The world we live in gets easily bored and craves novelty. Smart marketers look for new ways to put a twist on old standby marketing and advertising techniques. Marketing through television and radio channels has been done to death and has more nuisance value than anything else as far as the audience is concerned.For marketers seeking new ways and means to expand their reach anywhere their prospects are — the future is here. Smart marketers and advertisers create a personal touch in their ad campaigns. This is one of the reasons why mobile advertising is rapidly increasing in popularity as an effective marketing tool. And the astonishing use of mobile devices leveraged this trend.There are over 1.5 billion mobile phone users worldwide according to the International Telecommunications Union with the highest growth percentage coming from emerging economies like China, Russia and India. The US has about 200 million mobile subscribers. Smart marketers are tapping into the potential to reach their prospects as they’re on the move. Mobile devices are practically a permanent attachment for people under age 34.Mobile Advertising is delivered in a number of formats. Text messaging, mobile internet advertising and mobile radio advertising are some of the common advertising formats. Out of these, text messaging (SMS) is the most widely used format.According to the joint Mobile Advertising Report (MAR) released by Limbo and GfK Technology, text message usage is about 74% in India, 48% in the UK and 22% in the US. Projections predict in the near future mobile internet advertising will surpass text message advertising (FierceWireless).In June 2008, Nokia launched the Nokia Advertising Alliance that aims to make mobile advertising easier for advertisers. This particular program includes services like providing marketing strategies, geographic targeting and related technologies to enhance customer captivation. Now advertisers can work in conjunction with Nokia to expand the coverage of mobile advertising with emerging mobile technologies for more powerful ad promotions.The best part about mobile marketing is mobile devices are more heavily used than traditional PCs. Mobile advertisements are delivered to the customer no matter where they are. Even with these advantages, mobile advertising is still in its “early adopter” stages with a long way to go. The main obstacles are in the form of data tariff structures, handset and mobile internet interactivity and quality of subject matter.Like the early days of the Internet, there are more advertisers than quality content. Add to that an acute lack of tools to assess the performance of mobile ad campaigns. Even though most of these difficulties will be solved in the future, mobile advertising will still face competition from other advertising and marketing methods. Google, Microsoft and Nokia are the prominent players in mobile advertising. The future holds a huge potential in terms of revenues from mobile marketing spend..According to a report released by Informa Telecoms & Media, it is estimated that marketing on mobile will generate USD 1.72 billion in 2008 and will rise to USD 12 billion in 2013. The report also advocates the use of banner ads as an effective tool in mobile advertising. The report highlights the significance of focusing on the long run and not the short term stumbling blocks.Yahoo jumped on the bandwagon in June 2008 when it partnered with Publicis to integrate Publicis mobile advertising agency (PhoneValley) with Yahoo’s mobile developer platform language (Blueprint). The partnership is aimed at developing brands, reaching customers and maximizing sales through new techniques. It also aims to initiate cutting edge advertising strategies in the future.Since the potential market for mobile advertising is huge, a few companies are exploring new horizons and expanding in new territory. For example, Millenial Media Inc., is venturing into Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Millenial develops ads for cell-phones and mobiles. Its CEO Paul Palmieri says “There is a tremendous growth opportunity for advertising on mobile on a global basis, as evidenced by a rich and active mobile direct marketing industry, as well as surging demand from top brand advertisers.”The media industry and brand advertisers are slowly catching on and making use of mobile advertising to increase market penetration. Mobile advertising has added support from applications like ringtones and pictures. Bluetooth advertising is also growing in popularity. Here, a company can advertise its products or services over a fixed area.The three major search engines: Yahoo, Google and Microsoft have already realized the potential and the possibilities of the mobile advertising market. MSN uses banner ads on MSN mobile pages. Earlier MSN’s mobile advertising was confined to countries like France, Japan, Spain and UK. Recently it expanded coverage to include the US. Google also launched mobile image ads. When the cell phone browser is opened these image ads are displayed on the screen. However, the ad size is much smaller as compared to those for web pages. These image ads are connected to a web page and they follow the price-per-click model Google AdWords uses.Advertising on mobile is one of best forms of mass medium advertising. It’s personal, and has a wider reach than any other form of advertising. It’s still early to comment on exactly how big or how successful it will prove to be. However, by all indicators “the future’s so bright you gotta wear shades.”The predictions about the future revenues generated through mobile advertising optimistic. A brand advertiser, a mobile advertising company and the consumer will have different perceptions of mobile marketing. However, advertising on mobile also comes with its fair share of drawbacks. Mobile ads are sometimes viewed as another form of spam and the advertisers as spammers. To resolve this issue, there are programs developed to give subscribers free talk-time for performing certain activities related to viewing ads. As far as the opinions of consumers are concerned, it’s a mixed bag. This is because people are simply not accustomed to being paid to view ads. Even if they are paid to view them, many still view the ads as a nuisance. It doesn’t make sense for the advertiser to pay a consumer to view ads if there are no conversions.