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Mobile ‘provides value for money’

April 25, 2009

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As analysts picked over the implications of Alistair Darling’s latest Budget, mobile marketers convened at the IAB offices last night to debate whether mobile offered a viable marketing solution in these troubled economic times.

Industry leaders representing the mobile operators, media agencies, sales houses and media owners alike were invited to argue for and against the motion “Mobile advertising is too expensive”.

A packed audience was polled before the debate began with 47% agreeing with the motion. Following a lively discussion covering both sides of argument, the motion was soundly defeated with just 15 % agreeing with the motion – an impressive swing by anyone’s standards. 

A key factor to emerge during the evening was the growing ubiquity of mobile. The IAB’s head of mobile Jon Mew pointed out in his introduction to the evening that over 30% of the UK population now use mobile media every month. Clare Valotti, head of digital display and mobile at Mindshare, went further, arguing that mobile is now the most accessed media from 12-6pm. 

Orange’s Steve Ricketts argued that this audience was not only growing, but was actively engaged in the medium. “Mobile users are 22% more likely than average to be influenced by advertising,” said Ricketts. “People don’t just tolerate mobile advertising – they embrace it.”

Summing up the event, Jon Mew, head of mobile at the IAB, comments: “The evening sparked a passionate discussion about the value that mobile can offer to brands and its relative strengths. It was great to see the vote change so significantly after the debate and demonstrates that when people spend some time digesting mobile, its value is obvious.”

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, adds: “Once again, we had a completely packed audience for this debate – hardly surprising given our industry’s obsession with mobile. The pre-debate vote was pretty even, but through constructive argument – and many salient points from the floor – the motion was defeated with a huge majority. So now we know – mobile advertising is highly effective and therefore not too expensive.”

Leading the debate for the mobile operators were James McDonald, head of sales at O2 and Steve Ricketts, head of third party sales and mobile advertising at Orange. Representing the media owners’ side were Kurt Edwards, head of sales at Bauer and Paul Lyonette, head of UK mobile sales at Microsoft. Speaking on behalf of the sales houses was 4th Screen’s commercial director Sarah McCluskey. Representing the media agencies was Clare Valotti, head of digital display and mobile at Mindshare.

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