Hoping to whet marketers' appetites, mobile ad network Mojiva has established an industry group to push the creative limits of mobile advertising.
Announced on Friday, The Mojiva Mobile Creative Alliance includes rich media providers and marketing services providers betting on the growth of mobile advertising, including PointRoll, EyeWonder, Celtra, and Sprout.
"Access to rich media tools is the key to delivering highly effective mobile campaigns," said Jack Hallahan, Mojiva's vice president of Mobile Innovation. "Industry efforts to simplify the process, stay in front of trends, and freely innovate will drive greater value and visibility into mobile."
As mobile Web usage continues to grow, the industry has seen similar efforts to foster marketing innovation.
Last year, Medialets, which specializes in rich media ads for mobile applications, launched a preferred partner program allowing mobile ad networks and other companies to offer clients its rich-media formats. Launch partners in the Medialets Enrich program included Mojiva, along with Jumptap, AdMeld and Nexage.
Average mobile ad spends are expected to increase by 80%, according to a survey of about 1,000 agencies, brand advertisers and publishers conducted by last year by DM2Pro.com and Mojiva.
Spending on U.S. mobile ads reached just $743.1 million in 2010 -- up 79% from $416 million in 2009, eMarketer estimates. This year, eMarketer expects mobile ad spending in the U.S. to grow 48% to $1.1 billion. Text messaging makes up the largest portion of the U.S. mobile ad market. eMarketer estimates spending on text message-based advertising reached $327.3 million in 2010, accounting for 44% of overall U.S. mobile ad spending last year.
Many agencies, however, are looking beyond "traditional" ad-based strategies. The popularity of apps, for instance, is increasing exponentially among marketers and consumers alike.
Mobile phone users will spend $6.2 billion downloading apps this year -- up from $4.2 billion last year -- according to Gartner. The research firm forecasts sales in mobile application stores of about $29.5 billion by the end of 2013. The majority of downloads -- an estimated 82% -- are free to consumers.
Along with industry alliances, such growth is also fueling acquisitions. Last year, for example, M&C Saatchi agreed to acquire mobile marketing firm Inside Mobile. In turn, the independent ad agency rebranded as M&C Saatchi Mobile.