It’s time for Mobile Network Operators to take their piece of the mobile advertising pie

Last updated: 22 July 2020

Buzz…buzz…buzz…the shrill noise of your alarm clock wakes you with a jolt. You haphazardly reach over to press the snooze button but then you remember that today is D-Day.

The day when you’ll be presenting your monetization strategy to the board of the major telecoms company you work for. They’ve been obsessed with monetization ever since they found out that Verizon was looking into acquiring Yahoo as another way to boost revenues from digital advertising streams.

You jump out of bed with a spring in your step knowing that you’ve done everything you can to nail it.

You arrive at the office with caffeine pumping through your veins, ready to give the presentation of your life. You walk into the boardroom, where six expectant faces sat around the table focus their gazes intently on you.

“Well…please do take the floor” says the Chair, handing you the presentation screen clicker.

And you begin…

You open by explaining that mobile advertising is a big and growing market. It’s still the main business model for a lot of publishers and services, with the US market alone valued at around $73 billion dollars.

And continue by confirming that the company has been looking for a role within this chain, but like many competitors, you haven’t been sure how to strike the right balance between better monetization of consumer data and consumer privacy.

You then highlight that a raft of new customer data privacy legislation is underway to disrupt the market by making it harder for organizations to analyze traffic and content performance in the detail required to make it a success. Apple recently banned third party cookies and the new EU cookie law is imminent. While GDPR demands companies get explicit consent to market to people.

Then you have to take into account how media and digital players are starting to join forces to overcome these issues. Their ambition to battle the Goliaths of Facebook and Google lies in pooling user data and boosting the reach and effectiveness of their online advertising. In France, 15 big media, news, broadcast and retail companies have created the Gravity Alliance to these ends.

The Chair cuts in…

“All I’m hearing is problems here, when I pay you to come up with solutions!”

The CFO and CMO shoot each other knowing glances.

Coolly and calmly you click through to the next slide, and say, “But this is where our unique opportunity as mobile operators lies.”

You explain that because your organization has already built a long-standing trusting relationship with its customers, you already own a lot of “first party” data about them – details such as basic demographics, location, mobile data usage & internet scrolling.

But now, you can go further and offer them a clear exchange of value in return for their data. A discount on their phone bill or other rewards for example. And because customers understand what they are opting-in for, your core data set will remain unscathed by these new laws.

You describe how this information is entirely unique, which makes it all the more valuable. And that research shows that ‘first party” data reliably produces the best insights and ROI.

You can see the CFO’s eyes light up as she starts to put the puzzle pieces together in her head.

You describe how simple it would be to package up this data and sell it to those negatively affected by the new legislations…anyone looking to advertise online.

The room starts to nod along with you…

You emphasize that the potential is huge as everyone is investing in online advertising, and so everyone is a potential customer for our data service. With companies like Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Ford, Amazon amongst the top 10 spenders.

You look pointedly as the head of product, sales and CMO and say that the next step is to decide how we want to package up and sell this data, what we want to charge for it and how we go about marketing it.

You pause as your presentation comes to a close. The room is silent.

Clap…clap…the Chair starts a slow applause and before you know, the entire room is joined in unison.

“I love it” she screams.

You pinch yourself wondering if you’re having another one of those dreams.

But it hurts, and you realize that this is definitely mobile operator marketing reality. The future for your company looks good with a clear opportunity to open up a new revenue stream that respects consumers, ensures trust and complies with the new GDPR regulation.

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