Will King, head of product development at Orange's Unanimis

Will King, head of product development at mobile ad agency Unanimis, joined the company when it was four years old, and five years before it was acquired by France Telecom in 2009. The French carrier had previously tried to establish a presence in the UK by itself, with varying levels of success, but post acquisition, Unanimis incorporates Orange’s UK network and Orange Mobile Portals, which in turn incorporates the Blyk-powered Orange Shots initiative, into its own ad network offering.

As a digital ad sales house, Unanimis sells web inventory, advertising campaigns and mobile inventory under the Orange brand, giving the carrier specialist knowledge of the sector. Knowledge that may comes in useful given the promising start the sector has had.

“When you consider the (traditional) web versus the mobile, it’s clear that mobile is still nascent,” King says. “There’s a certain nervousness with advertisers, because you have an advertising schedule that makes use of established channels and brands. But look at mobile and you need some convincing. At this stage in the market we need to do a good job of explaining these benefits to brands, by helping them to understand what the channel looks like for them and how we can help them extend their digital activity. Mobile is a very natural extension of the web and brands are very comfortable online now.”

Following a familiar thread of conversation in the mobile advertising space, King notes that digital media got people very excited and there were expectations that it would swallow up other advertising budgets. But brands are now realising they need to play the strengths of the different channels available to them against the audiences they want to communicate with.

“Were trying to talk to marketers in a language they understand,” King says. “As the market matures we will see a mobilisation of peoples’ digital activity overall and there are very specific benefits that mobile can bring around hyper-localisation, next generation services and point of sale interaction. However, today it’s about educating people about how mobile can be used, so it can become a natural and obvious channel for digital marketing.”

Read our feature on mobile advertising

In July, Orange announced an exclusive partnership with online video provider Dailymotion to deliver integrated display functionality allowing advertisers to target specific audiences with localised content on Dailymotion’s platform. With 20,000 videos added daily to the site, the Orange advertising network will have the exclusivity to monetise Dailymotion’s video advertising inventory across the UK, Spain, Poland and Latin America.

“Video inventory is finite and marketing is maturing and developing to include new kinds of marketing. Dailymotion gives us a strong window into selling video display advertising to video advertisers against Dailymotion content, and gives us the opportunity to distribute content,” says King. “Brands are using the web to seed and distribute good content globally to their consumers as well as using the traditional ‘user interruption’ model. Dailymotion encourages user generated content and virilisation. It’s how advertisers have embraced the social environment to distribute their content. It’s part of their schedule.”

But it may be some time before localisation and hyper-localisation really becomes part of the advertising agenda. “The key thing with localisation is that mobile is personal and localisation is key to advertising growth, but there is also the question around users opting in to these services,” says King. “You have to bear in mind what it is appropriate for advertisers to know about users. Hyperlocalisation is a capability unique to mobile, but it needs tempering. In the web space we are in the middle of a process of legislation around privacy, about what can and can’t be used to deliver an advertising message. So a similar code of conduct should be expected for advertisers in the mobile space,” he says.

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