WAA Releases Ad Standards

The Wireless Advertising Association has issued its first ad standards for wireless phones.

The standards address the delivery of short message service text messages to wireless phones and pagers. The WAA is expected to release standards on WAP-enabled phones, personal digital assistants, and audio and voice portals this summer.

“It is critical that everyone in the industry rally around a common language that describes the delivery and measurement of ads — particularly since the stakeholders in the wireless marketing arena are so diverse,” said Don Albert, vice chairman at the WAA, New York, and senior vice president of sales and marketing at fusionOne.

Tom Bair, a WAA board member, said the ad definitions are necessary because measurements used in Internet advertising are debated in the wireless industry.

“You would think something like 'ad impression' would be well-defined, but it's not. We're trying to give some definition before it becomes a point of debate,” he said.

Among the SMS definitions set by the WAA are:

· A full-message ad consists of the full 160 characters available in an SMS. A sponsorship ad is considered to be 34 characters, likely two lines of text on most phones.

· Permission level is the level of permission a user/device has granted to a specific carrier, service or wireless content site to receive advertising messages, as defined by the WAA Guidelines on Privacy and Spam.

· The WAA's privacy guidelines suggest “no push messaging without confirmed opt-in,” according to Bair.

· Potential audience is the total number of unique users/devices that are reached by a site's content (pull advertising); or the number of addressable devices to which the service provider or marketer has the permission and ability to send advertising (push advertising).

· Reach is the unique, or unduplicated, number of users/devices to which an advertiser's message is delivered. Target reach is the number of users/devices in an advertiser's target audience to which an advertiser's message is delivered.

· Frequency is the number of times each advertising message has been sent per unique user/device.

· Impression is the transmission of an advertising message to a user/device as recorded by the server software. Total number of impressions is reach multiplied by frequency.

· Click-through is an interaction by a user/device with an advertisement that does not initiate a call-back.

Ads that initiate a call-back from consumers fall under a separate category. This covers instances when consumers use a dedicated 800 number or confirmation code, then call a predefined and assigned phone number communicated in a wireless advertisement for more information or messaging. The call must be tracked via a specific response number or tracking code.

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