Turkcell's ringback tone ad platform reaches 200,000 members
By Dan Butcher
February 3, 2009
Turkcell gains revenue and subscriber loyalty from ringback tone advertising
Since the May launch of Turkcell's Tone & Win, or TonlaKazan, as the world's first ringback tone advertising platform, this loyalty program for subscribers has grown to more than 200,000 members.
Using the Tone & Win platform, Turkcell members select branded content and let their callers listen to a branded ringback tone instead of a regular ringtone. This is a media channel the Turkish carrier is offering for advertisers to garner brand recognition.
"As the world's first RingBackTone advertising platform, Tone & Win has four main objectives in keeping with Turkcell's long term strategy: creating an unconventional mobile advertising platform, providing a loyalty program for Turkcell subscribers, creating mobile marketing revenue by increasing Tone & Win members and brands, and becoming a strategically important tool to reach competitors' subscribers," said Melis Turkmen, unit head of mobile marketing for Turkcell, Istanbul.
"Tone & Win is a revolutionary advertising platform in the mobile world -- independent of handset technology and capability, creating a community platform in the era of Web 2.0," she said. "Its benchmark and competition are not other kinds of mobile advertising solutions, but long-standing mediums such as TV, radio, newspaper and the Internet.
"Mobile marketing revenues will be parallel to member rates as more Turkcell subscribers become members and more brands use Tone & Win to reach customers."
M's name is ... Mobile
According to Turkcell, Tone & Win will help the carrier in various ways.
The Tone & Win platform has created more than 6 million monthly impressions in six months, according to the carrier.
Additionally, the platform is decreasing the churn rates of Turkcell subscribers who are Tone & Win members by giving free text and minutes in return for sending SMS or MMS ads daily.
"Tone & Win builds subscriber loyalty as more and more Turkcell subscribers become Tone & Win members," Ms. Turkmen said. "Turkcell subscribers' monthly churn rate is five times more than Tone & Win members' monthly churn rate.
"This is because Tone & Win members select a branded RingBackTone related to their favorite brand and start to earn up to 40 minutes of calling time," she said.
"Tone & Win is also strategically important for Turkcell in the Turkish telecom market because it is an advertising platform that reaches competitors' subscribers."
For example, in a Tone & Win campaign for "SMS for Youth," Turkcell targeted Tone & Win members between 13-25 years old with high incoming call ratios from other mobile operators.
At the end of four months, the campaign resulted in 2.4 million impressions with a total of 24.5 million seconds of listening by 289,000 callers.
According to Turkcell, 12.8 percent of these callers were the subscribers of competitors.
Turkcell subscribers win airtime or credit depending on the amount of time their callers listen to their ringback tone advertisement music.
On average, a Tone & Win subscriber wins 65 units, or 20 minutes, each month, while this number can reach up to 150 units, or 40 minutes, for some subscribers whose incoming voice call traffic is above average.
During the beta period only a limited amount of members were able to register for Tone & Win, but it is now available to all Turkcell subscribers.
It is possible to become a member of Tone & Win through the Web, WAP and SMS channels.
Members select the advertisement music of the brand of their choice as the ringback tone content they want their social community to listen to.
Fifty different brands have launched 72 campaigns using the Tone & Win platform with a minimum of two weeks duration since May 7, including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Warner Bros., Burger King, Nivea, Kraft, HSBC, Aviva and major national Turkish brands such as Garanti, Akbank, Digiturk and Arcelik.
At the end of each Tone & Win campaign, Turkcell offers brands exclusive reports containing members' demographics, socioeconomic status, total impressions and total branded RBT seconds listened to by callers.
An example of a targeted advertising campaign created through Tone & Win was the November launch by Warner Bros of a James Bond 007 Quantum Of Solace-branded ringback tone.
Only those Tone & Win members who were between the ages of 13-54, male and living in the 26 Turkish cities where the movie launched could select this jingle for their social community.
The jingle specified that the "Quantum of Solace movie is coming to theaters on November 7th."
In less than 14 days, the Quantum of Solace brand jingle was heard by 30,000 people 110,000 times for a total of 1.2 million seconds.
Another example is the Whirlpool Tone & Win campaign launched on Christmas Eve with the voice of a well-known Turkish actress wishing callers a Merry Christmas.
Each time Tone & Win members received an incoming call, callers listened to Whirlpool's Merry Christmas wishes.
The brand jingle was about 15 seconds long. It roughly translated as "Hey, I know that is not me you are calling, but I will do my best to make you forget about him. By the way, why don't you repeat after me? Take these Whirlpools, get to a Whirlpool shop and make them Whirlpool. Have a nice day and Merry Christmas from Whirlpool!"
"The main aim of this campaign was to help people say "Whirlpool," because in Turkish it is a bit hard to say," Ms. Turkmen said. "The results of the campaign were incredible.
"In just six days, more than 2000 Tonics -- Tone & Win members -- selected Whirlpool's jingle as their RingBackTone content and let more than 25,000 callers hear this jingle on Christmas Eve," she said.
Tone & Win was developed with 4play Digital Workshop, Turkcell's business partner that provides innovative products and ideas.
Tone & Win's performance-based pricing model, Cost Per Listening, or CPL, charges the brand according to the amount of advertising that has been listened to, thereby providing a completely measurable channel opportunity.
Turkcell mobile marketing
Turkcell's mobile marketing division creates targeted and measurable media integrated with different technologies for corporations aiming to reach existing or new customers.
With an opted-in database of 7.5 million subscribers and products like Tone & Win and mobile ticketing, Turkcell's mobile marketing division created 650 mobile marketing projects with 276 brands in 27 different industries in 2008.
As a founding member of the Mobile Marketing Association, Turkcell assumed active roles on the association's board and its committees.
Turkcell organized various public relations activities such as conferences and workshops that target advertisers and media agencies, with the aim of increasing the marketing sector's awareness of mobile marketing.
Turkcell is the leading GSM operator in Turkey, with 36.3 million postpaid and prepaid customers as of Sept. 30, operating in a three-player market with a market share of approximately 56 percent as of June 30, according to the Telecommunications Authority.
In addition to wireless telephone services, Turkcell currently offers General Packet Radio Service, or GPRS, countrywide and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution, or EDGE, in dense areas, which provide for both improved data and voice services.
Turkcell provides roaming with 605 operators in 201 countries as of December 22, 2008.
Serving a large subscriber base in Turkey with its wireless telephone network, Turkcell reported $5.4 billion net revenues for the nine months as of Sept. 30, and $6.3 billion net revenues as of Dec. 31, 2007, as per IFRS financial statements.
Turkcell has interests in international GSM operations in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Northern Cyprus and Ukraine.
Turkcell uses different channels for Tone & Win member acquisition.
Turkcell subscribers can become members of Tone & Win by sending an SMS or visiting the WAP and WEB sites of Tone & Win.
"Actually the word-of-mouth effect increased Tone & Win member rates monthly; the monthly member increase rate is 338 percent -- 5,000 members in July, 10,000 in August, 20,000 in September and 140,000 in October," Ms. Turkmen said. "The Tone & Win business model enables Turkcell to adopt the platform to subscribers easily.
"Tone & Win is not only an advertising platform, but also a loyalty program for Turkcell, decreasing churn rates by rewarding subscribers with airtime and minutes," she said.
Turkcell is not afraid to spend to get the word out about Tone & Win.
"Turkcell is the one of main companies in Turkey with a high media expenditure budget," Ms. Turkmen said.
"Besides conventional media like TV, radio and outdoor, Turkcell uses unconventional media such as the Internet, SMS and MMS advertising to reach subscribers for our own campaigns, products and offers," she said.
Tone & Win is one of the main media channels Turkcell uses to reach subscribers.
"People who are calling Tone & Win members listen to Turkcell's campaign offers and act on these offers by sending an SMS or visiting a Turkcell shop about the offer that they heard via Tone & Win," Ms. Turkmen said. "Also the Tone & Win WAP site is free for Tone & Win members, who can visit the page often to check out new brand jingles.
"Now Valentine's Day is coming and we will soon work with jewelry brands and other brands that would like to reach consumers in this day," she said. "Think about that -- just 3 days before Feb. 14 you are listening to a ringback tone: 'Hey, don't forget to buy something for her!'
"'By the way, get your 10 percent discount at XYZ jewelry store.'"
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