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Boku exec: Mobile payment opportunity untapped in offline media


NEW YORK – A Boku executive at the Media Tech Summit 2013 conference said that offline media including everything from billboards, print advertisements and television are still a new opportunity with mobile payments.

The “Lightning Round: Why You Must Pay Attention – Mobile Payments Are Here To Stay” session gave attendees an overview of all the different types of mobile payments that are available to marketers. Additionally, the executive spoke about why mobile payments are more than simply a fad.

“There are still a number of opportunities in mobile payments that I think are still largely untapped, and it’s another reason why I think mobile payments are here to stay,” said Ray Ramillosa, vice president of marketing at Boku, San Francisco.

“One of the things about that now is in the context of offline media, whether that’s a TV ad, even a radio ad, certainly a print ad or even a billboard,” he said. “If you think about the ways that advertisers and publishers try to drive immediate action, I would argue that those methods are a challenge today.”

“I think there is something that is still left to be desired in the experience, and I think what that is is the fact that it’s hard to make this stuff really immediately actionable.”

Pay on mobile
According to Juniper Research, mobile payments will bring in $1.3 trillion by 2017 globally.

However, there is still some uncertainty about what constitutes a mobile payment.

The three main payment types being used today is the ability to pay via a mobile device, person-to-person payments and online payments that trigger a payment through a mobile phone number that is entered online.

For merchants, the main drawback of mobile payments is the cost, per Mr. Ramillosa.

Additionally, mobile payments are confusing for consumers because there is not a standard technology to use and it often involves multiple steps for consumers.

For example, there are several apps that let consumers pre-pay for parking by syncing up a credit card an app. However, this still requires that a consumer finds, downloads and uses an app.

On the other hand, a text-to-pay option that prompts consumers to text a keyword to a short code that can then be billed via a carrier is a more universal tactic to use since every mobile device accepts SMS messages.

Even though SMS and text-to-pay has been around for a long time, especially in Europe and other countries, there is still a massive opportunity to leverage the technology, according to the Boku executive.

Near-field-communications also poses a big opportunity for marketers as a simple way to pay for items via a mobile device, but also requires that consumers have an enabled mobile device, and ownership of the devices is still low.

“The intent here is to make the advertising immediately actionable in the instances of where you want to do that,” Mr. Ramillosa said.

Connected devices
During the “Mobile In Motion: Challenges, Disruptions and Innovations” session, a Qualcomm executive spoke about the different ways that marketers can leverage the next wave of devices.

These new devices will include better battery life that let consumers multitask while the devices also become more contextually aware.

For example, Paramount Pictures worked with Qualcomm to develop an app around its new “Star Trek into Darkness” film earlier this year, which contains a rabid fan base of consumers that constantly want additional content.

The film studio developed an app that leveraged audio recognition to sync with a TV ad. Consumers who downloaded and had it open a TV commercial aired to recognize that consumers were tuned into TV.

Then the app served consumers a special content offer with sneak peak scenes that could be shared.

Additionally, the app used GPS to pick up when consumers were nearby to a theater to drive ticket sales.

“If you think about your smartphone today, it’s fairly passive – this will be the revolution,” said Tim McDonough, vice president of marketing at Qualcomm, San Diego.

“Today it sits there, it’s doing things in the background, it’s synching your email, it’s switching from cellular to Wi-Fi to get you the cheapest connection at the highest power, it’s telling you who is posting stuff to Facebook and Twitter, but it’s sitting there waiting for you to do something,” he said.

“But your smartphone is about to change, and it’s going to change largely due to what’s happened with the software ecosystem, [and] largely because of what we have done to the chips inside these phones.”