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Mobile search advertisements: nicer or nastier?

Recent events have conspired to expose me to a glut of mobile-related technologies from the growth of mobile-powered web access in Africa to the new revenue streams thrown up by advertising in this space. I’ve already ranted (twice I think) on how much I hate invasive ads online - and I’m not expecting to be a fan of advertising that hitches a ride on any mobile search functions I might perform in the future – but I think it’s an unstoppable inevitability.

Recent events have conspired to expose me to a glut of mobile-related technologies from the growth of mobile-powered web access in Africa to the new revenue streams thrown up by advertising in this space. I’ve already ranted (twice I think) on how much I hate invasive ads online - and I’m not expecting to be a fan of advertising that hitches a ride on any mobile search functions I might perform in the future – but I think it’s an unstoppable inevitability. The question is, will things get better or worse?

Mobile advertising specialists argue that just as search-engine marketing has (allegedly) proven less intrusive and sometimes more effective than email-marketing, that there is potential to use sophisticated mobile search and advertising solutions to deliver a more targeted marketing campaign bringing the most relevant content to audiences. The idea is that if a mobile user is actively searching for information and is presented with relevant ads in that context, it makes it more likely to be better received and achieve higher click-throughs.

To quote from just one of the companies I’m currently talking to in order to research this subject, “An increased take-up of mobile marketing is certainly good news for mobile operators, but if this form of marketing continues to be thought of as limited to SMS and MMS, then the true potential here will not be reached. This is because the problem with marketing via SMS and MMS is that the user has no control over what he or she receives, so mobile marketing becomes another form of spam,” said Dan Olschwang CEO of mobile search and advertising company JumpTap.

This kind of more sophisticated search-based behavioural targeting is supposed to make me feel better isn’t it? I guess it doesn’t as a previous career in advertising has given me in innate distrust of any type of publicity. Perhaps I am being too judgemental, but when I am looking up… “How long can you keep eggs for?” (the last thing I looked up – I know, I need to get a life) I am not likely to start ordering the home-delivered lemon meringue pies that pop up as an option on the right hand side of the page.

I appreciate the technology side of this argument and I guess we are moving forward. I just buy my pies from the pie shop like I always have – that’s all.