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Google Yahoo and Nokia Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing, which was born in countries such as Japan and South Korea, has taken off in Western Europe and is finally beginning to grow in North America.

As consumers move to flat-rate data plans and adopt mobile messaging, and as new platforms for advertising-supported mobile search, video and gaming content services arrive, mobile marketing is expected to grow to over $24 billion worldwide in 2013, jumping from just $1.8 billion in 2007.

"The clear difference in this market over the past twelve months has been the embrace of mobile marketing as an integral part of cross-media brand campaigns," says ABI Research director Michael Wolf.

"Mobile is no longer off-limits in the minds of advertisers, but is instead seen as a very personal way to reach consumers who can be incentivized through information services and compelling content, as well as through more directly relevant and targeted messaging."

The market, however, is still very much a nascent environment and will take time to develop. Hundreds of mobile marketing platform providers have sprung up, and larger players such as Google, Yahoo, and Nokia have made significant investments in this fast-changing market.

Emerging players in the ad network and software space such as Admob, Enpocket/Nokia and Millennial Media are becoming important new players in a market that is similar to the Internet advertising gold rush of the late 1990s.

"In these early stages, many of the technology platform players are also doubling as the interactive agencies for large brands," Wolf notes. "However, we see large ad agencies and their interactive divisions or partners increasingly working with key platform providers as roles become more defined."

A recent survey by ABI Research found that while consumers are initially leery of mobile marketing, their perspective largely depends on whether they see some advantage for themselves. While 54 percent of survey respondents indicated they were totally opposed to mobile marketing messages, 70 percent of those same respondents said that an incentive such as a ringtone or a free song might make them receptive to mobile marketing.

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