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Added Value For Marketers In Mobile Search & Apple iTunes Purchase Data

Topic: Mobile Marketing, Search | Author: Jeff Hasen | Date: April 8, 2011

mobile searchIs a consumer’s mobile search more valuable to an advertiser than an online query? The stats say yes, particularly in view of the growth in local mobile search.

According to the BIA/Kelsey Group, one in three mobile searches is local in nature and also interactive. After searchers on their smartphones find a local business, 61 percent call the establishment and 59 percent visit the location.

Little wonder that the market is more bullish about search advertising on mobile. Mediapost recounts a recent webinar with The Search Agency by sharing some stats and forecasts.  For a start, Google estimates that between 15 and 30 percent of site traffic will come from mobile devices within the next 18 months. Google says mobile-only campaigns generate significantly higher click-through rates (CTR). Specifically, advertisers who break out mobile campaigns see CTR rise — on the average — 11.5 percent, according to Google.

How I See It: The biggest surprise here are the number of interactions that occur after the search is completed on a mobile device. After all, to influence some 60 percent of consumers to do anything (in this case call or visit a business) is a marketer’s dream. As more smartphones hit the market (a development I discuss in the item below), mobile search will also rise in importance — and cracking the code on how to rank highly in search results (this time on mobile) will (once again) be top of marketers’ minds.


A must-read article in Advertising Age provides us details on how Apple uses 200 million iTunes accounts to target consumers through iAd.

According to the article, Apple lets marketers target ads according to people’s music passions and their favorite genres. This information means marketers don’t have to stop at music; they can apply these preferences to other entertainment content, including movies, TV and audio books. This is an approach that no other mobile ad network can claim (in part because no other ad network has a device/content arm that knows that much about the content we consume in the first place).

The article notes that Apple’s iAd targeting is based on anonymous, aggregated iTunes data and proprietary methodology, according to an Apple spokesman.

Apple also offers advice to advertisers, based on the consumer profiles and segments it sees. To reach executives, for example, Apple suggests marketers target business, finance, news and classic-movie lovers. If you are a hybrid electric or electronics brand, then Apple recommends you address users with high household income who also like alternative music and health-care and fitness apps.

How I See It: This is the most detail that I’ve seen shared on how Apple packages its user information for marketers. Still, there’s as much art as there is science here. The segmentation makes sense, but there are no hard and fast rules here. Take me.  I’m an executive but I only moderately appreciate classic movies (let’s just say I appreciate them but I don’t always have time to watch them). So I don’t exactly fit the mold. As with all implicit segmentation, it is an approximation of what I am and what I like. Apple’s formula’s may work – but that’s what only time (and brand case studies) can show. Watch this space…


Many have proclaimed 2011 as the Year Of The Smartphone. In the U.S., adoption is set to hit 50 percent by year’s end, driven in part by lower prices and more consumer choice. Witness the number and variety of Android devices coming to market.

According to Gartner, worldwide smartphone sales will reach 468 million units in 2011, that’s a 57.7 percent increase from 2010.By end-2011, Android will rise to become the most popular operating system (OS) worldwide and will therefore account for 49 percent of the smartphone market by 2012.

Sales of open OS devices (such as Android) will account for 26 percent of all mobile handset device sales in 2011. Gartner expects this number to pass the 1-billion mark by 2015, when open OS devices will account for 47 percent of the total mobile device market.

Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner, says that “by 2015, 67 percent of all open OS devices will have an average selling price of $300 or below, proving that smartphones have been finally truly democratized.” In addition, Android’s position at the high end of the market will “remain strong, but its greatest volume opportunity in the longer term will be in the mid- to low-cost smartphones, above all in emerging markets.”

How I See It: Gartner is convinced that price will shape market share in emerging markets, giving Android the edge. But will we see a similar shift in developed markets such as the U.S.? It’s a tough one to call, and no one knows if future smartphone models will eclipse the iPhone — let alone win on price. Up until now, price has only been one factor in the equation. Put simply, it appears that price is not what interests consumers most. How else can we explain the fact that many smartphones (offered for free with a contract over the holidays) were left on the shelves?

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