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Huge Upside for Advertiser-Supported Mobile Apps

Still think that advetising via mobile phones is a passing fad? Think again. While it's true that in 2009 well under half a billion dollars were spent on mobile marketing and advertising, it's just the beginning of what's to come.

Over the next five years -- leading up to the end of 2015 -- that expenditure will grow at a compound annual rate of more than 40 percent, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

This robust growth will be fostered by several factors. According to ABI's mobile marketing strategies practice director, Neil Strother , "Compared to campaigns in more traditional media, mobile marketing can be relatively inexpensive. Moreover, ads can be highly targeted and naturally paired with rich mobile content that growing numbers of consumers are accessing through smart mobile devices."

Mobile applications are typically very engaging and offer a fast-track to potential customers. More than three billion apps have been downloaded from Apple's store alone.

While not all mobile apps are ad-supported, some are, and some brands are creating their own apps. Also, the advent of HTML 5 will enable brands to offer Web-based apps and services aimed at wider mobile audiences.

Mobile ad networks such AdMob, Millennial Media and JumpTap are helping advertisers and marketers to reach large audiences that are to some extent demographically defined.

However, some factors still constrain this market. Mobile is still fragmented by the lack of standardized device platforms, networks, and web browsers, and the need for different campaign formats for different kinds of messages.

Other inhibitors include reluctant (mobile ad-resistant) users, limited mobile ad budgets, and a lack of marketer and agency experience with this emerging medium.

What steps does Strother recommend for fledgling mobile marketers?

He said "Establish your objectives. Know your customer's mobile behavior. Devise a simple, sound mobile plan. Choose your tools wisely. Measure results regularly. And remember -- mobile advertising is always a bit of both art and science."

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