BY Peggy Anne Salz
Mobile operators are keen to harness the power of mobile search. It's not just about having a well-known Web logo on phones, or even improving content discoverability for mobile content and services. The search business is advertising-driven, and mobile adds value to adverts. It allows marketers to gain traffic by providing relevant offers and ads, and enables operators to increase revenue as a result of a wider range of mobile content purchased by consumers.
Search also provides operators the opportunity to sell a variety of content such as video and ringtones. By presenting these extended content options with existing content, users are made aware of services and content available. As a result, operators have a non-intrusive, demand driven marketing approach to new services.
And there are plenty of search experts who want to help them achieve that, from the big-name Web brands (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc) to start-ups offering white-label mobile search solutions on which cellcos can stick their own brands.
Yahoo!, which has never quite matched Google's success in the online search space, has been hyper aggressive in targeting the mobile search space by combining its one-click oneSearch mobile search capabilities with a suite of mobile publisher services called Yahoo Mobile Publisher Services, which offers publishers access to a variety of services that promise to raise their profile and ad revenues.
The new offering means Yahoo can to take content from any publisher and present it to searchers on the go, opening the door for small companies with no mobile offering, such as real estate listings which would allow users to search for property from their mobiles, including "click-to-action" features such as maps to properties and estate agent contacts.
Michael Bayle, Yahoo!'s Global Monetization general manager, said at a recent London mobile search conference that the objective is to create 'a mobile publishing and advertising marketplace' that will assist large and small content publishers to make their complete catalogues searchable and monetizable.
Smaller mobile search players are also making a name for themselves, and what they lack in name recognition and scale, they promise to make up for in mobile expertise and greater relevancy.
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