Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mobile marketing is evolving to include Sony PSP

Well we've had news stories about advertising on video ipods and now PSP is joining the fray. is launching a Sony PSP channel with a free content promotion (via Brand Republic). It will be launched at the end of the month and users will be offered 10 free content packs to view on their Sony PSP's. The content will be the usual FHM type of thing - images and videos of girls (in their underwear I expect), behind the scenes stuff, interviews with the girls and viral teasers of what's coming up in forthcoming issues of the offline and online magazine.

The channel will be used to promote and its related mobile phone offering which is currently via network operator portals (Vodafone Live and O2 Activel). And also plans to make use of PSP's wireless browsing capabilities to create a browsable version of their site in the near future.

So what do I think of this. Well, I think it's great that Emap has had the presence of mind to pursue the PSP channel - with anticipated sales of 1m PSPs by Christmas, of which I guess the majority will be in the hands of young men, this is a great thing to do. Spot on in terms of targeting, a good demonstration of the scope of the Sony PSP (and I saw one in action at the Electric Picnic in the summer, and it was a rather fabulous piece of kit).

It does beg the question of how to define mobile marketing though. When I first started out, it was easy as it was all text messaging based (ok, so that was over 5 years ago and you had to explain what a text message was), and then it moved to 'stuff you do on a phone like SMS, ringtones and pictures' and then more recently we moved on to include games, applications and wap and now it's 'stuff you do on a phone, a PDA, an ipod,a mp3 player, a Sony PSP and, and.' I wonder what's next. And what the impact of wi-fi might be too.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the technology, and the potential it will bring, but by fragmenting the means of access, and the means of delivery, it could make it confusing for the customer, more difficult for the developer (how many platforms do you support exactly - over 200 mobile phones already + psp + pda + ipod + Gizmondo?) and more to the point to the brand. How does the client decide which channel to invest their money in ? If you're not into technology, how on earth are you supposed to work it all out?! (Clue, you get me in to help you.) It took TV 50 years or more to become fragmented to the state we're in today with 100s of TV stations. The mobile media world has already become fragmented in less than 5 years with multiple devices and multiple technologies, and mobile media is barely off the ground! The technology seems to be making a lot of things more complicated not less so. But it's fascinating to watch.

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  1. We launched a PSP version of our long-running games news website on September 1, 2005 -the day the PSP launched in Europe. It's not a downloadable 'pack', it's simply the existing website reformatted to be viewable on a PSP. As such, if something appears on the website, it appears on the PSP site. PSP users are automatically redirected if they hit the front page, and because we control the entire channel, we also control advertising on it.

    Interestingly from a marketing point of view, the PSP's browser is powerful enough to display a graphic-rich page, but not powerful enough (or with insufficient support) to display Google's adwords. looks exactly the same in a web browser or on a PSP - except the PSP has no ads. We can also track how many people actually read the site using a PSP browser as opposed to a web browser, and we do have a number of regular (daily!) reades who actually use a PSP to read the site. (Mind you, we also have regular i-mode users who read our i-mode version...)

    I think advertising on PSP will come, but it will be through the more traditional web-based ad channels initially.

  2. Thanks for the insight Tom. I haven't got round to getting a Sony PSP yet so I wasn't aware of the Google Adword issues.

    I agree with you on the advertising potential though. I think it will mirror web models with "traditional" web format ads coupled with sponsored downloadable content.

  3. Hi,

    It's not so much a Google issue as one for any ad supplier that relies on client-side javascript.

    That said, we're experimenting with a few things at the moment, mostly from our end, such as interstitials and inline ads that lead to PSP ad pages (rather than to a seperate ad server), although we do allow direct linking from the PSP site to Amazon of someone wants to buy a game :) This also allows us to target very closely and track very clearly who clicks on what. For example, we know that we have readers whoa ctually use PSP every day to read the site, because we filter on the host header. The same goes for T-Mobile web'n'walk users - again, we filter based on known host headers of known devices. We only track if you're using a recognised hsot device (and for t-mobile at least, we can pre-check if you're a t-mobile customer when you hit the site)

    I think the big issue here is that most traditional web advertising companies expect their viewers to be using a browser - so when you click, you get a web page. On the PSP if you click on an ordinary link you may or may not be able to see the page - and on a mobile device this is even worse.

    On our t-mobile WAP site, all advertising (and there's only 1 ad at the moment, we're looking for more advertisers atm :) - but it does detect the handset and modify itself based on the device being used... ) is managed on our server, and all links go through to pre-checked WAP or WML-compliant sites.

    And to that end we are looking much more closely at managing the ads within our channel ourselves, or even building a framework for advertisers to use when creating ad campaigns for mobile devices - so that the ad, the ad server and the ad destination are all suitable for the device being used.

    As for sponsored content, we're fiddling with some ideas about auto-detecting mobile devices on the fly so we can tailor 'sponsored downloads' automatically :)

  4. Tom, that all sounds really interesting and it seems to me to be spot on in terms of what's needed going forward. Keep me posted with progress - I'm very interested to see how you get on with this.


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