In today’ ever-evolving and exploding mobile marketing landscape, everything seems to be moving faster than we are! I thought I would give us all a hand (and maybe a 1-up above the competition) by putting together this mobile marketing dictionary of terms and definitions. For those who are just getting started with  mobile marketing, just getting to the basics can be a bit intimidating. With a few short steps and some new terminology, however, I am confident that you can launch your mobile marketing initiatives with confidence.

First, you should become familiar with some popular mobile marketing terms, so let’s start the show! (PS – If you have some terms not listed here, let me know in the comments!)

Acquisition rate – the total participants who were offered to opt in on a mobile marketing campaign divided by the total actual audience. The percent gives you the number of respondents who opt in.

Ad Network – An organization that places your ads across a variety of mobile websites. The result is you don’t have to go hunt down each individual website to run your ad, the mobile ad network does it for you.

Ad Optimization – Automated and semi-automated means of optimizing bid prices, placement, targeting, or other characteristics that are usually carried out in 3 manners: behavioral targeting, contextual targeting, and creative optimization using experimental techniques.

Aggregator – a company who provides an intermediary service between content providers, application providers, and the mobile phone service carriers. This company can serve several purposes including campaign management, analytics, administration as well as invoicing.

Alerts: Notifications, typically in the form of a text or multimedia message, containing time-sensitive information (event details, weather, news, services updates) that are pushed to a mobile subscriber who has opted-in to receive this information. Note: If the mobile subscriber has not opted in to receive said information, the notification would be considered SPAM.

Analytics – System for tracking user behavior on the app/game both from a user experience and advertisement perspective. Analytics help developers understand trends within their app/game and optimize the user flow for maximum engagement and user retention.

Android OS – Google’s official mobile operating system.

Badges – Badges are tangential achievements that are separate from levels that players achieve by earning experience points. Players can earn various badges for completing various tasks.

Bandwidth – this is a measurement of how much data can be pushed through a connection. The measurement is based on the number of bits per second (bps), kilobits per second (kbps), or megabits per second (mbps).

Banner Ads – Basic ad units that are usually embedded within a site, application or game and come usually in a high-aspect ratio shape such as narrow and tall or short and wide. These ad sizes tend to be sized according to IAB standards.

Banner Size – The width and length of a display ad placed on the mobile web. It’s typically presented in pixels: 305px X 64px and 215px X 34px are two common mobile banner ad sizes.

Blink Message – A message that contains blinking text for the purpose of emphasis.

Bluetooth – A form of wireless communication that enables mobile devices to send and receive information over short ranges using the 2.4 GHz spectrum brand.

Call-to-Action (CTA) – this is an instruction to the reader to act on the message that was received. The action could be to click a link, send a mobile text via a common shared code, call a phone number, or other types of actions.

Carrier – (mobile carrier, mobile network operator, network operator, operator company, wireless carrier). A company that sends you a bill each month in return for access to its wireless telecommunications services.

Check-ins – A check-in is executed via a GPS enabled mobile device that allows a user to declare they are at a specific location. This check-in can be shared with others and is a prominent feature in the very popular social app Foursquare. Facebook has also begun offering check-ins using its Facebook Places API.

Click-through Rate (CTR) – this is a common measurement used to determine the number of users who clicked to access more information or take action resulting from a B2B mobile marketing campaign message.

Click to Call: A service that enables a mobile subscriber to initiate a voice call to a specified phone number by clicking on a link on a mobile web site. Typically used to enhance and provide a direct response mechanism in an advertisement.

Common Short Code (CSC) – often called a brand’s mobile marketing address, this is a short code which is the inter-carrier connection for your mobile application, and is common across many wireless service providers in the U.S. For many contests or marketing events, the target audience is asked to call a four digit or five digit number (a CSC). This is a great source of revenue for mobile operators.

Conversions – A descriptor encompassing an end user converting to a paying user or a user that performs an action of some sort.

CPA – Cost per Acquisition. Refers to the overall costs associated with acquiring one user. This can be calculated by dividing total marketing costs by total number of new users.

CPA Offers – Offers users can fill out to earn virtual currency within a game. The developer of a game gets paid as an affiliate for whichever offer is filled out. These offers are largely aggregated by offer companies so developers don’t have to manually include them in their game.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand impressions. This is the revenue paid to the publisher by the advertiser for every thousand times the ad is shown.

Cross-platform – Software that can inter-operate on multiple computer architectures or operating systems. i.e. A player playing Farmville on Facebook and then continuing to play on an iPhone.

CTR – Click Thru Rate. This refers to the % of users that see an ad with some sort of call to action and click on the add to follow through. A higher click thru rate signals an enticing offering.

Data Collection – this is a huge variety of metrics, demographics, and statistics gathered by marketers to analyze and plan campaigns.

Dedicated Short Code: The process of running only one service on a common short code at any given time.

Direct Billing API – Direct Payment API that can be used to customize a purchase process that does not require the user to leave where they are. For example, a developer can offer an in-game purchase option to users using a service like Paypal where users can purchase virtual currency within the game without going to an external site.

Downloadable Content – Content that’s offered to users to extend the experience of a game and includes new levels, new items, and/or new challenges. DLC is a good way to increase user retention as players may grow tired of the older content.

Double Opt-in: The process of confirming a mobile subscriber’s wish to participate in a mobile program by requesting the subscriber to opt-in twice, prior to engaging the subscriber. A requirement for premium and many other types of mobile services.

eCPM – Effective Cost Per Thousand Impressions. This can be calculated by total earnings / impressions x 1000. This metric is associated with entities such as offer i-frames and help developers realize how much they are earning for every thousand users that visit their i-frame. Social game developers have seen eCPMs anywhere from $15 to $1000+.
End-User – this is the person who actually uses the product or service that is provided. The end-user is sometimes also referred to as the consumer or client.

Flash Lite – Adobe’s lightweight version of Flash for mobile devices. Flash lite is a client side technology used for developing applications and is compatible with most operating systems. Flash lite is also available for Android mobile devices as part of Google’s Android firmware update in version 2.2., although its future for iOS for remains nebulous.

Free to End User (FTEU) – this is an application that is made available to an end-user at no cost other than an opt-in subscription.  The SMS/MMS costs that would normally be charged to the end-user is absorbed by the application provider.  In some cases the mobile carriers may opt to charge end-users with other various fees, however.

Freemium Model – A type of business model that works by selling basic services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium price for advanced or special features.

Global Positioning System: A system of satellites, computers and receivers that can determine the latitude and longitude of a given receiver (within its system) located on Earth. It pinpoints the receiver’s location by calculating the time it takes for signals from different satellites (positioned at various locations) to reach the receiver.

GPS – Abbreviation for a ‘Global Positioning System’. Space-based global navigation satellite system that can provide accurate information about a linked devices’ location. Many mobile devices have GPS enabled, allowing them to know their location, find directions to a specific location, and see what else is around them.

HTML5 – A new standard for displaying content on the web through browsers. HTML5 is the new rendition in work of HTML (hyper text markup language) that will be competing directly with Flash and includes features like video playback and drag-and-drop functionality.

In-app store – The storefront within a game that showcases virtual goods for sale. Developers can manage the in-app store as they would any other store and use retail marketing techniques to drive virtual goods sales. This is strongest when coupled with in-app payments.

In-game Promotions – Offers that take place within a game, analogous to a direct payment system, that are usually shown to the users in the context of the game being played. Limited edition and time-sensitive offers have highest conversions.

Incentivized Invites – Invites users send out because of the promised gain of virtual currency for doing so.

Interactive Video Ads – Ad units that offer interaction to users such as some kind of a game (advergame) or a quiz, poll, task etc.

Impressions – this measurement is used to count the number of times a person is viewing an ad or message.  Impressions have become a very important metric with B2B mobile marketing.

Information on Demand (IOD) – this is the act of delivering messages to subscribers as the information is updated. This is common for sports scores, weather alerts, and stock alerts.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – this technology allows a user to respond to questions using voice instead of text or numeric responses on their mobile device. IVR systems have become quite sophisticated in recent years, and are very common with airlines and credit card companies.

Interstitial Ads – these are embedded into MMS messages in a variety of formats including image, text, and video.  The message provides an opportunity for the viewer to read the ad while listening or viewing the MMS message.

iOS – Apple’s official mobile operating system for the iPad, iPhone, iPod and to be announced devices, focusing on gesture based and multi-touch functionality.

Java ME – Java Platform Micro Edition. Java ME is designed to run on mobile devices and embedded systems

KPI – Key Performance Indicators. Managers overlook KPIs, often times comparing them with industry standards and competitor KPIs, to measure the health of their efforts. In games, metrics like Daily Active Users and Average Revenue Per User are often looked at to assess the success of a game

Location-Based Games – LBGs are casual games for smartphones that incorporate the location of players as part of their game dynamics. Traditional location based games usually incentivize users to ‘check-in’ to locations by physically being present there (checked via GPS) that result in free marketing for these locations. In exchange users may earn points and unlock badges.

Location Based Services a.k.a. LBS: A range of services that are provided to mobile subscribers based on the geographical location of their handsets within their cellular network. Handsets have to be equipped with a position-location technology such as GPS to enable the geographical-trigger of service(s) being provided. LBS include driving directions, information about certain resources or destinations within current vicinity, such as restaurants, ATMs, shopping, movie theaters, etc. LBS may also be used to track the movements and locations of people, as is being done via parent/child monitoring services and mobile devices that target the family market.

Microtransactions – Also known as micropayments, these are small transactions that users make often to buy virtual currency and involve a small sum of money

MMS Messaging – Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS, has become more prevalent with the increase in bandwidth and evolution of mobile technology.  Multimedia messages can be a picture, a video clip, or an audio clip.  Ads can be imbedded into the MMS, or the ad could be the MMS itself depending on what is being viewed by the subscriber.

Mobile Advertising: A form of advertising that is communicated to the consumer/target via a handset. This type of advertising is most commonly seen as a Mobile Web Banner (top of page), Mobile Web Poster (bottom of page banner), and full screen interstitial, which appears while a requested mobile web page is “loading.” Other forms of this type of advertising are SMS and MMS ads, mobile gaming ads, and mobile video ads (pre-, mid- and post-roll).

Mobile Games – A video game played on a mobile device such as a mobile phone, smartphone, PDA or other handheld systems

Mobile Gaming Platform – A platform that enables developers to plug in features such as matchmaking, game servers, voice, achievements etc. to their games so developers don’t have to spend lots of resources developing their own. Examples include OpenFeint and Scoreloop.

Mobile Search: Executing a search via mobile Internet.

Near Field Communications (NFC) – A wireless technology similar to Bluetooth that enables the communication between devices over a distance of less than 10 centimeters.

Non-Personally Identifiable Information (NPII) – this is data that provides metrics and statistics, but does not provide specific information to contact or identify a specific end-user.

Online Performance Marketing (OPM) – this process gathers metrics and statistics over a period of time, then analyzes the results to predict and report trends and habits of subscribers.

Opt-In/Opt-Out – this is a decision mechanism that allows a subscriber to become part of a campaign, or to remove the subscription from the campaign.

Page Views – Everytime a page is visited counts as a page view. Page views help developers know where users are spending most time within their app/game and whether it is because they have trouble finding a way to other sections or simply because that specific page is really engaging.

Palm OS – Palm’s operating system for its devices

Pay By Phone – An alternative payment option that lets users pay through phones. Payment platforms lthat offer this include Boku and Zong, among others. The charge is added to the paying user’s cellphone bill. This is very helpful if the target demographics of a game lack credit cards or do not want to pay with them.

Pay Per Download / Pay Per Access – Users pay to acquire a specific piece of content or application. This is the traditional model used by App Stores such as those found in iOS or Android OS enabled devices where users can pay a fixed cost like 99 cents to download an app or game.

Pay Per Install – The price developers on app stores pay everytime users download their app/game through a platform within a app/game

Payout Rate

PDA – Personal Digital Assitant, also known as a PalmTop. These devices function like mini internet-enabled hand-held computers that are sufficiently smaller than laptops and can be used as mobile and/or media devices.

Predictive Text – Intelligent software that predicts the text you’re typing and makes suggestions based on those predictions. Also called Autocorrect.

Premium SMS – Premium rate text messaging used to opt-in to special content such as ring tones.

Preroll – The streaming of a mobile advertising clip prior to a mobile TV/video clip. The mobile is usually 10-15 seconds in length.

Pull Messaging a.k.a. Wireless Pull Advertising, Content Pull Messaging: Any content sent to the wireless subscriber upon request, shortly thereafter, on a one-time basis. For example, when a customer requests the local weather from a WAP-capable browser, the content of the response, including any related advertising, is Pull Messaging.

Push Messaging a.k.a. Wireless Push Advertising, Content Push Messaging: Any content sent by or on behalf of advertisers and marketers to a wireless mobile device at a time other than when the subscriber requests it. Push Messaging includes audio, short message service (SMS) messages, e-mail, multimedia messaging, cell broadcast, picture messages, surveys, or any other pushed advertising or content.

QR Code – A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera telephones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) – this method is used to provide media systems with basic control command such as pause, play, rewind, etc.

Remote Tuning – Auto-adjustment of the price of a virtual item based on demand and the state of the virtual economy. The lowering of the price of a good could increase its demand and sale but dilute the exclusivity factor.

ROI – Return On Investment. A metric that describes how much money is gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount invested.

SDK – Software Developer Kit. Usually platforms provide developers with a set of development toolkits that enable creation of software packages, frameworks, apps etc. There is usually an SDK for each language that works on the platform that interfaces between the system to the programming language.

Smartphones – Advanced mobile devices with powerful processors, memory, and large screens (compared to basic feature phones) that usually have open operating systems installed

SMS Message – the Short Message Service (SMS) is a very common method of sending text messages through mobile devices.

Sponsorships – These are payouts to developers of apps whereby a company integrates its brand within a game, either as ad units (that can be placed in different formats and ways) or branded virtual goods.

Subscriptions – The business model where users have full access to an app/game but pay a monthly or weekly fee

Symbian OS – Nokia’s mobile operating system

Targeted Advertising – A form of advertising whereby advertisements are placed so as to reach consumers based on various traits such as demographics, purchase history, or observed behavior. A specific ad which would be meant for a specific type of consumer is shown and usually served based on information gathered through planting of a pixel or cookie. CPA offers in games that are served by a third party system are all targeted to the user to drive maximum conversions.

Third Generation a.k.a. 3G: The third generation wireless service promises to provide high data speeds, always-on data access and greater voice capacity. The high data speeds enable full motion video, high-speed internet access and video-conferencing, and are measured in Mbps. 3G technology standards include UMTS, based on WCDMA technology (quite often the two terms are used interchangeably) and CDMA2000, which is the evolution of the earlier CDMA 2G technology. UMTS standard is generally preferred by countries that use GSM network. The data transmission rates range from 144 kbps to more than 2 mbps.

Timed Access – A trial model whereby the users are charged for access to the app/game. Games like World of Warcraft

Up-Sell – To funnel a user towards some kind of a paid model. I.e. an iPhone app developer releasing a free version of a game to gain exposure to a larger audience and converting a percentage of those free users to users who pay for the priced version.

Vanity Short Code – Short numeric numbers (typically 4-6 digits) that are specifically requested by a content provider. The code usually spells out a name, brand, or an associated word or is an easy-to-recall number sequence. (eg DISNEY = 347639).

Virtual Currency – The currency within a game that can be single or come in dual states: the regular, earned currency and the premium currency that can only be bought for real money.

Virtual Economy – The overall buying and selling that is taking place within a game. Virtual economies are comprised of sinks (where virtual currency can be spent) and sources (where virtual currency can be earned).

Virtual Goods – The virtual items that are bought with virtual currency. There are essentially three types of virtual goods: decorative, functional and hedonistic (social). which confer some sort of advantage to the owner.

Wagered Tournaments – Users may wager virtual currency or real currency to enter tournaments of games of skill wherein the winner or a number of winners take all.

WAP 2.0: An increasingly popular format of choice for mobile web. Relies on a new set of standards that are more in line with Internet standards. Using xHTML, mobile carriers, content providers and media companies can present content and functionality in more robust formats via faster wireless technologies.

WAP Landing Page: A secondary WAP page a consumer is taken to once they click on an MMS link in order to give or receive additional information.

WAP Site: A website that is specifically designed and formatted for display on a mobile device.

Wireless Application Protocol a.k.a. WAP: An open international standard for applications that use wireless communication. Its principal application is to enable access to the Internet from a mobile phone or PDA. Can be used to deliver content to mobile devices.

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