markets, is also the result of improved consumer confidence using online services via mobile devices. 

Consumers are using every channel at their disposal, including mobiles, to access information, to communicate and, increasingly, to transact.

What is the most surprising finding, and why?
We had expected an increase in mobile internet ad spend ? but had not expected the rapid rate at which ad spends grew.

While many markets saw double-digit growth in advertiser spends, this silver lining may come with the dark cloud of inflationary prices.

In some markets such as Malaysia, Argentina and Vietnam, cost-per-click (CPC) prices are on the increase and can make mobile advertising prohibitive to many.

On the other hand, it also signals excellent revenue opportunities for local content developers.

What is driving growth in the mobile advertising space? What trends are you noticing?
Mobile content and value-added services continue to drive mobile ad spend?it makes sense after all to fish where the fish are.

Many international players are spreading some of their budgets across markets such as Brazil, Argentina, India and Kenya to meet new and renewed demand for mobile content.

Carriers?some, not all, unfortunately?continue to market off-portal in their respective markets to promote new value-added services and products.

Consumer confidence in the media is probably best reflected in the positive responses to campaigns run by the banking, retail and travel sectors.

Throughout 2010, banks, airlines and retailers took to mobile marketing not because they were curious to learn, but because they had a clear digital strategy that included mobile.

In the U.S., Web affiliate marketers are moving to mobile to take advantage of new opportunities the medium has to offer ? particularly among the prepaid market segment.

Marketers have long played in the realm of The Big Four and postpaid consumers.

As affiliate marketers gain more from the underserved prepaid markets, the Big Four may yet develop a clear strategy for this segment.

What advice can you give to mobile marketers based on your findings?
The growth of mobile content, and mobile commerce, is of course related to the amount invested in mobile marketing.

With a wide range of options, including SMS, WAP, mobile display ads, search ads, rich media and video, the fragmented mobile marketing landscape can be complicated.

As a result, deploying content and developing campaigns can seem like a huge commitment to marketers ? and can be made more challenging with limited budgets.

Much of this anxiety can be avoided by strategies that accounts for clearly defined business needs, and the travel and retail industries seem to have developed these well.