Advertising on Mobile in Israel Is in Its Infancy, but It’s Growing

Israeli marketing execs praise mobile ads; 70% expect to boost outlays this year.

Archive photo: Jini

Advertising on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablet computers, is expected to be the main source of growth in the advertising industry worldwide, accounting for 51% of new revenue, according to London-based Zenith Optimedia.

On a worldwide basis, mobile ads represent just about 5% of the total advertising pie, Zenith said. In Israel the rate is 2% - but it’s rising quickly.

The expectation for growth in Israel’s mobile-advertising sector is backed by a survey that asked Israeli marketing executives about their attitudes toward new technologies.

The poll, conducted by the research firm TRI for Twisted, a Ramat Gan advertising and consulting firm, showed that while marketing people tend to be slow to embrace new tech, they are generally receptive to mobile ads.

The survey gauged the opinions of 100 marketing directors at Israeli companies and at the Israeli offices of global firms.

Fully 74% of respondents said they’d bought mobile ads in the past year, 78% said they would do so in the coming year and 70% said they’d spend more on mobile ads.

Nearly two-thirds said they spend at least 3 million shekels (about $750,000) a year on mobile ads.

One entity that has made use of the mobile medium is Clalit Health Services, Israel’s largest health-maintenance organization, and its approach underlines the access that the medium can provide.

“On average [people] look at that mobile screen 150 to 200 times a day,” noted Lior Wolff, who heads Clalit’s digital-services division.

“We understand that this is a place where we can reach clients with additional services, such as [enabling them] to make appointments with doctors and providing push notifications regarding test results.”

Clalit also offers video-chat consultations with doctors. On an average day, 11,000 chat sessions with Clalit doctors take place.

But the HMO plans to expand its mobile reach so patients can provide medical information from home, including pictures that patients take and send to doctors for diagnosis. Clalit is already testing a format that enables patients to send pictures of their ears.

Since digital-ad results can be measured, ad execs relate to advertising in terms of return on investment and seek to know exactly what results their campaigns generate.

They are generally satisfied with mobile ads: 80% of those surveyed expressed satisfaction. Among companies spending at least 3 million shekels a year on mobile ads, the satisfaction level is even higher.

Mobile ads include a range of contexts, including social networks such as Facebook, which most users now access on mobile devices. Another option is brief videos between other content. This setting is said to be particularly influential because it uses full screens and is timed for moments when viewers are receptive to ad messages.

Other popular vehicles that the survey respondents noted included Google and ad banners.

The Twisted agency survey found that more than a third of ad executives preferred to go to agencies specializing in mobile advertising for their mobile buys. The leading specialty firm in Israel is Moblin, and Twisted is now setting up its own mobile subsidiary.