It goes without saying that mobile advertising history correlates directly with the evolution of the mobile, as marketers look to exploit this emerging channel with each new mobile innovation. While we cannot provide a chronology of each advance in mobile technology, we demonstrate the following key developments in the evolution of mobile marketing as we know it today.
The pager of the 1980’s quickly evolved into the first commercial mobile device of the 1990’s, remember those plastic bricks that now resemble ancient artifacts? However, once text messaging went commercial, the adoption rate of mobile phones was increasing at a dramatic rate, as everyone wanted to get their hands on the newest QWERTY keyboard device. Brands quickly saw opportunity in SMS marketing, with corporations such as Nike and Pontiac amongst the first to launch text messaging campaigns a year after Nokia commercialized SMS devices.
While many brands, including Blackberry and Nokia, lead the way by producing ‘smart’ devices for business professionals providing browser and email mobile access, the concept of commercial smartphone as we know it did not truly emerge before Apple’s first iPhone release in the early 2000’s.
Key mobile marketing advances
SMS campaigns: as SMS devices were commercialized, brands begin taking advantage of their tendency to be read immediately upon receipt
MMS campaigns: brands get creative and begin using messaging services to deliver multi-media promotional images
QR codes: What a better call to action than an interactive invitation to bring audiences directly to a landing page to download your app?
Push notifications: integrating built-in smartphone features, push notifications drive user engagement, acting as reminders, serving to reward users for accomplishments, and drawing attention to attractive offers
ASO: The app store is build entirely separately from traditional online search engines, and app developers have been obligated to adjust accordingly to ensure their placement within the ever-growing app store is optimal to boost downloads
Location-based services (LBS): mobile marketing can now get much more personal at a granular level, by utilizing a phone’s’ built-in GPS system to improve ad placements at a local scale.