The world's gone mobile; it's time advertisers followed

For the last two years, there have been more mobile phones shipped in America than there were desktops and laptops combined. And yet, the mobile ad industry has struggled keep up. In 2012, the mobile ad spend is projected to be only 4% of the total digital ad spend.

There’s a clear disconnect here. Consumers love their smartphones and tablets. As for mobile advertising – not so much. People are not interacting with mobile advertising. Advertisers are not seeing returns from their mobile advertising dollars.

This is because most mobile advertising models have directly been borrowed from the online world. Click-based banners that take up prime real estate on a small mobile screen and lend themselves for accidental clicks are an example of mobile ads that don’t work.

If mobile advertising has to grow and keep pace with the consumer adoption of smartphone and tablets, the ad industry has to develop ads that are native to the mobile user experience. There has been a lot of innovation in the mobile space in recent months. The next year will see us arrive at advertising models
that are native to the mobile space. Here are three characteristics that they will share:

1. They will be local: A report released by Google recently said that 94% of people in US use smartphones to search for local information, whether it be for a coffee shop, local attractions, a nearby movie theater. In addition, 66% actually visit the business they’re searching for. New local ad extensions for search ads that allow users to call a business or see how far away they
are from a business. Local businesses like BrownHub and SalonDeals use mobile signup ads to connect with consumers in their areas.
2. They will be in-app: Consumers use apps to consume content on mobile media – as opposed to computers where they browse for content. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the iPhone 5 keynote that the average iOS user has more than hundred apps on their smartphone. Mobile ads that work in the future will deliver a seamless and non-disruptive experience within apps.
3. They will be integrated with email and social media: More people check Facebook and Twitter from mobile devices than they do with online media. A study by ExactTarget found that 88% of American check emails on their mobile device at least once a day. A good mobile ad will extend the conversation with the customer beyond the first point of contact into email and social media.

It’s still relatively early days in mobile advertising. There’s a lot of dust in the air. I look forward to watching it settle in 2013.

Zephrin Lasker, CEO of Pontiflex

1 comment about "The world's gone mobile; it's time advertisers followed".
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  1. Mark Silber from, October 4, 2012 at 11:51 a.m.

    Agree the formats are largely uninspired so far. This is typical for a new medium: early TV spots were essentially radio commercials in which you could see the announcer. Early websites were brochures you could view (with difficulty) on your computer. Eventually, the opportunities and advantages of the new media became evident.

    It's actually self-limiting to think of mobile as a platform for advertising. I think of it as a way to engage an audience with extremely relevant messages, content and offers. Because of the devices' location-awareness, as well as the unique ways users interact with phones and tablets - there's a slew of new possibilities for reaching a target consumer with something meaningful. Relevance is the difference between an annoying ad and a useful interaction with a marketer. Not only will dollars flowing to mobile marketing grow - consumers will be delighted that they did!

    Mark Silber
    Executive Creative Director

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