Cellphone companies are eyeing ads as a way to combat declining revenue from voice calls, which have been getting cheaper to attract new customers. At the same time, carriers have come under pressure to introduce advertising from media companies that are investing heavily to bring sports, news, videos and other entertainment to wireless devices. Content providers are looking for a new revenue source partly because many have been disappointed with consumer response to efforts to sell such content for a fee.
Many marketers are intrigued by cellphone ads because they can target customers more precisely than ads on television, online or in print. Phone companies have a lot of their customers’ personal information, from billing records, and locations where they are using their phones in real time. Carriers can potentially track which wireless Web sites a customer is browsing, for instance, and send them targeted ads while they’re using the service.