Digital Watermarking for Mobile Marketing

The movie industry has long presented us with an image of the future of advertising – doorways which greet a shopper by name as they pass through, or displays which present items tailored to the individual. The fantasy suggests a completely personalized, interactive experience, where the lines between the physical and digital worlds are blurred. And while it may seem like science fiction, today’s mobile marketing technology is bringing this vision of the future to life – enabling a nearly seamless transition between these two worlds.

One advancement in mobile marketing technology which supports this transition is the use of digital watermarking – integration of an “invisible” set of algorithmic markers with traditional media content. Digital watermarking can be embedded within dynamic audio and video content, as well as applied to static content such as printed images, in order to render the content recognizable via digital scan.


When a digital watermark is embedded within a brand’s content, it can be used to bridge the gap between a customer’s physical and digital experience. For example, a magazine image which has been watermarked can be scanned by any user with a mobile device. When scanned, the image will link to relevant digital content, such as a detailed product page which contains more images, pricing information, or even a “buy now” cart, which allows for one-click purchases.

While other tools like scannable QR codes have previously supported the digital bridging of print media, digital watermarking takes mobile marketing to a whole new level. When applied strategically, watermarks can be integrated with other mobile marketing technology, providing a 360-degree user experience.

For instance, let’s look at the scenario of branded audio content, such as that provided by Mood Media. Let’s say that Mood has helped Brand X create a custom audio mix, which is then embedded with the Brand X Presence-enabled digital watermark. This watermark is uniquely recognizable when scanned by a user-enabled app such as Shazam (which “listens” to audio, in order identify currently playing music). Shazam recognizes Brand X’s watermark, and instantaneously tailors their response to display unique, branded content alongside details relevant to the music, such as the artist name and lyrics.

What sets the use of digital watermarking apart from other mobile marketing technology is the fact that engagement is actively initiated by the consumer, often via response to a direct call to action (i.e., scan this image for more details, or activate Shazam to receive your special offer, now).

This means that users are far less likely to experience the “creep factor” brought about by some mobile-push efforts. Also, because the watermarks are algorithmic in nature, they are virtually undetectable when integrated with media content, regardless of the format – so the artistic integrity and aesthetics of media content remain undisturbed.

Strategic application of digital watermarks also makes it easy to identify, track, and analyze audience engagement, particularly when it comes to measuring the impact of communications such as print or audio advertising. And while the watermarks themselves are static, linked content can be updated and adjusted regularly, to provide users with the most up-to-date information, specials, or promotions.

Mood Social & Mobile

The flexibility and insight offered by digital watermarking when used in conjunction with mobile marketing technology cannot be emphasized enough – and it definitely warrants exploration. Savvy brands and businesses are already integrating digital watermarking with their media content, in order to enable a rich and interactive audience experience – and those who wish to step into the future of mobile marketing would be wise to follow suit.

For more information on how you can leverage the latest in mobile marketing technology to create a rich, interactive experience which connects to your unique audience, contact Mood Media, today. We’ll help you set the right Mood, from the start.

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