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Copyright 2001

[ October 3rd 2001 ]

Wireless advertising is set to expand rapidly over the coming 12-18 months, according to Ovum. The research company claims that response rates for SMS marketing campaigns are between 4-40% - direct mail campaigns usually gain around 2% response.

Rosalie Nelson, Ovum Research director, said: "We are now moving beyond the hype and hope stage, and into a stage where wireless marketing is being considered as a percentage of the marketing budget."

Marketing via wireless devices has been a hotly debated issue in Europe, where according to statistics most individuals own more than one phone. This opens up a huge potential market for advertising via SMS, although traditional media agencies have been slow in the main to react.

Speaking at a WAA (Wireless Advertising Association) meeting in London, Nelson continued: "However, simpler technology is needed, and new handsets will play a central part here. New technologies such as GPRS, 3G and Java downloads need to be made as user-friendly as possible - both for consumers and marketeers."

An area where the opposite holds true is billing. Nelson: "Billing is a huge issue - several companies have said to us that if they could reverse bill users, they would use SMS marketing, but only Vodafone currently offers it."

Perry Allison, WAA MD global strategy, commented: "Both technology companies and operators are working to make this market a reality. Europe has a huge advantage in that it has so many devices active, it cannot fail to be an active market."

There have been a variety of campaigns conducted recently via SMS, notably Tomb Raider, Macdonalds, Pepsi, Cadburys and Coke. According to figures from Pepsi, 120,000 people opted in to receive product alerts within an hour. However, it is technically still illegal to advertise third party services over EU telecommunications networks without users permission.

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