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Volvo, Clinique, Dell video ads earn viewers free mobile Internet service

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Samba Mobile

Samba Mobile offers ad-funded mobile broadband service

Brands such as Volvo, Clinique and Dell are reaching on-the-go users with video ads that can be watched in exchange for free mobile Internet service.

The free mobile broadband service is being offered in Britain to iPad users as well as netbook and laptop users. The list of advertisers for the launch of the service also includes Agent Provocateur, Sims, Nissan, Paramount Pictures, Xbox Kinect and Pot Noodle.

Advertisers face a huge problem, the vast bulk of ads are ignored, said Ben Atherton, CEO at Samba Mobile, London. This is because they are both interruptive and in many cases irrelevant.

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Human nature tells us that that model doesn’t work, but thats how most advertising works, it interrupts, it doesn’t time its appearances well and it tells you something that often you weren’t interested in, he said.

The solution is not difficult to articulate: let people select what they want to interact with and when. That’s what Samba does, and we know it leads to superior CTRs and engagement, which is what brands want.

Mobile broadband use grows
The Samba Mobile service is designed to leverage the growing use of mobile broadband. In Britain, more than seven million adults use a broadband on the go service and the number is predicted to continue to grow, per Samba.

However, consumers are often unhappy with the additional costs associated with being able to access broadband service when they are on the go.

The Samba Mobile service launched this week. Samba has partnered with mobile data network Three network to offer broadband coverage across all of Britain.

IPad owners can purchase a Samba SIM and then set up an account. After this, they are ready to watch video ads and start building up credit that can be used to browse and use the mobile Internet.

Customers choose which ads they want to watch and when they want to watch them. A battery icon shows how much credit there is.

By watching 2.5 minutes of ads per day, users are able to earn enough data to cover the average consumers monthly broadband consumption of 517MB data per month, per Samba. As a result, consumers can save on what they spend on broadband services each month.

Users can earn additional credit by clicking through to a partner retailer and purchasing items.

Samba Mobiles retail partners include iTunes and PriceGrabber.

Laptop and netbook users participate by ordering a dongle from Samba and registering.

iPad use is strong
Exchanges such as Samba Mobile are growing, giving mobile users different ways to have free WiFi or broadband access by watching ads.

JiWire recently introduced the Mobile Ads for Access networks enabling brands to offer mobile audiences free Wi-Fi access in exchange for engaging with their advertisement. Launch partners include British Airways, Comcast and Hyatt (see story).

The Samba Mobile program is not offered on smartphones.

The video experience Samba offers is strong on tablets and laptops, but not on small screen smartphones, Mr. Atherton said.

IPads currently are around 50 percent of our base, he said. This may lessen somewhat, but with the growth in tablets, will always be a very significant segment.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York