Nine Mobile Ad Predictions For '09
What's to come in the year ahead? Some baby steps, some seminal changes and a whole lot of improvements. Here are nine predictions for '09:
1. New and improved experience
Despite a sputtering economy, smartphones continue to increase in popularity. This represents a great opportunity. As media companies move to present content in ways that take advantage of these advanced devices, advertisers will follow suit with campaigns that are targeted to high-end users and are more palatable to consumers in general.
2. Relevancy still an issue
Although the technology exists today to target advertising based on context and personal behaviors, most advertising is still placed indiscriminately. While these issues won't be completely resolved in the year ahead, consumers and publishers will continue to push for more relevancy in advertising.
3.Emphasis on fill rates
A primary goal for media companies in '09 will be bringing fill rates--or the percent of advertising inventory sold--into the 80-90% range. Once this has been accomplished, it becomes possible to target advertising much more sharply and push CPMs higher as a result.
4. Focus on measurement
Especially given the shaky economy, it will be even more important for media buyers to demonstrate returns on their ad dollars with detailed campaign reporting. Look for honed metrics and an end to "experimental" marketing budgets in the year to come.
5. Chew on this
"Snackable" content, as well as "snackable" rich media advertisements, will also be more prevalent in the year ahead. Bite-sized content is geared specifically for mobile and is well-suited to a mobile user's on-the-go lifestyle, screen size and battery life. Moreover, it addresses a growing concern on the part of carriers by reducing bandwidth load. Technologies that facilitate the creation and navigation of snackable content will also gain traction in the year to come.
6. A new role for consumers
This year, we'll see the emergence of the "consumer as content distributor" model. Given the economic conditions, it behooves both advertisers and media companies to lean on consumers to virally distribute both rich media content and the advertisements that are stitched into it. It's a win-win situation--consumers enjoy viewing and commenting on content and advertisements, then sharing the annotated media with friends. These contacts, in turn, comment on the material and pass it on--cyclically creating more advertising inventory.
7. Fine-tuning the pacing and spacing of mobile ads
The online video realm has been particularly successful in enabling viewers to watch free content interspersed with an "optimal" amount of advertisements. In fact, NBC and News Corp.'s Hulu announced late last year that 93% of nearly 18,000 viewers were satisfied with the amount of ads they see. As media companies attempt to emulate this level of satisfaction on mobile, we'll see more attention paid to ad pacing on mobile in 2009.
8. Localization = monetization
The mobile handset is the only media consumption vehicle that travels with the user at all times. For this reason, location is of special importance in determining what is relevant to the mobile content consumer. Presenting users with content and ads related to their physical location helps to forge a personal connection and drive consumer response--the key to monetization.
9. Beyond the humble banner ad
We'll see a concerted effort to move beyond text and banner ads, and as advertisers demand tighter integration with content, we'll see better targeting and increased accountability. More innovative and creative approaches to advertising will gain ground, and video ads, particularly when paired with interactive banner ads units, will continue to command high prices despite overall downward pressure on prices this year.
As we look ahead at '09, there are exciting growth opportunities for mobile advertising. Ever-improving technology, combined with consumer demand for a high-quality mobile Internet experience, will help stimulate change. There's a lot of work to be done to help the industry mature--and a lot more to look forward to at the same time.