Mobile advertising has progressed from its first iteration as a passive medium, typically a WAP banner to become targeted, interactive and personalised - Mobile Advertising 2.0.
This change has been enabled by new formats, such as video, for animated messaging and moving banners, and contextual use of logos that fade away or blend into the content of the video image. All of which are combined make for a more subtle approach to using post and pre-roll advertising which doesn't irritate the user.
This array of formats alongside the ability to interact with other users and social groups (as well with the brand) has opened up more creative possibilities. In turn, this has led to greater engagement with the user and a direct link between sales outcomes and money spent on advertising.
The flexibility of format and media type has also increased the take-up of ad-funded, subsidised or sponsored mobile content which Jupiter Research predicts will make up the bulk of the $5.4 billion mobile content revenues predicted by 2013.
The viral affect
Another important facet is the trend towards the use of viral marketing to expand the reach and impact of mobile campaigns.
The power of viral marketing has been proven in the PC world and its impact on the mobile world could be more exciting, as operators wake up to the potential of leveraging "Ëœsocial leaders' - users who are most likely to forward ads on to their friends and family - as the focus for their mobile advertising campaigns.
Getting to know the user
Behaviour-based targeting will also be an important factor in mobile advertising's success as it is hoped it will overcome the perception of mobile ads as spam. Operators have always been careful to protect their customers from spam, but they are the only member of the value chain that has knowledge about the subscriber, their habits and interests.
Only the service provider knows which types of content the user has downloaded, what pricing contract they chose and what time of day they are most likely to be sending text messages or downloading content from the web.
These insights and the fact that the mobile device (unlike any other medium) acts as a kind of alter ego to the user, gives advertisers advantages not found in any other medium - so long as they work in conjunction with the service provider.
Not all advertisers and content providers do, of course. A new breed of media players engage directly with users, bypassing the operators.