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Continental Airlines mobile ads more effective than online

Continental Airlines mobile ads were five-to-ten times more effective than online at generating responses from Hispanics, a demographic that tends to be heavy users of wireless devices.

The airline?s agency partner, MediaVest, tapped MoVoxx and Quattro Wireless for the ?Volver por un rato? campaign, which consumers could enter by texting a keyword to a short code or clicking on a WAP link within an SMS alert from Univision and other publishers. The contest let consumers enter to win a trip for two anywhere in the world, up to $2,500 worth of plane tickets, by submitting a video.

?The campaign was originally designed to get people to upload videos via their mobile phones or online,? said Alex Demas, associate planner at MediaVest, New York. ?We wanted consumers to tell us what they miss most about going back home, what makes them nostalgic?do they miss the food, the people, the culture?

?We reached out to them via TV, online banners and search, out-of-home, radio and mobile?both SMS and WAP,? he said. ?We worked with MoVoxx to optimize against the copy and the content that got the best response rates.

?We saw that mobile is five-to-ten times more effective than online advertising.?

Continental Airlines is a United States air carrier. Based in Houston, it is the fourth-largest airline in the U.S. based on revenue passenger miles.

The Continental mobile sweepstakes targeted Hispanic males and females ages 27-45?both Spanish- and English-speakers?in the New York and Houston metro areas.

Nine times as many users visited the WAP site versus the wired Web site with similar media efforts in terms of banner ads driving traffic to each site. Because mobile is a less cluttered environment than the PC, mobile ads get much higher response rates.

Hispanic consumers over-index for mobile usage in general and interaction with mobile advertising specifically.

Fifty-two percent of Hispanics reported an awareness of mobile advertising, compared to 32 percent of whites.

Fifty-nine percent of Hispanics reported a propensity to respond to mobile advertising, compared to 20 percent of whites, according to Limbo/GFK Technology?s Mobile Advertising Report.

Hispanics lead in every category of mobile content usage besides streaming video, where they are tied for the lead, according to Scarborough Research.

MediaVest tapped MoVoxx to run a Continental teaser ad within SMS alerts. Consumers could reply to the message with the keyword YES to receive an audio clip explaining the sweepstakes. Those who opted-in received a follow-up text message with link to Continental?s WAP site.

MoVoxx powered the WAP site at, the SMS ads linking to the WAP site and the short code.

TV, radio and out-of-home ads urged Hispanic consumers to text one of two keywords?VOLVER or VIAJAR?to the short code 88188 to participate in the campaign.

In addition, MediaVest tapped mobile ad network Quattro Wireless to run banner ads across the mobile Web driving straight to the Continental WAP site.

There were three-times as many SMS-to-WAP initial visits compared to the number of SMS-to-WAP clicks. Voting components and SMS forwarding created a viral effect, in effect giving Continental more bang for its buck.

The Continental WAP site featured two videos and let consumers enter the contest, see contest rules and post a video explaining what they miss most about their home country, as well as view other participants? videos and vote on them.

Out of the total audience that entered the WAP site, driven to it by SMS media, 7.51 percent provided their name, email address and phone number to enter the contest, 9.51 percent voted for at least one video, 5.14 percent viewed or downloaded at least one video and 0.2 percent actually made a mobile video themselves using their phone and downloaded it into the system.

This was a bilingual campaign, so consumers could see Continental?s mobile Web site in either English or Spanish.

Post-click engagement rates ranged from 26 during the lowest week to 51 percent during the highest week. Unlike online, mobile offers a captive audience, where the initial click turns into very high post-click engagement rates, according to MoVoxx.

SMS-to-WAP ads achieved an average of 1.9 page views per visitor, compared to WAP-to-WAP adds, which achieved an average of 1.4 page views per visitor.

In addition to the grand prize, a $2,500 gift account to fly on Continential, the airline awarded a second-place prize of a $1,500 gift account and a third-place prize of a $1,000 gift account.

In addition to Univision, MediaVest partners with content providers such as Fox Sports in Spanish, ESPN Deportes and CNN in Spanish to issue Continental?s call-to-action within each publisher?s SMS alerts.

Continental also ran ads with the mobile call-to-action on various Spanish-language radio stations.

?We saw that the mobile campaign was more effective in the Spanish-language targeting we did,? Mr. Demas said.

?Hispanics tend to over-index for all sorts of actions on their mobile phones due to a number of reasons, one of the being that Hispanics tend to use their mobile phone as their primary internet connection,? he said.

?They like to be seen as trendsetters, and they tend to be moving away from landlines faster than the general population, so many will have just a mobile phone."

MoVoxx claims that SMS delivers more qualified leads and a lower bounce rate, as well as repeat visits to WAP landing pages.

MediaVest was asked to judge the success of the campaign based on Continental?s mobile direct-response goal of driving people to register on the WAP site to submit, watch and vote on mobile videos.

 ?We found that in terms of driving engagement with the WAP site, SMS ads were the more effective way, compared to WAP ads,? Mr. Demas said. ?The reason we tried to get our feet wet this year in mobile, we see this as a potential avenue to reach consumers in the future, and we wanted to do it in a way that we initially wouldn?t be searching for ROI necessarily.

?We wanted to test the space, so this promotion made the most sense to see what works for us,? he said. ?We do see mobile as being a big part of Continental?s future, and while back-end metrics for tracking campaigns are not quite there yet, once that gets better, I see them moving heavily towards mobile.

?We think in terms of engagement the mobile campaign was incredibly successful, and it?s definitely something we?re looking to do more of, not just with Continental, but with other brands as well.?