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May 6, 2008
iPhone for Advertisers

Depending on what conference you’re at, which circle of friends you keep, and if the analysts are on your side, you may or may not believe that mobile is here to stay in the USA. I’m personally a bear when it comes to mobile marketing, but I do realize that mobile phones are penetrating everywhere. One billion mobile phones were sold in 2006 alone, so there is certainly an infrastructure that has the capability to be a marketing platform.

The mobile phone for me is extremely personal. Whether it’s my iPhone or my Blackberry, I don’t really go around handing them to people to play with. I actually don’t like people going through my address book, my text messages or my email… it’s not that I’m trying to hide anything, but it’s 100% personal (even if it is business related). As advertisements start penetrating my phone, I don’t really get excited about it. Actually, I derive negative utility… which does harm for the phone and carrier itself, not just the advertisement that comes in.

If you look at the growth of mobile marketing and advertising over the past few years, it really started with WAP and SMS messaging. The iPhone is starting to change everything and I’m excited by it.

Think of the iPhone no differently than a computer. Present on the iPhone is a processor, memory, and an input interface. The iPhone navigates the Internet through the Safari browser currently and some of the experiences are amazing. Facebook, Yelp, and Meebo (just a few) have excellent websites optimized for the iPhone. Instead of advertisers creating their own WAP site or bombarding my iPhone with SMS messages (that I didn’t opt-in for), why not take part in joining the conversation on these iPhone versions of the main web presence?

iPhone users have a leg up when surfing the Internet today as the browsing experience is almost exactly similar to if they were at a computer. With the mobile phone quickly becoming third screen, and analysts estimating 45MM in iPhone sales in 2008, it’s surely going to attract marketers. Advertising on phones is nothing new but the opportunity that the iPhone affords is much different than any other mobile experience in the past… and it’s exciting.

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Darren Herman leads the digital media practice of New York based Kirshenbaum Bond + Partner’s, The Media Kitchen. Fascinated with the white space that exists between entertainment, technology, and marketing, he consistently looks for new ways for his clients to engage consumers around their digital conversation. Darren is the author of "Coloring Outside the Lines: Confessions of a Digital Native" and maintains his own blog.
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