How and When Mobile Marketing Started-min

What is Mobile Marketing and How it Started

Preserved in the ruins of Pompeii, is a mosaic of and an amphora that once contained ‘garum’, a type of sweet and sour fish sauce. This fish sauce was well-known. In fact, it was branded. The maker of this fish sauce, Umbricius Scaurus apparently was quite well-off, in part due to his branded condiment. Thus, garum is touted as one of the earliest documented forms of marketing, that dates back to Pompeii 70 AD. Since then, marketing’s evolution has been a gentle simmer, in comparison to the rapid boiling evolution of the digital marketing era, opening up to new branches of marketing including mobile marketing. We’ll delve into exactly what is mobile marketing and it’s history. For those of you interested, there is an infographic at the end of the article on the entire history of marketing (note: it is very very very long!). 
Updated in 2020.

The first example of ‘marketing’ that has been recorded in history. It is a mosaic of a branded fish sauce from Pompeii, in the Ancient Roman Empire, dating back to 70 AD

What is Mobile Marketing? – Mobile Marketing Definition

Mobile marketing is a form of multi-channel digital marketing that aims at reaching audiences on their mobile or cellular devices. That’s the basic mobile marketing definition. Thus, mobile marketing can really cover an array of different advertising formats and types. Mobile is the fastest-growing digital marketing channel and the CAGR is forecasted to grow by 25% from 2018 – 2023.

So when you look at mobile marketing meaning and definition, you realize this type of marketing is most relevant to the app and mobile-based businesses. However, as more-and-more businesses become mobile and app-based, this will become a redundant distinction. One of the key concepts under the umbrella of mobile marketing is mobile app monetization which has really shapen the mobile marketing landscape.

The History of Mobile Marketing

Now that we covered the definition of mobile marketing, let’s talk about its history. The history of mobile marketing and mobile advertising began with the humble ping of the SMS, which was invented in 1992 in the United Kingdom. This channel was untouched by marketers and advertisers until the 2000s. A Finnish news provider decided to promote their latest news headlines through SMS. These messages included advertising, and so mobile advertising and mobile marketing begun and marketers began to experiment with this new exciting channel. 

Mobile marketing first rose to prominence in the 2000s with SMS marketing. Above is an example of SMS mobile marketing, for Domino’s Pizza.

By the time mobile usage and ownership were prolific amongst consumers, marketers were accustomed to reaching consumers on their mobile devices and experimenting with new channels and ad formats. Thus, the transition into new forms and greater investment in mobile marketing was the logical next step.  Now mobile advertising has developed into numerous different and distinctive forms, including MMS marketing, Push notifications, App-based marketing, In-game mobile marketing, Location-based marketing, Mobile search ads, QR codes, and Mobile Image ads

The Era of Mobile Apps

Advertising and modern society was not finished being transformed, as apps have yet to enter the arena until 2005. Jobs, opened the first App Store with a humble 500 apps. Since then it has exploded to the 1.8 million number of apps available today on the App Store, the second-largest application store. App Annie found that people spend nearly 3 hours daily on their phones, with 90% of that time being spent on apps. This shows the overwhelming use of apps, and thus, the need for marketers to advertise in there, in order to reach their audience. 

Most mobile marketers did not miss this chance and in-app advertising began and rose to prominence. This proved to be effective for the advertiser, in terms of brand awareness, user acquisition, and other marketing and advertising KPIs. Whilst, the publisher benefited from the added revenue. This method of revenue earning became so common, that it is now one of the main app monetization strategies. However, AdAge reports that many companies struggle to add mobile marketing and mobile advertising into their advertising and marketing matrix, citing challenges such as “holistic” integration and due to the “another layer of complexity [required]”.

Why Is Mobile Marketing Important?

Mobile marketing is absolutely important because it gives a chance to reach almost everyone! The forecasted number of mobile users worldwide in 2023 is expected to be 7.33 billion.

Did you know there are more mobile phones in the world than humans? Mobile phones are the best devices for you to advertising your products in. Mobile marketing is one of the most effective marketing forms.

How Mobile Marketing Works

Like we stated when we talked about mobile marketing definition, there are different advertising formats and types in mobile marketing. It can be the in the form of:

  • Promotions sent through SMS text messaging, MMS multimedia messaging
  • Downloaded apps using push notifications,
  • In-app or in-game marketing,
  • Mobile web sites,
  • Using mobile devices to scan QR codes.

Mobile Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of both mobile marketing and traditional marketing, and see which one is winning.

Pros of Traditional Marketing

  • Easy to understand
  • It is tangible
  • It is face-to-face

Cons of Traditional Marketing

  • Costs a lot of money
  • Less engaging & less effective
  • It is outdated
  • Difficult to measure results

Pros of Mobile Marketing

  • You can reach your audience anytime & anywhere
  • Better targeting
  • Less expensive
  • Easier to track results
  • Lots of different channels to choose from

Cons of Mobile Marketing

  • Privacy concerns & issues

To learn more on the advantages and disadvantages of mobile marketing read: Mobile Marketing: Remarkable Advantages And Risky Disadvantages

Final Thoughts on Mobile Marketing

From the humble days of mosaiced branded garum fish sauce to the cataclysm of marketing and advertising evolution brought about by the digital revolution, one can only wonder what marketing and advertising will look like in years to come. What will mobile marketing look like, once our mobile devices begin to evolve? How will app monetization strategies change once mobile marketing and mobile advertising evolves? 

However, what is clear is that mobile usage is currently dominating the marketing from a consumer perspective in terms of use and ownership. Thus, if you want to reach your consumers, you need to think about the most effective mobile marketing strategies.

If you’d like to catch the growing mobile marketing trend, before it evolves into something completely different, you can get started by registering here.

BONUS CONTENT: Mobile Marketing Challenges and Marketing History Infographic

Mobile marketing is a rapid river, that leads to the ocean of marketing. If you’d like to deep dive into more marketing topics, you can read some of our free ebooks here. Alternatively, we have some awesome bonus content below for your reading pleasure.

Is Mobile Marketing Growing Fast Enough?

Statistica shows the gap between mobile usage and mobile marketing budget allocation.

Surprise surprise, we spend a lot of time on our mobile devices. In fact, you’re probably reading this from the palm of your hand. Whilst mobile has proliferated our lives, consumer’s lives and has transformed the way we shop, research, communicate and exist, these changes have not been fully reflected in advertising and marketing. The chart above shows the gap between channel usage by advertisers and consumers. Thus, there is a strong case for the growth potential for mobile marketing and mobile advertising due to the increasing use by consumers, the fact that this is the fasted growing channel and the lack of advertising competition, relative to the consumer demand.

Marketing History Infographic 

This excellent infographic from Hubspot, brilliantly illustrates the evolution of marketing over-time, including the advent of mobile marketing and mobile advertising. Take a look at how simpler forms of marketing, such as billboard advertising grew into the digital colossus it is today. 

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