September 15, 2009


By Delynn Ho, Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Nichaphat Rojratanasap , a mother of three in her 50s, used to run a restaurant . . . before she found her calling in the fortune-telling business. While she's not famous, Khun Nichaphat is quite popular in her local community and with her clientele – all of whom consult her over the phone.

Some choose to have a tarot card reading; others ask for their horoscope. Fortune-telling is an intricate part of life for many in Thailand and the “Maw Du,” as fortune-tellers there are known, can help you choose the best date to get married or even buy a car.

Khun Nichaphat is a new-comer to New Media, but she's already quite pleased with the positive impact her mobile campaign has had on business. Banner ads promoting her live divining service link to a landing page. From there, users can contact the soothsayer directly. Just click on the link to dial a 1-900 pay-per-minute number and Khun Nichaphat's phone will ring.

The ads receive about 10,000 views per day and she's getting a click-through rate of 0.5% (compared to the 1.2% network average).

From a sales and analytical perspective, there are a few things to note about this campaign:

1. The business does not currently have a website or mobile site. It is making use of BuzzCity's free landing page to essentially create a one-page mobile presence.

2. Unlike traditional media ads, this mobile campaign is part marketing, part sales. The success of the initiative can be measured not only in views or clicks, but in actual sales conversions.

3. The advertiser has prepared a single banner and single text ad, which could be one reason the click-through rate lags behind the network average. As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life . . . and in advertisting, variety with a good look and common theme leads to greater follow-through by consumers.

4. Based on the number of phone calls received, the ad is most effective in the morning, between 9 am and noon. This is pretty unusual for Thailand. Thais are a late-night people, at least when it comes to mobile surfing. Sixty percent of Thai users go online after midnight, according to the BuzzCity survey report "Who uses the mobile internet?". Four out of five surf after dinner.

Like many mobile campaigns, the out-of-pocket expense to the company is minimal as compared with every other form of advertising – radio, television, print, outdoor or online. Yet it often takes only a few sales conversions to receive a return on investment – which is what makes this case study particularly interesting for any type of business with a sales hotline. There's nothing like Click-to-call or Click-to-SMS for immediately engaging and interacting with consumers. Of course, this model is also good for any company offering paid content over the phone.

One bit of advice, though, for Khun Nichaphat and other advertisers. Better to customise and space out your ads. Most campaigns experience diminishing returns over time. The best way to counteract this effect is to focus on different products or services at different points in the campaign. For example, in this case, our fortune-teller could initially promote tarot cards. Then next month, offer a discount on horoscopes. The following month, focus on another aspect of the business. In this way, the campaign stays fresh and the advertiser's fortune is prosperous.