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Some see mobile advertising as closely related to online or internet advertising, though its reach is far greater - currently, most mobile advertising is targeted at mobile phones, that came estimably to a global total of 4.6 billion as of 2009. Notably computers, including desktops and laptops, are currently estimated at 1.1 billion globally.
It is probable that advertisers and media industry will increasingly take account of a bigger and fast-growing mobile market, though it remains at around 1% of global advertising spend. Mobile media is evolving rapidly and while mobile phones will continue to be the mainstay, it is not clear whether mobile phones based on cellular backhaul or smartphones based on WiFi hot spot or WiMAX hot zone will also strengthen. However, such is the emergence of this form of advertising, that there is now a dedicated global awards ceremony organised every year by Visiongain.
As mobile phones outnumber TV sets by over 3 to 1, and PC based internet users by over 4 to 1, and the total laptop and desktop PC population by nearly 5 to 1, advertisers in many markets have recently rushed to this media. In Spain 75% of mobile phone owners receive ads, in France 62% and in Japan 54%. More remarkably as mobile advertising matures, like in the most advanced markets, the user involvement also matures. In Japan today, already 44% of mobile phone owners click on ads they receive on their phones. Mobile advertising was worth 900 million dollars in Japan alone. According to the research firm Berg Insight the global mobile advertising market that was estimated to € 1 billion in 2008. Furthermore, Berg Insight forecasts the global mobile advertising market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 43 percent to € 8.7 billion in 2014.
Types of mobile ads 
In some markets, this type of advertising is most commonly seen as a Mobile Web Banner (top of page) or Mobile Web Poster (bottom of page banner), while in others, it is dominated by SMS advertising (which has been estimated at over 90% of mobile marketing revenue worldwide). Other forms include MMS advertising, advertising within mobile games and mobile videos, during mobile TV receipt, full-screen interstitials, which appear while a requested item of mobile content or mobile web page is loading up, and audio advertisements that can take the form of a jingle before a voicemail recording, or an audio recording played while interacting with a telephone-based service such as movie ticketing or directory assistance.
The Mobile Marketing Association and the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) has published mobile advertising guidelines,  but it is difficult to keep such guidelines current in such a fast-developing area.
The effectiveness of a mobile media ad campaign can be measured in a variety of ways. The main measurements are impressions (views) and click-through rates. They are also sold to advertisers by views (Cost Per Impression) or by click-through (Cost Per Click). Additional measurements include conversion rates, such as click-to-call rates and other degrees of interactive measurement.
Mobile media can run on a mobile web page or within a mobile application, often referred to as in-App.
One of the popular models in mobile advertising is Cost Per Install (CPI) where there the pricing model is based on the user installing an App on their mobile phone. CPI Mobile Advertising Networks work either as incent or non-incent. In the incent model the user is given virtual points or rewards to install the game or App.
Mobile Rich Media 
In addition to standard mobile display banners, a growing trend is to include rich media execution within the banner ads. This includes banners that would expand to a larger size, offering advertisers a larger display to communicate their message. Games within the banner to make the experience more interactive or a video within the banner space.
There are limitations rich media on mobile because all of the coding must be done in HTML5, since the iOS does not support flash.
Handsets display and corresponding ad images 
There are hundreds of handsets in the market and they differ by screen size and supported technologies (e.g. MMS, WAP 2.0). For color images, formats such as PNG, JPEG, GIF and BMP are typically supported, along with the monochrome WBMP format. The following gives an overview of various handset screen sizes and a recommended image size for each type.
|Handset||Approx Handset Screen Size (px W x H)||Example Handsets||Ad Unit||Ad Size (pixels)|
|X-Large||320 x 320||Palm Treo 700P, Nokia E70||X-Large||300 x 50|
|Large||240 x 320||Samsung MM-A900, LG VX-8500 Chocolate, Sony Ericsson W910i||Large||216 x 36|
|Medium||176 x 208||Motorola RAZR, LG VX-8000, Motorola ROKR E1||Medium||168 x 28|
|Small||128 x 160||Motorola V195||Small||120 x 20|
Source: Mobile Marketing Association
Martin Cooper invented a portable handset in 1973, when he was a project manager at Motorola. It was almost three decades after the idea of cellular communications was introduced by Bell Laboratories. Two decades later, cellular phones made a commercial debut in the mass market in the early 1990s. In the early days of cellular handsets, phone functionality was limited to dialing, and voice input/output.
When the second generation of mobile telecoms (so-called 2G) was introduced in Finland by Radiolinja (now Elisa) on the GSM standard (now the world's most common mobile technology with over 2 billion users) in 1991, the digital technology introduced data services. SMS text messaging was the first such service. The first person-to-person SMS text message was sent in Finland in December 1994. SMS (Short Message Service) gradually began to grow, becoming the largest data service by number of users in the world, currently with 74% of all mobile subscribers or 2.4 billion people active users of SMS in 2007.
One advantage of SMS is that while even in conference, users are able to send and receive brief messages unobtrusively, while enjoying privacy. Even in such environments as in a restaurant, café, bank, travel agency office, and so on, the users can enjoy some privacy by sending/receiving brief text messages in an unobtrusive way.
It would take six years from the launch of SMS until the first case of advertising would appear on this new data media channel, when a Finnish news provider offered free news headlines via SMS, sponsored by advertising. This led to rapid experimentation in mobile advertising and mobile marketing, and the world's first conference to discuss mobile advertising was held in London in 2000, sponsored by the Wireless Marketing Association (which later merged into the Mobile Marketing Association). The first books to discuss mobile advertising were Ahonen's M-Profits and Haig's Mobile Marketing in 2002. Several major mobile operators around the world launched their own mobile advertising arms, like Aircross in South Korea, owned by the parents of SK Telecoms the biggest mobile operator, or like D2 Communications in Japan, the joint venture of Japan's largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo and Dentsu, Japan's largest ad agency.
Mobile as media 
This unobtrusive two-way communications caught the attention of media industry and advertisers as well as cellphone makers and telecom operators. Eventually, SMS became a new media - called the “seventh mass media channel” by several media and mobile experts - and even more, it is a two-way mobile media, as opposed to one-way immobile media like radios, newspapers and TV. Besides, the immediacy of responsiveness in this two-way media is a new territory found for media industry and advertisers, who are eager to measure up market response immediately. Additionally, the possibility of fast delivery of the messages and the ubiquity of the technology (it does not require any additional functionality from the mobile phone, all devices available today are capable of receiving SMS), make it ideal for time- and location-sensitive advertising, such as customer loyalty offers (ex. shopping centres, large brand stores), SMS promotions of events, etc. To leverage this strength of SMS advertising, timely and reliable delivery of messages is paramount, which is guaranteed by some SMS gateway providers.
Mobile media has begun to draw more significant attention from media giants and advertising industry since the mid-2000s, based on a view that mobile media was to change the way advertisements were made, and that mobile devices can form a new media sector. Despite this, revenues are still a small fraction of the advertising industry as a whole but are most certainly on the rise. Informa reported that mobile advertising in 2007 was worth $2.2 billion. This is less than 0.5% of the approximately $450 billion global advertising industry.
Types of mobile advertising are expected to change rapidly. In other words, mobile technology will come up with a strong push for identifying newer and unheard-of mobile multimedia, with the result that subsequent media migration will greatly stimulate a consumer behavioral shift and establish a paradigm shift in mobile advertising. A major media migration is on, as desktop Internet evolves into mobile Internet. One typical case in point is Nielsen’s recent buyout of Telephia.
However it should be kept in mind that the rapid change in the technology used by mobile advertisers can also have adverse effect to the number of consumers being reached by the mobile advertisements, due to technical limitations of their mobile devices. Because of that, campaigns that aim to achieve wide response or are targeting lower income groups might be better off relying on older, more widespread mobile advertising technologies, such as SMS.
Viral marketing 
As mobile is an interactive mass media similar to the internet, advertisers are eager to utilize and make use of viral marketing methods, by which one recipient of an advertisement on mobile, will forward that to a friend. This allows users to become part of the advertising experience. At the bare minimum mobile ads with viral abilities can become powerful interactive campaigns. At the extreme, they can become engagement marketing experiences. A key element of mobile marketing campaigns is the most influential member of any target audience or community, which is called the alpha user
Privacy concern 
Advocates have raised the issue of privacy. Targeted mobile marketing requires customization of ad content to reach interested and relevant customers. To customize such behavioral personal data, user profiling, data mining and other behavior watch tools are employed, and privacy advocates warn that this may cause privacy infringement.
Some mobile carriers offer freebie or cheaper rate plans in exchange for SMS or other mobile ads. However, mobile TV and mobile search may override this privacy concern, as soon as they are implemented on a full-blown basis. In a naive way to override privacy concern, however, User’s prior consent needs to be obtained through membership to join or User account to set up. Both mobile TV and mobile search may supersede the way of getting Users’ prior consent through membership or User account because users are free to choose mobile TV channels or mobile search services on a voluntary basis.
Mobile devices aim to outgrow the domain of voice-intensive cellphones and to enter a new world of multimedia mobile devices, like laptops, PDA phones and smartphones. Unlike the conventional one-way media like TV, radio and newspaper, web media has enabled two-way traffic, thereby introducing a new phase of interactive advertising, regardless of whether static or mobile. This user-centric approach was noted at the 96th annual conference of Association of National Advertisers in 2006, which described ”a need to replace decades worth of top-down marketing tactics with bottom-up, grass-roots approaches”. Many use 2d bar codes to make offline print material more interactive with their mobile device. This has been proven to be successful in Japan, UK, Philippines and has been catching on in Northern America.
Mobile device issues 
Coincidentally, however, mobile devices are encountering technological bottlenecks in terms of battery life, formats, and safety issue
In a broad sense, mobile devices are categorically broken down into portable and stationary equipment. Technically, mobile devices are categorized as below:
- Handheld [portable]
- Laptop, including ultraportable [portable]
- Dashtop, including GPS navigation, satellite radio, and WiMAX-enabled dashtop mobile payment platforms[fixed on dashboards]
The battery life and safety issues will perhaps combine to eventually push mobile equipment’s inroads into vehicle dashtops. However, satellite-based GPS navigation and satellite radio may already hit a snag because of their part-time usage and technological hierarchy. Put differently, people want more functions than GPS navigation and satellite radios. The trend indicates an ongoing convergence into all-in-one dashtop mobile devices incorporating GPS navigators, satellite radios, MP3 players, mobile TV, mobile Internet, MVDER (vehicle black box), driving safety monitors, smartphones and even video games.
See also 
- Berg Insight says mobile will account for 11.7 percent of digital ad spend in 2014
- MMA mobile advertising guidelines
- iAB mobile advertising guidelines
- Prevailing Mobile In-Application Advertising Formats
- Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). Mobile Marketing Association
- Mobile Marketing Association
- "Online Ads vs. Privacy"