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    HomeInsightsOrange launches WAP banner ads

    Orange launches WAP banner ads

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    Seeks more “ARPO”

    Orange is claiming a first  in the UK with the launch of interactive banner advertising on its WAP portal, Orange World.

    Ads from companies such as Jaguar, Peugeot, Xboa and United international Pictures went live on the site yesterday. At the launch of the service, only four devices on Orange’s network will be able to access the adverts. The company is also planning to boost advertising revenues with the launch of a sponsored search tool, later this year.

    Steve Ricketts, Third Party Relationship Manager at Orange, says that the devices have been chosen for their different display and functional characteristics, as the operator seeks to build up its metrics on user response to banner advertising. It will also  be technically easier to transcode the adverts to the correct formats and sizes for a limited number of devices.

    Ricketts said that mobile marketing until now has tended to “enrich” other forms of advert, such as an SMS or voice shortcode. This is the first time in the UK that on-portal banner advertising has been tried out, and he thinks it stands to bring new revenue streams into the industry.

    “ARPU is well known as a term, but people are also now starting to talk about ARPO – average revenue per others.”

    Mobile advertising is still a work in progress, though. Ricketts said that the operator wants to build up its knowledge of usage rates, click throughs, how and when adverts are accessed and responded too. The operator will also keep track of which types of user, bearer and devices are most and least active.

    Orange is transcoding, reformatting and supplying on the fly all th materials itself, rather than working with a technology partner, although Ricketts said the operator is working with Screetonic, a French company which has worked with Orange France. The Orange Broadband team (Wanadoo) is also involved in online sales.

    Ricketts said that in terms of content, it is important ads are made for mobile.

    “These phones are smaller, screens are different, WAP usage differs from PC web browsing, all of these things mean we have to make sure mobile ads work effectively.”

    Banner advertising, which relies on users browsing to a page and responding to an ad, is just one way mobile companies are thinking about unlocking mobile media revenues. Others include pushing messages using the idle screen and in-game or video advertising. Sponsored search is another possible area, and Ricketts confirmed Orange would have a sponsored search facility going live later this year.