April 25, 2008

The myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)

This week BuzzCity releases its first quarterly survey of advertising trends, the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index. With this tool, BuzzCity tracks the growth of our advertising network – ads are currently served on more than 2000 publisher sites worldwide – and by extension the growth of the mobile internet. No matter which direction the index moves (and it's an easy bet right now it will continue to rise and rise), we'll announce the results and trends every quarter.

But for now . . . Mark the date. The time has come to announce that MOBILE ADVERTISING is no longer a promise, it's real. Despite contracting economies in many regions and sectors, mobile is growing. And it's growing spectacularly. In fact, over the past year, the number of advertisements served across the myGamma
Network has grown 730% from 340 million ads in the first quarter of 2007 to over 2.5 BILLION ads in the first quarter of this year.

At the top of the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index is Indonesia with more than 654 million ads served. What's particularly interesting is that Indonesia wasn't even among the top ten markets a year earlier. In fact three of the top ten countries -- China, Pakistan and Indonesia -- are new entries.

Here's the top ten list by advertising page views and percent year-on-year growth in parenthesis:

1. Indonesia : 654 million (+ 13328%)
2. India : 577 million (+ 1522%)
3. South Africa : 426 million (+ 418%)
4. USA : 132 million (+ 917%)
5. Kenya : 79 million (+ 424%)
6. Romania : 57 million (+ 446%)
7. Bangladesh : 53 million (+ 305%)
8. China : 37 million (+ 6053%)
9. Brunei : 35 million (+ 221%)
10. Pakistan : 35 million (+ 814%)

As you can see, from the table above, the number of advertising page views in Indonesia grew by more than than 13,000 percent. I don't think I've ever written a percentage that high before. But there were in fact twenty markets on our list registering more than 1000 percent growth. And among the top twenty countries, even the smallest growth story is experiencing nearly 100 percent growth year on year.

Let's take a closer look at who is placing the ads. The top advertisers by segment are

1. Mobile Services
2. Financial Services
3. Consumer brands

Mobile service companies – businesses that sell ringtones, games, other social networks and ad-supported services – were among the first adopters of the medium and they still occupy top spot. But financials and other brick and mortar companies are not far behind. Here's an example from each sector:

Cellufun is an ad-sponsored mobile gaming service that wishes to increase its global distribution. They are running multiple campaigns across a variety of markets. Cellufun optimises bannners regularly to keep spending in check, and as a result, achieves click-through rate higher then the network average.

Standard Bank has undertaken several campaigns in South Africa. They've launched a mobile banking service and a referral recruitment drive. Both subscribers and referrals were entered into a lucky draw to win a new phone. The lucky draw was promoted with banner ads targeting South African visitors to myGamma. This campaign costs just US$58 per day and generates nearly half a million page views per month. And this month, Standard Chartered is engaging consumers with another interactive campaign – leveraging on its sponsorship of the Pro20 Cricket Series to promote mobile banking. In this case, consumers can win tickets to the matches.

Coca-Cola is promoting the Sprite brand with a wap site called “Sprite Yard”. This campaign has targeted French mobile users with graphic and text banners, inviting them to a social network where they can download branded content such as visual ringtones and animated “mobisodes”. Coca-Cola spent just US$12 per day on the campaign.

In the first quarter of the year, there were

38 countries averaging more than 1 million page views per month;
11 countries averaging more than 10 million page views per month;
3 countries averaging more than 100 million page views per month.

Within the next two quarters, we expect all of the countries in the Top Ten will exceed monthly page views of 100 million.


So why is Indonesia at the top of the charts and why is its growth so incredibly off-the-charts? First, the cost of handsets has dropped. So more people have phones. Second, the cost of mobile access has dropped too. So more people can get online. Third, advertising on the mobile internet is extremely cost competitive with other media. The Indonesian example is a good indicator of trends in the rest of the world. Basically, mobile is cheap. It has great reach and penetration. So it shouldn't really be a surprise that advertisers are turning mobile. To many, though, it still is. They just haven't seen the myGamma Global Mobile Advertising Index yet.