Mobile Internet usage is ‘the next big thing’ in online, with the iPhone and platforms like Google Android really starting to take off.

Having the power to browse the web, look up maps and do pre-purchase research “on the go” from practically anywhere, is a powerful concept. (And don’t forget that your phone can be used to make phone calls, too!)

Obviously, big players in the online marketing space are looking to make the most of this. Here is an example of a Google AdWords Ad appearing on a Nexus One:

Mobile Marketing using AdWords - Example Ad appearing on a Nexus One Device

Google has allowed targeting of mobile device users for some time on the AdWords platform, but this month has stepped up the targeting options.

Mobile Device Targeting

Earlier in January Google announced that they would now be allowing advertisers to specify what phones and networks they would like to target. The new AdWords device targeting options are shown in the screenshot below:

AdWords Mobile Advertising Targeting Options

Phone types are limited to either Android, iPhone or Palm’s WebOS devices (despite the fact that Symbian and Windows Mobile users still have some of the highest ad click through rates based on recent studies in the US).

Google has not bothered to separate out between Vodafone and Telecom here as yet. (Australia is showing different network targeting options, so we imagine it is just a matter of time before they provide New Zealand specific targeting functionality.)

Click-to-Call Mobile Marketing

Based on geo-targeting, if your business phone number is located in a similar area to the mobile users location at the time of the search, your mobile ads will give the user the option to call your business. This will cost you the same as a click would, but instead of sending users to your website it sends a lead right to your phone. We will be interested to see what click through rates these are able to generate.

Mobile Usage in New Zealand

So with these new options, is it worth trying out mobile advertising in New Zealand? FIRST has carried out some brief research on aggregated statistics which has produced some interesting results.

• New Zealand “Information” websites sites generally appear to attract the most traffic from mobile devices, between 1% and 2%.
• By comparison, New Zealand “Retail/Service” websites are struggling to attract even 1% traffic from mobile devices.
• Data from this aggregated pool of websites further showed that as little as 0.5% of total Adwords originate from mobile devices.

With percentage figures this tiny, mobile advertising is not exactly going to be focus of your next large scale campaign, is it?

But why not start trialling now for when the inevitable growth does arrive here in New Zealand? We certainly think mobile marketing is important and on this basis all FIRST consultants consider this channel when devising a client’s Adwords strategy.

In-App Mobile Advertising

Let’s not forget about other forms of mobile advertising. In-app advertising, for example, is becoming a popular way of generating an income for both the Apple and Android app markets.

We are starting to see more interesting ads appearing in this area overseas, with advertisers making the most of these devices.

A great example is the following iPhone music video ad, which enables the user to interact with a music video for the new Vampire Weekend album.

We can’t help but think that the reason the uptake levels are still so low is due to the cost of having one of these high end devices: Both the outright purchase cost, as well as the ongoing data charges. Both of these are very high in New Zealand, especially when compared to other countries.


Google are putting a lot of time and money into developing this market, and with good reason!

Search is still one of the most used functions on these phones, and in 2011 Google see mobile search volume surpassing that of desktop levels in 2007.

The purchase of AdMob, the new targeting options and even the release of “The Google Phone” (the Nexus One) and the Android operating system itself, these are all indicators that Google knows exactly just how important this market is going to be.

We would also be willing to bet Google are only just getting their head around how different the mobile user is to their desktop-bound relative, so we can’t wait to see what happens when they really start to get good at targeting this new breed of user. Google Analytics is, once again, your best friend!

Mobile Advertising is obviously an area where FIRST is going to be keeping a close eye on. We have already started trialling some campaigns in this space – If you are interested in targeting mobile users cost effectively, then make sure you contact us.