Mobile giants Vodafone, O2 and EE are ramping up their joint advertising venture – which offers brands the chance to target ads to more than 17 million users – with plans to introduce mobile payments and loyalty card services.
The scheme, dubbed Weve, launched last year. It uses anonymised data but offers advertisers a raft of personal information supplied by the customer, as well as location information.
Weve chief executive David Sear says the group is implementing plans to bring greater sophistication to mobile advertising. “More than 80% of mobile banner ads are not targeted. It is no wonder people have not responded to mobile ads in the past given the lack of intelligence,” he said.
“Mobile is your first screen, the one you look at most and longest – it is now the primary way to interact with the world digitally.”
Since Weve began trading in November, it has run 282 campaigns, mostly with packaged goods and retail brands, which have embraced mobile advertising faster than other sectors.
Sear cites the success of a campaign run for Tesco that sent texts with a £5 discount voucher to customers just outside a certain store’s catchment to draw in new footfall. These texts were also aimed at certain types of “more valuable” customers, he said.
Weve is also conducting trials of a loyalty application that will serve as a single platform for various retailers and brands – described as a “digital container for the bits of plastic in a wallet”.
Sear also believes Weve can build a single payment platform across three of the four UK networks, with most smartphones adopting the so-called “NFC” technology needed for contactless payments.
“There is a single deal, single technical agreement with a neutral, device-agnostic platform,” he said. “We want to be mass market straight away – which means at least 50% of consumers by the end of next year.”
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