Mogreet, this week, announced that they have launched AdStitch which allows advertisers to incorporate pre- and post-roll ads to video MMS messages, which immediately triggered an "Oh no you dinnit!" in my mind. That knee jerk reaction slowly evolved into something else akin to, well, read on.
First off, as a mobile user, the last thing I want in this day and age of bandwidth capping and throttling on the part of the mobile carriers, is something wasting my bandwidth and causing my connection to slow down halfway through the month. As a consumer, that is exactly how I feel about this new AdStitch technology from Mogreet and I can't say that many consumers will think differently. Honestly, do you really need to chew up bandwidth for poor mobile users by sticking adds into MMS video messages? If that started happening on some MMS video update I was getting regularly, I would instantly unsubscribe without hesitation. After all, I need that bandwidth to do things like watch actual video content that I want to see.
MMS Video Ads or the Brand Marketer
From a brand marketer viewpoint I can see the appeal, especially when Mogreet says that the companies that are using it are Cox and Turner. KTVU, a Cox Media in Oakland, CA. is using this to expand a brand advertiser's reach by incorporating the ads into updates which are sent as MMS video clips to opt-in users for various programming. The real thing I'd like to know, which probably won't be released, is how many people unsubscribed when the ads started showing up. Clearly, the last thing I'd want would be my brand to be mentally associated with something that could be construed as extremely negative for the consumers, as in, ads chewing through bandwidth when it's metered and throttled or worse yet, being on a pay-per-MB plan and having it cost me money in the long run. Then again, I suppose those that are worried about those things might not be interested in subscribing to this type of service in the first place.
AdStitch Stitches the Ads into the Videos
Basically, from what I was sent, the platform will accept a brief video ad upload and then incorporate it at the beginning or end of other video content. From there it's optimized and then packaged up for various mobile carriers and handsets. There's no mention of any interactivity in the ads.
I can't say that I would personally ever welcome these ads into my life. First off, I despise text message advertising as I see it as a new form of spam. Secondly, there's that whole eating up bandwidth thing. When I watch a video via Hulu or whatever on my mobile data plan, I expect there will be some ads. I don't expect ads to show up in my text messaging and when they do, I'll be rather displeased.
I understand why a brand would want to do it, money. I mean the majority of text messages are opened while other things like Facebook news feeds, Tweets, etc are mostly ignored. So why not try to engage that and turn it into profit. The thing I think they are forgetting is that the major mobile carriers are holding data for ransom via bandwidth capping and throttling. So a brand might want to seriously consider the possible negative impact this could have on their reputation if say, people start feeling that the ads are stealing money from their pockets - because of higher data fees, slower download speeds, etc.
I know, you're saying that's all on the part of the mobile carrier, and I agree, an "unlimited" data plan should be just that. But it's not now and so when ads consume part of the allotment without benefit to the consumer, they're sure to see it negatively. It's certainly a caveat emptor situations - Buyer Beware.
After publishing the article I was contacted by Mogreet who states that MMS messages don't incur data usage or fees (and cites this article by their Director of Marketing). However, I've done a bit of research and that depends on a variety of factors, mainly, which carrier you're using and what plan you've got. Some plans will say "send and receive SMS/MMS messages included," however, the downloading of the content for those MMS messages can incur data usage and fees (sneaky bastards no?). Also, it depends on whether or not you've got an unlimited messaging plan and/or a data plan. Mogreet states that everyone on the lists have opted in, which I stated in the text above, and so it should hopefully not have a negative impact on subscription numbers. However, again, having something with no ads, then it suddenly has ads, is sometimes enough of a reason to unsubscribe for some consumers. As a consumer I can only suggest that you are 100% sure, before you subscribe to any kind of MMS service, what is and is not covered by your plan and what will and will not incur fees or count against your data usage as each carrier seems to have differing rules on the matter. As for brand marketers, I still say caveat emptor because the mobile carrier landscape is fractures and unregulated and so while what you send might be free for some, it could negatively impact others (who should be fully informed either way, I know).