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Expedia reduces friction for mobile engagement with sponsored data

Expedia.com and BBA Studios are two of the brands partnering with Syntonic, AT&T's connected service and sponsored data provider, to offer unlimited branded content to consumers on mobile devices that will not incur data charges.

The Freeway by Syntonic mobile service will provide consumers with free, premium mobile content on 4G networks without adding extra charges onto data plans. All eligible AT&T subscribers will be able to receive content for Expedia.com and the upcoming film Frank vs. God on iOS and Android devices.

?Freeway is a great way to reduce friction for customer engagement,? said Tarran Vaillancourt, technology PR manager for Expedia.com, Pensacola, FL. ?When you think about how we want to evolve as a company, our core principle is not to treat customers like transactions, it?s treating them like people.

?This is a key way we can help show them loyalty.?

Using all mobile assets
Syntonic?s service is generated by its cloud-based Connected Services Platform, a content delivery and access system that the firm uses to power its other business models. Syntonic claims that the Freeway platform offers merchants and brands untapped opportunities to drive greater use of mobile assets, which can in turn lead to increased purchases, upgrades, third party advertising and digital transactions.

AT&T customers will be receiving free access to Expedia.com and its inventory of flights and hotels, as well as a trailer for BBA Studios? upcoming film Frank vs. God, both of which are fully sponsored so that users may view or interact with the content without affecting their data plans.

?We see sponsored content as removing obstacles to acquiring and engaging our audience; this is something both large and small independent film studios are trying to do,? said Scott Schill, producer for BBA Studios, Los Angeles, CA. ?We?re excited about the prospects for this new form of outreach and it?s likely that other studios will be interested, too.?

Freeway believes that its technology platform can enhance the wireless ecosystem and bring business opportunities to the forefront of mobile marketing for a host of device manufacturers, omni-channel retailers and game publishers among others.

Worldwide appeal
Sponsored data will also appeal to consumers worldwide, especially those who travel frequently. No data charges or roaming fees will apply to the content, so users can feel secure in interacting with the media.

?Customers can plan and purchase travel from Expedia.com without adding charges to their data plans,? Expedia?s Ms. Vaillancourt said. ?The more opportunity we have to engage our customers, the better.?

Syntonic also believes that sponsored data will have a significant effect on holiday mcommerce. If retailers offer sponsored content, shoppers will not have to incur data charges for accessing and shopping for gifts on mobile devices.

Sponsored content is likely to become a platform to keep an eye on, especially for many marketers looking to broaden their mobile strategies and reach a larger audience with their branded media.

?Long term, the sponsored data industry is one to watch. It could be quite relevant to travel. This concept is a new way to reach customers, and is one we think is viable enough to test out," Ms. 

Vaillancourt said.

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York