March 26, 2012, 10:12 AM

Mobile ads 2011: Geolocation, variation and your local gym

A new study uncovers trends and developments in mobile advertising.

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If consumers are hitting up their local Whole Foods stores or gyms a little more frequently, mobile advertising might have something to do with it. A new report on mobile ad trends from mobile advertising platform company Millennial Media lists 2011 as a breakout year for health and wellness mobile advertising spending. It also uncovers new trends and developments in mobile advertising.

Location was a big mobile ad buzzword last year as North American mobile advertisers placed more emphasis on location-based advertising; for example, by using geolocation capabilities in devices to serve ads for stores and services near a consumer at any given moment. Retail advertisers in particular leveraged mobile to promote seasonal sales in an effort to drive customers to stores, the study says.

Another trend for 2011: More kinds of ads for more kinds of devices. 2011 kept mobile ad developers busy tailoring ads to various form factors such as smartphones and tablets and operating systems as manufacturers released numerous new tablets , along with new versions of the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

The study also highlights the much-touted HTML5 markup language, praising the flexibility and potential it is bringing to the mobile realm. HTML5 is a programming language that enables developers to leverage a smartphone in ways an app that resides on a smartphone can. Ads powered by HTML5 can use GPS technology; enable common app gestures such as swiping and double-tap zooming; and play, rotate, move and resize video to give viewers greater control.

Mobile ads  also might be helping consumers drop a few pounds or cure a nasty cold. Health and wellness mobile advertisers spent 229% more in 2011 than 2010, heavily promoting fitness products during the beginning of the year and summer months, and wellness products and services during the cold and allergy seasons, the study says.

Meanwhile, the typically strong verticals of technology and finance also posted triple-digit mobile advertising spending growth at 698% and 314%, respectively.

The Top 10 mobile advertising verticals in 2011 ranked by spend according to Millennial Media were:

1. Finance

2. Retail and Restaurants

3. Entertainment

4. Telecommunications

5. Automotive

6. Portals and Directories

7. Consumer packaged goods

8. Education

9. Travel

10. Technology

The Top 9 mobile advertising verticals that posted triple digit spending growth from 2010 to 2011 according to Millennial Media were:

1. Technology, 698%

2. Finance, 314%

3. Health: Fitness and Wellness, 229%

4. Consumer packaged goods, 199%

5. Retail and restaurants, 193%

6. Automotive, 185%

7. Pharmaceuticals, 159%

8. Entertainment, 133%

9. Education, 122%

In terms of mobile ad impressions by operating system, Android led the pack with the most ad impressions per device, capturing 47%, a 57% increase from a year earlier, according to the study.

 

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