May, 06 2008

Anyone who pays attention to mobile technology will confess that mobile coupons are an “up and coming prospect” for the industry. But to present day, the sizzle of the mobile coupon concept is only met with fizzle from mobile coupon implementation. Why the disconnect?

The reasons Mobile Coupons haven’t taken off are fairly basic:

  1. The number of mobile phone users who access “extra curricular” features are not only limited, but spread across handset manufacturers, mobile carriers, handset OS platforms and geographic boundaries making logical, helpful mass distribution a conundrum.
  2. The cost of reaching targeted consumers relative to the potential revenue generated simply doesn’t make it worthwhile for advertisers at the moment.
  3. The process for consumers to retrieve mobile coupons is currently as far from “habit forming” as possible. It’s an inconvenience and for this reason they don’t even try.
  4. If DO go through the inconvenience, they are likely to be left unrewarded as the vast majority of retailers and service providers don’t offer mobile coupons.

You see it is a bit of a Catch 22. The consumers don’t bother with mobile coupons because they are irrelevant in terms of offerings. Advertisers don’t plop down the money because consumers view them as irrelevant and they aren’t likely to earn a return on their investment. But all that is about to change… courtesy of Android.

Android will fulfill the consumer and advertiser end of the bargain in the following ways:

  • Easy for consumers to just download one app.
  • Easy to use after download (ex: view coupons for “select category” nearby)
  • Puts this same application into the hands of a mass population who are spread across handsets, carriers and location but use the software the same.

The question is, who will step up to the plate and make the best Android App involving coupons? The first round of the Android Developer Challenge has passed and we’re wondering how many entries were coupon based. Anybody?

Google themselves is surely trying to capitalize on the value of their own platform. Don’t believe us? They’ve kind of said so themselves. It won’t be hard to tweak a few things and make this applicable to Android.

By the way, something we’re really, really curious about: is Google currently developing a suite of their own Google Android Applications that will compete directly with the 3rd party developers submitting their work to the ADC? Because if so… that could get sticky. But at the same time… we can’t imagine they wouldn’t?

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