|SkyGo says a high percentage of test users opened wireless ads.
The consumers' interest in acting on ads on their handhelds reached 15%, while 3% of 100 participants receiving a particular ad responded by visiting a store or Web site or making a purchase.
"We first thought this medium was suitable for direct marketing, but we found that there is a strong branding piece to the trial," said Daren Tsui, co-founder and CEO of SkyGo of Redwood City, Calif.
More than 50 advertisers
Using AT&T Wireless' PocketNet service and equipping participants with the Ericsson R280 LX cellular phone, SkyGo teamed up with more than 50 national and local advertisers for the four-month trial. Advertisers included Subway, KFC, CompUSA and Kinko's, which delivered coupon offers, promotions and trivia questions to the cell phone audience. Procter & Gamble used the trial to drive brand awareness for Fabreze, Pringle's and Tide.
Trial participants picked a service plan, but SkyGo paid for a $20 minimum plan of 120 minutes. The PocketNet data service connecting participants to the Internet was free.
SkyGo's market test found a 58% aided ad recall, which Mr. Tsui maintains is better than Internet banner ads. He said 35% of trial participants
|AMC theater ad in a movie review article on a cell phone. Users can click to buy tickets.
The SkyGo trial targeted three demographic groups -- GenY college students, tech-savvy mobile professionals and general U.S. cellular consumers. Those customers tend to be college-educated with household incomes slightly higher than the national average. Participants completed an online registration profiling their interests, and agreed to receive a minimum of three ads per day and answer five online questionnaires during the course of the trial. They also chose the time of the day they wanted to receive ads.
Mr. Tsui said more than 50% of participants asked to receive more than three ads per day -- the maximum that could be received was six.
Participants acted on different kinds of propositions, ranging from trivia questions and contests to coupon offers, sign-ups for more information, e-mail, and they even got links to 10-second audio clips via an interactive voice response system.
On trivia questions, such as Kinko's "Where did the Kinko's name come from?" or KFC's "How many chicken sandwiches sold last year?" participants posted a 52% click-through rate. A correct answer for KFC meant a buy-one-get-one-free coupon; other advertisers offered sweepstakes' entry. Fun pull-through vehicles, such as the one used by Boulder's popular Turley's diner, asked participants to enter their favorite dinner fare from among several choices. In return, the consumer got a buy-one-get-one-free dinner offer. P&G's Pringle's asked "What's your favorite Pringle's flavor?" Pull-throughs received a 48% click-through rate.
|Users can sign up at Web sites to get wireless ad updates.
In all, advertisers, which paid an undisclosed fee to SkyGo to participate, ran 550 unique campaigns over the course of the four-month trial. Each one, on average, had 10 campaigns run over the PocketNet service. SkyGo estimates it delivered more than 500,000 advertising alerts to participants.
SkyGo, like other wireless marketing providers, is banking on the personal nature of the wireless phone or handheld device. Unlike computers, these devices connect to an extremely captive audience. As wireless carriers such as Nextel, US West and AT&T Wireless launch aggressive "all-you-can-eat" rate plans, consumers are likely to see more more trials and services like SkyGo's.