Growing PH smartphone market fuels mobile advertising

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Dec 01 2012 11:28 AM | Updated as of Dec 03 2012 08:46 PM

MANILA, Philippines – There has been much talk about the promise of mobile advertising in recent years and industry leaders believe that the Philippine advertising landscape is now on its way to experiencing a “seismic change.”

Ernest Cu, CEO and President of Globe Telecoms, said the change in the advertising industry landscape is being ushered by the growing access of more Filipinos to cheaper yet still powerful smartphones.

He said these smartphones, given their capabilities, can now accommodate media heavy advertisement formats such as the popular “augmented reality.”

“Mobile bears tremendous opportunity from the perspective of preferred advertising media. Most importantly, because it is so personal, it enables a unique efficiency of reaching out to very precise target markets,” Cu told the attendees of the 2012 Mobile Marketing Congress on Thursday.

Cu, citing latest data from renowned research firm GFK, said 1 out 3 mobile phones in the Philippines is a smartphone. He said about 95% of Globe’s 150,000 new post-paid subscribers quarterly are choosing smartphones.

He also noted the wider reach of mobile phones, with some 80 million Filipinos owning it as opposed to some 14 million households with television.

“Thus, as far as reach and pervasiveness go, for the advertising community, there would appear to be more fish to catch in the cellular area than in broadcast,” he said.

Anand Tilak, Regional Manager for Agency Business and Sales Development of Google Southeast Asia, also shared Cu’s observation about the Filipinos’ shifting attention towards mobile media and away from traditional ones.

Tilak said a study revealed that two-thirds of Filipinos sitting in front of TVs are not engaged in watching but are surfing the Internet instead.

“Consumers are in love with mobile. People look at their mobile phones more frequently in a day than they look at their spouses,” he said.

Industry trends are also showing that the world is indeed going mobile, and companies of varying sizes have started funneling part of their budgets to mobile advertising.

According to Joerg Krahnert, managing director of leading mobile platform service provider Netbiscuits, the following are the five key trends in web development indicating the migration from the traditional PCs to mobile.
- mobile users will surpass desktop users globally by 2014;
- web will be accessed through mobile four times than via PCs by 2015
- 81% browse the Internet on smartphones today
- 50% of today’s native apps will be web or hybrid (HTML 5) by 2015
- four times faster growth of enterprise spending on cloud services than overall IT


One of the advantages of mobile advertising is its capability to reach its target audience, as opposed to the “shot gun approach” of the traditional media.

Cu said currently Globe has some 2 million out of its 30 million subscribers who have opted in to be profiled. This means they can share data, with the subscriber’s permission, to third parties for marketing purposes.

“The infrastructure and intelligence behind such capabilities are what empower the M-ads proposition… We are building that capability extensively - profile the customer almost in real time so we can track demographics, usage, product subscriptions, transactions and interactions, bill payment and behavior,” he said.

“Whereas the oldest system take from 15 to 45 days to render useable customer profile information, Globe will do it within a day. If we are able to direct and time our advertisements and message precisely, then that’s relevant. M-ads make most sense when they can be pointed on select markets based on customer profiling parameters.”

Globe currently has a partnership with leading mobile advertising firm Out There Media for its opt-in mobile advertising. Subscribers who agreed to be profiled receive rewards.

“People who opt in to our program actually earn points. This is Globe reward points that you can change to services. In doing so, as they give us info they would earn points,” he said.

Cu said customer profiling for mobile advertising is still facing challenges in the Philippines, with verifying customer information still difficult due to the lack of a national identification system database.