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Vodafone Completes Roll Out of Mobile Advertising Services to 18 Markets in 18 Months

13 Jun 2009Technology news
4 minute read

Vodafone announces today that it has fulfilled its ambition to expand the availability of its mobile advertising services to 18 operating company markets in the last 18 months. Despite the worsening economic climate, Vodafone has also enjoyed strong revenue growth from mobile advertising services during 2008/9 and plans to continue the roll out, expanding both the portfolio of mobile advertising services and their reach.

Over the last year Vodafone Marketing Solutions has run over 2000 campaigns across its global footprint for hundreds of global brands*. While those brands continue to enjoy considerable success with mobile banner campaigns, they are increasingly trying newer mobile advertising formats including the use of branded content, sponsored alerts, opt-in push messaging and advertising on service based text messages**.

Rick Fant, Head of Internet Discovery at Vodafone said "In the current economic climate brands will look even harder at their budgets and how they spend them. Mobile advertising offers a combination of great response rates alongside the opportunity for advertisers to reach out to and engage with their customers. We are pleased with the performance of Vodafone’s mobile advertising business and that more and more brands are moving spend to this innovative medium”.

Vodafone will continue to invest in its advertising offering in the coming year both by adding to its global reach through its network of operating companies, affiliates and partners – including operators such as Mobilkom, Proximus, Vodacom, and China Mobile – as well as by seeking to extend the number, type and effectiveness of its portfolio of advertising services.

Vodafone’s advertising development programme is designed to provide customers with relevant and engaging advertising experiences and advertisers with effective and responsive marketing platforms. Services in development or trial include:

  • Zonal marketing trial – This will allow opted-in customers to receive promotional messages from brands relevant to their profile and their realtime location. As they enter a pre-defined area they will receive an MMS or SMS message from Vodafone containing the promotion.
  • Incoming voice/text alerts advertising trial – Full screen advertisements from a range of advertising partners will be shown to opted-in customers during the moments before they answer a call or view a message. Customers who choose to join the database, and who go on to view adverts will be rewarded with points that they can redeem against goods or services.
  • Branded applications and widgets trial – Assessing customer acceptance of and interaction with, as well as brand marketing effects of, branded mobile apps.
  • Location based advertising trial – Vodafone plans to trial customer acceptance of and engagement with branded Points of Interest, (locations of – for example – stores, restaurants and petrol stations) and branded locational search.
  • Trial of an enhanced mobile internet browser – Vodafone is looking at how to simplify and enhance the mobile internet browsing experience for opt-in customers as well as investigating opportunities for mobile publishers and advertisers.
  • Vodafone myCampaign – An online self-service platform for mobile advertisers. Currently in development in Germany and Czech Republic, with further markets planned, this tool will allow small businesses to set up and run cost-effective, and local mobile advertising campaigns. The service is designed to be simple, quick and easy to use - combining creative, reporting and online prepayment via credit card.

Fant said, “We are an ambitious company in a leadership position and we have big plans for this space. Vodafone has always been an innovator in its products and services, in its technology and most importantly in its customer offering. So over the next year it’s natural for us to continue to invest in and improve our offering for all of customers – be they consumer & business subscribers or our brand & agency customers around the world”.

For further information:

Vodafone Group Plc
Media Relations
Telephone: +44 (0)1635 664444

Notes to Editors

* Brand clients in 2008 have included Coca Cola, Diageo, General Motors, Mercedes, P&G, Unilever, Nestle, Cadburys, Burger King, McDonalds, BMW, Lufthansa, Disney, Adidas, Citroen, Sky, Cisco, Mercedes, HP, Direct Line, BBVA, Microsoft, Heineken, Allianz, Beiersdorf, L’Oreal, Ford, Ikea, Sony, Accor etc

About Vodafone
Vodafone is the world's leading international mobile telecommunications company, with equity interests in 27 countries and Partner Markets in more than 40 countries. As of 31 December 2008, Vodafone had approximately 289 million proportionate customers worldwide. For further information, please visit

** Mobile advertising service details and sample campaigns:

Balance Checks & Top Up AlertsAdvertising is built into the service message received by the customer when he/she checks their pre pay balance. This service is currently running successfully in Ireland and New Zealand. Vodafone New Zealand ran a highly successful campaign in the build up to the general elections last year. The campaign was designed to encourage voter enrolment by SMS amongst young adults in New Zealand. To reinforce and complement an above the line campaign and to boost the SMS response numbers towards the tail end of the campaign, New Zealand’s Electoral Enrolment Centre decided to run a sponsored SMS campaign. The campaign used text adverts, featuring the shortcode, inserted into “top up” and “balance alerts” to successfully drive up response amongst VF-NZ pre pay customer base. The results were fantastic with SMS responses nearly doubling whenever the adverts ran.
Free SMS services‘SMS Gratis’ is a free SMS product offered to students in the Czech Republic. Students can send unlimited texts using either a downloadable java client or a dedicated area of the Vodafone live! portal. Adverts are seen at various stages of the send process. ‘Please Call Me’ is a hugely popular service pioneered by Vodacom in South Africa. Pre pay customers with low or no credit are able to send a free message through the network asking for the recipient to call them back. 22 million of these messages are sent a day in South Africa, building large reach very quickly. This service is now available in Spain, Egypt, and Czech Republic and is rolling out to a number of other Vodafone markets this year. In South Africa the National Aids Helpline ran an advert within the popular ‘Please Call Me’ service to promote the helpline number. Calls to the helpline increased by 136%, with around 1,500 extra calls received on the days that the advertisements ran.
SMS CompetitionsVodafone Turkey partnered with PepsiCo to run a ‘text to win’ promotion encouraging customers to buy Pepsi during the evenings of Ramadan. Participants simply purchased their drink, unscrewed the cap and texted in the unique code to receive their free Vodafone credits. Some 2 million customers – 10% of the customer base – participated.
Sponsored AlertsIn Italy and a number of other markets, Vodafone customers are given the opportunity to subscribe to SMS or MMS alerts - subjects include fashion, celebrity, travel, sport, weather, horoscopes. Alerts are sent to the user’s inbox at no cost to the subscriber by virtue of the advertising contained within. Vodafone Italy has over 1.5 million opted-in users of this “Freetime” service. Sky recently ran a promotion using the Italian service, offering customers an exclusive opportunity to subscribe to their satellite services. Customers simply texted ‘OK’ in response and were called back by Sky Customer Service. Responses were impressive at 0.96%, with a 7.5% new subscription rate.
Branded & Sponsored ContentThe editorial experience of Vodafone live! portal is enhanced through the addition of channels and content that are sponsored by relevant brands. Vodafone UK examples include a Citroën sponsored motoring channel and an Intel sponsored technology channel. In South Africa Vodacom last year launched “So Like Life” the first ever made for mobile “mobi-soap” – completely free to the user and brand sponsored. Forty episodes of the soap were produced specifically for mobile phones and were available exclusively to Vodacom’s Vodafone live! customers.
Ring Back/Ring Up TonesIn several markets Vodafone offers its customers the opportunity to transform the ringing tone heard by callers, replacing it with a choice of music provided by advertisers. In December 2008, Vodafone Germany launched the first ever German ring-up tone campaign with Coca-Cola. Vodafone live! customers were able to download the Coca-Cola Christmas song Holidays are Coming used in the TV commercial as a ring-up tone for their mobile phone. More than 800,000 callers heard the Coke song during the campaign.
Vodafone live! Portal BannersUsing its Vodafone live! mobile internet portal, Vodafone is able to offer clients and agencies access to an increasingly sophisticated array of mobile banner inventory. Inventory can be targeted by channel, by time, and, in many markets by device, age, sex, and home location. Clickthrough rates are very high – on average at least 10 times those of online, and brand metrics, when researched, have consistently been very impressive. Nestlé worked closely last year with Vodafone Spain in the development of its “Eat well on your mobile” campaign. The campaign offered women across the country the opportunity to access recipes and tips for healthy eating through a specially created mobile portal. More than 22,000 Spanish women interacted with the campaign. The mobile site enjoyed more than 30,000 hits, with 1 in 5 visits resulting in a video recipe download, and over 1,200 entries to a shopping competition.
Push MessagingVodafone affiliate SFR offers customers discounts and promotions from brands specifically customised to match their interests, declared when they subscribe to the ‘Promolive’ service. The offers are sent to the subscriber by MMS or SMS. SFR has built up an opt-in database of over 2 million customers using the service.
Crossmedia AdvertisingIncreasingly our OpCos are able to offer integrated, cross media advertising opportunities to advertisers, giving access to a range of digital platforms - online and mobile – as well more traditional opportunities such as bill inserts, in-store POS integration, magazines and partnership programmes. This integrated approach is available in many markets including Vodafone Germany – with its recent acquisition of the broadband ISP Arcor – Vodafone Australia, Vodafone Hungary, and Vodafone Egypt.
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