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Vodacom’s foray into mobile advertising

Blogging from PublishOnline in Cape Town…

Graunt Kruger who works for Vodacom’s mobile advertising department had the audience at the conference gasping at the big numbers and big strategies. Graunt disagrees with me, but Vodacom — who are now Online Publishing Association members — are looking more and more like a media company these days.

Here’s the irony, Vodacom is one of the biggest advertisers in the country. But now the tables have turned as they are now accepting advertising on their mobile site, which attracts a big local audience of around 1,4-million monthly users and more than 16-million page impressions (according to their own stats).

Mobile media advertising in SA worth R1,5-billion in 2011
He says that mobile should be positioned as an independent medium on the same level as TV, radio, print and not just be seen as a subset of the internet. This is something they are going to push for. He says that AMPS (auditing body), which does not see mobile as a separate medium, say that there is cellphone useage of around 60% in South Africa — which frankly is hard to believe. The more believable figure comes from Vodacom itself which estimates there is more than 90% mobile penetration in this country. Maybe it’s somewhere inbetween?

In an excellent presentation, Graunt put up figures from eMarketer.com which estimates that global mobile advertising will be US$13-billion by 2011. In South Africa he estimates, using a few deductions from the eMarketer figure, that mobile media will be worth around R1,5-billion in South Africa by 2011, and about 4% of total local advertising pie. He said that according to eMarketer, 89% brands plan to use mobile marketing in 2008 and nearly 1/3 plan to spend in excess of 10% of their marketing budget.

This new mobile advertising division of Vodacom was only recently set up, around about April 2007. Graunt also says that Vodacom isn’t really focused on taking advertising from the internet… why? Well, he says its “too small”. Vodacom have their sights set on gaining market share from from TV, radio and print.

Graunt also said that advertising on their mobile portals perform with a clickthrough rate of more than 2.5% plus, which is good. They do frequency capping for their adverts, but not with cookies, but looking at cellphone numbers to identify uniques. Vodacom also serve mobile ads that users can click on that generate callbacks to your phone. It’s pretty much in line with Google’s new mobile adsense offering which features a “call me” link in the mobile environment.

Vodacom also sell ads on their “Please call me” service which includes SMS and USSD, which Graunt says shows to more than 2,4-million users daily. Citing a case study, he said one campaign got around about 100 000 monthly responses, generating 60 000 leads and a “good conversion rate”.

Vodacom looks at social networking
He also spoke briefly about the cellphone network’s plans to create a location-based social network called “The Grid”. It makes sense because Vodacom, by virtue of the contact you have with the land-based cellphone masts, knows where where everyone is.

What’s next for Vodacom?
– Ad-funded content in ingame advertising
– Mobile internet search, probably with Google (Graunt was cagey about the details)
– Vodacom radio
– Mobile TV

Author | Matthew Buckland: Publisher

Matthew Buckland: Publisher
Matthew Buckland is a web guy who has over the years worked in a programming, editorial and business capacity within the online media environment. He now dedicates his life and soul to Creative Spark and Memeburn.com. He was previously General Manager of Publishing at news24.com, and then went... More

6 Comments

  1. Agent Craig

    November 22, 2007 at 7:31 am

    I suppose I could believe cellphone usage to be around 90% when the guy who looks after your car is on a call while directing you out of a tight spot…

    If you want to know more about The GRID we are in open beta testing stages. So if you want to see what it looks like, play around with it and help us with your feedback, that would be great.

    The GRID facebook group is here.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5106213838

  2. Agent Craig

    November 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

    I suppose I could believe cellphone usage to be around 90% when the guy who looks after your car is on a call while directing you out of a tight spot…

    If you want to know more about The GRID we are in open beta testing stages. So if you want to see what it looks like, play around with it and help us with your feedback, that would be great.

    The GRID facebook group is here.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5106213838

  3. matt

    November 26, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    @ secret agent…yeah will check it out… looks v interesting

  4. matt

    November 27, 2007 at 12:19 am

    @ secret agent…yeah will check it out… looks v interesting

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  6. Jeff Messer

    April 11, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Actually most people agree it’s absolutely not terrible, it’s just the initial implementation in the Revue wasn’t very good. I think the “crushing Apple” bit is going too far, the iOS users just have far more reason to go the Apple TV route.

    Even with its flaws, I’d hate not having a Google TV in the living room at this point. I’m just excited to see the next-gen.

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