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Mobile Marketing Takes Hold in the Philippines

Nearly half of marketers invest in mobile outreach

Mobile marketing is fairly popular in the Philippines, with nearly half of companies saying they invested in the channel, according to a May 2013 survey from mobile agency Mobext Philippines.

The mobile website and mobile apps topped the list of tactics that mobile marketers planned to invest in next, with each category cited by nearly two-thirds of respondents. The next most popular tactic to see imminent investment was social media mobile outreach.

The greatest percentage of marketers saw targeting capabilities as mobile marketing’s most important benefit, with 83.9% saying that mobile’s ability to target users on the go or via geolocation was a key advantage. Another 77.4% of respondents valued the ability to send out personalized/targeted communication (one-to-one marketing) via the channel, a nod to the behavioral and demographic targeting capabilities on mobile.

But as excited as marketers may be about the potential of mobile in the Philippines, they also know that limited penetration of smart mobile devices in the country makes investments only so worthwhile. Nearly three-quarters cited the limited penetration of smartphones and tablets as the biggest barrier to greater investment, and more than two-thirds mentioned technology constraints, including poor connectivity.

In fact, given the limited penetration of smart devices in the Philippines, it’s surprising so many marketers have already invested. A Q4 2012 report from global telecom research company Informa Telecoms & Media found that smartphones accounted for just 14% of mobile connections in the country, nearly the lowest level of any country studied, below Thailand, South Africa and Poland, among others.

Mobile phones, however, are widely used, with connections reaching over 100% of the population last year, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Mobile outreach to basic cell phones or feature phones, including via SMS, may be how mobile marketers initiated their efforts with the channel.

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