A targeted mobile advertising service has been launched by etisalat, in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, a global
tele-communication services company.
Customers who agree to opt in to the service will receive digital ads via SMS and MMS allowing them access to a range of exclusive offers.
The offers are targeted based on the customers' interest after they answer three questions related to their gender, age and interests. So if a customer is interested in cars, he or she will get the latest offers and promotions on car brands.
"It's a new medium. The mobile is very much a personal medium, which is why it's extremely important to get the right message to the right customer at the right time," said Maha Muraish, director of On-line Channel and Portal Management, said.
"Otherwise if it's not targeted, if it's just mass it will not be able to provide advertisers the return on investment they are looking for," Muraish said.
It's not about spamming our customers with numerous ads. It's about providing preference-based content that is relevant to you, at the time of the day that suits you and not more than five ads a week."
The mobile advertising platform from Alcatel-Lucent Optism monitors customers' behaviour against the ads and promotions they are receiving, which would help advertisers better customise their ads to a level that is more engaging.
"The system is very intelligent," Muraish said.
"Let's say there's a female who said she's interested in fashion, but whenever I send her something about fashion she doesn't reply back. So the system will generate a message that says we have noticed that you have not interacted with any fashion ads, would you like to change your profile? This is how it works."
According to Muraish, the potential is great.
"Once customers start to see the incentives and start to understand that there's a formula whereby they can win and it's not just a one-way communication, it will work," she said.
Etisalat is hoping to wrap up the profiling period in the next month or so, by which time they will be all set for Ramadan's busy month of offers.
"For us to be successful we need to have 100,000 customers on board. This makes advertisers say, ‘Yes, you do have the audience'," Muraish said.
Kamal Dimachkie, regional managing director at Leo Burnett, told Gulf News that although the mobile platform has been around for quite some time in this region, the infrastructure for it has not yet materialised.
There's a certain dyn-amic, apart from infrastructure, that would need to exist before one could predict the size of this platform's potential in this region, he explained.
"For instance, are people spending more time on their mobile phones? Are they making transactions using their mobile?" he said. "In the Far East, you've got people watching [TV] series on their mobile phones and have been doing it for some time."
Compared to the more advanced markets, people here don't spend as much time on their mobiles not because they don't know how, but because the opportunities are not as advanced and rich as elsewhere.
"That makes it difficult to argue on the size of the potential."
However, one thing's for sure and that's the risk of intrusion in mobile is higher than any medium we have seen so far, he said.
When it comes to television advertising, viewers have an "implicit contract" with the broadcaster that in order to deliver the content, there need to be regular intervals with adverts throughout the show, he explained.
Viewers are not as annoyed because they know it's part of the deal and they're going into the broadcaster's space.
"Every time someone sends you a message [on your mobile] whether it's welcome or not, it's intrusive," he said.
While the relevance of messages is to determine the level of intrusion, Dimachkie said that when the numbers of customers opting in grows and brands are able to read these numbers and find statistically significant basis, "then I think it will be a wonderful medium."
"It's not about the 100,000 as much as how much bigger the 100,000 will become."
From / Gulf News