SkyGo Boosts Mobile Ad Pilot Program

Wireless marketing infrastructure company SkyGo added transaction services giant Visa U.S.A. to its ongoing Boulder, Co. study, which aims to examine the effectiveness of advertising, marketing and direct promotions on mobile devices.

During the study, which began last week and continues through January, San Mateo, Calif.-based SkyGo will monitor participants’ use of Internet-enabled phones in relation to marketing messages. The company will deliver various types of ad campaigns, including targeted ads, rewards, discounts and purchasing opportunities from Visa and other SkyGo partners, and provide performance feedback participating partners.

For the study, more than 1,000 area consumers are given free Internet-enabled phones, and agree to receive a minimum of three ads or marketing messages per day, which are matched to the users’ stated interests.

SkyGo said it intends to cull quantifiable data on the efficacy of specific types of wireless ads through the tests, and will share its results with the industry. Visa said it would use the feedback to develop future mobile marketing and sales programs in conjunction with its member institutions.

“The advent of new wireless platforms, like that developed by SkyGo, enables consumers to leverage advanced technologies and experiment with new transaction models,” said Annette Merriman, technology director at Visa’s Internet unit, e-Visa. “The data gathered from the SkyGo study will enable Visa to accelerate the development of the most innovative mobile commerce solutions for our member financial institutions and their customers.”

Industry impetus for wireless initiatives like the SkyGo program comes from mouth-watering studies that predict sizable marketing and commerce potential for the fledgling medium — like those from IT analyst firm GartnerGroup, which predicts that within four years, 40 percent of all e-commerce will be conducted wirelessly.

While wireless marketing is still in an early stage, most online ad companies are experimenting and investing heavily in wireless initiatives. SkyGo’s is one of the most visible trials, and in addition to Visa, has signed coupon companies Catalina Marketing and eCoupons to the program.

SkyGo officials said Visa’s added presence will allow them to test some wide-ranging applications of its platform.

“Visa’s involvement in our wireless interactive study will help us to learn much more about mobile commerce in the wireless marketing category and strengthen the SkyGo consumer opt-in model,” said SkyGo co-founder and chief executive Daren Tsui.

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