Mobile advertising: The next big thing

Advertising on mobile phones is a tiny business. Last year spending on mobile ads was US$871m worldwide according to Informa Telecoms & Media, a research firm, compared with $24 billion spent on internet advertising and $450 billion spent on all advertising. But marketing wizards are beginning to talk about it with the sort of hyperbole they normally reserve for products they are paid to sell. It is destined, some say, to supplant not only internet advertising, the latest fad, but also television, radio, print and billboards, the four traditional pillars of the business.At the moment, most mobile advertising takes the form of text messages. But telecoms firms are also beginning to deliver ads to handsets alongside video clips, web pages, and music and game downloads, through mobiles that are nifty enough to permit such things. Informa forecasts that annual expenditure will reach $11.4 billion by 2011. Other analysts predict the market will be as big as $20 billion by then.

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