Orange puts Blyk to good use with mobile brand advertising offering (Source: GoMo News)
There was a bit of a skirmish last year, in July 2009. Ad-supported mobile network Blyk went through a “will-they-won’t-they” period of shutting up shop, before finally dissolving and merging parts of the company with mobile operator Orange. And now Orange is launching what could be a powerful new advertising service using Blyk technology. Let’s have a look back to see exactly what’s going on.
Who were Blyk?
Blyk was an incredibly bold idea for a mobile operator…. bold as in “brash”, not bold as in “naughty”. The idea was to use advertising revenue to give customers free voice minutes and texts. It was based around the concept that once advertising becomes well targeted enough, it stops being advertising and becomes genuine news content. So Blyk threw a lot of effort into targeting. The basic offer to customers from Blyk was this:
1) Tell us what kind of things you like
2) We’ll send you relevant advertising based on those things
3) The more advertising you agree to recieve, the more free minutes and texts we’ll give you
It gave advertisers an unparalleled and receptive audience, and it gave the audience a good reason to view ads. And Blyk would balance out the revenue loss from customers by selling incredibly valuable ad space to advertisers.
Yeah… but it didn’t really work out. Part of the reason for that is that voice minutes and texts have become so cheap over the last year that people are getting them practically for free anyway. Last year, after a lot drama (which Bena neatly summarises here), Blyk announced that it was shutting down its operations and selling its targeted advertising branch to Orange. This was a hot property, with plenty of other operators trying to get their hands on it, including O2 and Vodafone.
So what’s the news?
Orange has announced a new advertising service called ‘Orange Shots’. It’s an SMS/MMS based service to allow brands to interact directly with targeted segments of the Orange user base… although at the moment brands can only use the service to send ads to the 100,000 people subscribing to the “Monkey” plan of Oranges Pay As You Go offerings.
How does it work?
Basically the same way that Blyk did. Monkey customers who have opted-in to the service will receive ads from companies – and earn incentives for doing so. Orange uses a lot of PR friendly jargon like “rich, creative, engaging and fun mobile advertising campaigns” and “[have] real time conversation with customers happy to hear from [you]“, but ultimately it’s the same deal as before. The operator is paying its customers to look at ads.
Orange has been testing the service since September, and claims response rates of between 21-39%, depending on the service being advertised.