iAd Is No iFad: Study Finds Agencies Most Interested In Apple's Mobile Platform

Asked what capabilities their clients are most interested in developing, a third of agency executives surveyed recently by media-buying processing systems provider Strata said mobile advertising, and an overwhelming majority of those respondents cited Apple's new iAds. Details of the study, part of a regular series of periodic surveys of its agency clients, will be released soon, but in a preview given to Online Media Daily, Strata President-CEO John Shelton said the percentage of agency executives citing mobile advertising as their clients' top interest has more than doubled from 16% last spring.

While not necessarily representative of the entire advertising industry, the findings are significant, because Strata, which is owned by Comcast Corp., tends to service a diverse array of geographically dispersed smaller and regional agencies that comprise the heartland of Madison Avenue, and are not necessarily the kind of bleeding edge shops likely to push the next shiny object to come on the media scene.

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"We have a pool of just under 1,000 agencies across country," Shelton explained. "They tend to be more regional agencies, and some national ones. We kind of like the regional ones, because they tend to be all U.S. and tend to give us a more on-the-ground view. These guys tend to be much more hands-on, and they tend to float up and down with their clients based on what their clients are buying now."

While that agency base likely represents more of the "long tail" of the advertising business, Shelton noted many of them represent "huge clients" such as Walmart, Geico and Progressive.

He said the speed with which they've embraced mobile, and especially Apple's new advertising platform, was surprising.

Asked which mobile device or platform their clients are most interested in, Shelton said 87% cited the iPhone, while less than 50% cited the BlackBerry of Android systems.

"The iPhone has 50% higher interest than any other phone out there, even though BlackBerry has more phones out there," Shelton noted, adding that agencies don't seem to be interested in "coverage" as much as, "they're interested in being associated with the iPhone."

Shelton said the response likely reflects an overall interest in Apple's mobile advertising operating system, including the iPad, iTouch and iPhone devices, and said the interest was likely influenced by all the attention surrounding Apple's launch of the iPad, the iAds advertising system, and its new iPhone.

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