Commentary

Rohan: Mobile Not Ad Promised Land

Jordan Rohan

Jordan Rohan, founder and managing partner of Clearmeadow Partners, painted a sobering picture of the outlook for mobile marketing at the OMMA Global conference earlier today.

He suggested cracking the code on mobile will be even more challenging for agencies and advertisers than figuring out social media because of the small screen size of devices and the greater complexity of the wireless ecosystem compare to online. And just because a business like search has been huge on the Web, doesn't mean it will also be on mobile.

The biggest winners will be those that can drive consumers into stores by via mobile coupons or similar direct marketing efforts. "If you can't do that, it's much harder to see how mobile is going to be a marketing platform for the majority of companies," said Rohan. Adding social networking to mobile will only multiply the difficulty of shaping a mobile strategy.

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He indicated the best bet was to stick with a big social media player like Facebook as it extends its online dominance to mobile devices and accrues a wealth of user data that will benefit advertisers. Despite the hurdles, Rohan acknowledged that if enough people over the next five years get smartphones or netbooks, advertisers will have to figure out how best to reach people on the go.

Not everyone was as pessimistic about mobile advertising. David Wells of Web development shop Alter Imaging posted a comment on the MediaPost blog today agreeing with Rohan's view that transitioning to mobile marketing will be tough for most businesses. But he believes mobile applications hold promise beyond just coupon offers.

"The real groundbreaking mobile marketing applications transcend this coupon push and serve some sort of utilitarian purpose. (Like an app made by an alcohol company that calls you a cab and locates you on your mobiles GPS, or an augmented reality map app that takes you on a tour of a city....just some examples," he wrote.

Certainly mobile applications are likely to be an active area of development by brands and other services for some time, if for no other reason than they're often easier to use than the nascent mobile Web. Whether they'll prove strong ad vehicles in the long term isn't as clear.

3 comments about "Rohan: Mobile Not Ad Promised Land ".
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  1. Benny Forsberg from Squace, September 28, 2009 at 1:22 p.m.

    The way to gain momentum for the use of mobile as a gateway to the web is to enhence and fasten up the speed and ease for users to access web content when on the move. With mobile webpages and mobile GUIs designed to a "1-3"-click experience on small screens there will be a flood of "on-a-daily-basis" mobile websites (such as "school class in the mobile", "soccer team in the mobile", "local retail store shopping list in the mobile" etc). This combined with Local Based Services like "Wheather info on the spot", "Local Sport News", "Local Coupons" etc. will give Mobile Commerce a bright future. And with mobile innovations like www.squace.com based on UMI (Universal Mobile Interface) the struggle to go mobile for mobile service providers is gone! A new way of making web simple on ALL mobile phones - from features phones to smart phones. http://hosted.squace.com/public_resources/whysquace.pdf

  2. Benny Forsberg from Squace, September 28, 2009 at 1:23 p.m.

    The way to gain momentum for the use of mobile as a gateway to the web is to enhence and fasten up the speed and ease for users to access web content when on the move. With mobile webpages and mobile GUIs designed to a "1-3"-click experience on small screens there will be a flood of "on-a-daily-basis" mobile websites (such as "school class in the mobile", "soccer team in the mobile", "local retail store shopping list in the mobile" etc). This combined with Local Based Services like "Wheather info on the spot", "Local Sport News", "Local Coupons" etc. will give Mobile Commerce a bright future. And with mobile innovations like www.squace.com based on UMI (Universal Mobile Interface) the struggle to go mobile for mobile service providers is gone! A new way of making web simple on ALL mobile phones - from features phones to smart phones. http://hosted.squace.com/public_resources/whysquace.pdf

  3. Benny Forsberg from Squace, September 28, 2009 at 1:23 p.m.

    The way to gain momentum for the use of mobile as a gateway to the web is to enhence and fasten up the speed and ease for users to access web content when on the move. With mobile webpages and mobile GUIs designed to a "1-3"-click experience on small screens there will be a flood of "on-a-daily-basis" mobile websites (such as "school class in the mobile", "soccer team in the mobile", "local retail store shopping list in the mobile" etc). This combined with Local Based Services like "Wheather info on the spot", "Local Sport News", "Local Coupons" etc. will give Mobile Commerce a bright future. And with mobile innovations like www.squace.com based on UMI (Universal Mobile Interface) the struggle to go mobile for mobile service providers is gone! A new way of making web simple on ALL mobile phones - from features phones to smart phones. http://hosted.squace.com/public_resources/whysquace.pdf

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