OMMA Panel: Mobile Still Lacks Scale

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- With the introduction of new applications on smart devices like Apple's iPhone, mobile marketing's prospects are greater than ever. But mobile platforms still lack the scale needed to attract large-scale ad buys, according to a majority of panelists discussing mobile strategy at OMMA Hollywood Tuesday afternoon.

There was some dissent, with notable exceptions cited, but everyone agreed that mobile marketing still has not lived up to its full potential.

On the issue of scale, Genex CEO Walter Schild said he was excited about the proliferation of useful applications that engage consumers with data on their mobile phones, pointing to the promise of video and search advertising.

But achieving large-scale reach "is more complicated now than ever before," because "what we're lacking is the advertising networks," Schild said. "We just don't have the scale of platforms. We really need to build the next-generation networks for delivering ads and distribution of applications. We don't want to negotiate with five different carriers. We want to be able to talk to one or two major players and reach the masses like in North America."

Ujjal Kohli, the CEO of Rhythm Media, cautioned that it will be harder to achieve scale for high-engagement mobile applications because things like games--while appropriate for big, familiar brands "like Nike, Burger King, and Apple"--are less plausible as branded experiences for "more marginal brands like headache pills, cleaning supplies, insurance companies."

By contrast, Jeremy Wright, global director of mobile brand strategy for Nokia, objected: "My God, it has scale ... look at 'American Idol' with simple text messaging.

Over 90% of Americans have mobile devices." According to Wright, Sprint can deliver 18 million uniques in various networks, "with whatever scale you like."

4 comments about "OMMA Panel: Mobile Still Lacks Scale".
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  1. Joe Fredericks, March 25, 2009 at 10:16 a.m.

    OMMA needs to start thinking about ad exchanges rather than their mobile obsession.

    I know mobile is sexy, but scale and liquidity is on the side of ad exchanges and the ad exchange spending trend is growing a lot faster than mobile.

  2. Brook Lenox, March 25, 2009 at 11:54 a.m.

    "We really need to build the next-generation networks for delivering ads and distribution of applications."

    I agree we have a long ways to go, but I really don't understand this comment. Mobile ad networks like Admob, Quattro, and Millennial Media have made HUGE progress in the past couple years. Millennial and Quattro are even somewhat integrated with DART & Atlas at this point.

    I wrote more about these top mobile ad networks in this post:

    In my opinion there is a good bit of scale AND unsold inventory when it comes to mobile. It's more about advertisers getting on board and these networks making it easier for brand advertisers to see & understand the value that exists.

    Anyone else agree or disagree? I'd love to know.

  3. Jacquie Amacher from self, March 25, 2009 at 6:41 p.m.

    Brook, I agree that mobile ad networks have made huge progress, but making it easier for brand advertisers to see the value is the problem...usage and demo data is fragmented or unavailable -- the advertiser still needs to be convinced that they are able to reach their target based upon data

  4. Jacquie Amacher from self, March 25, 2009 at 6:51 p.m.

    Joe -- how extensive are mobile sites/mobile carriers found in ad exchanges?

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