The Year Of Mobile! Not Really ... Or?

Everyone seems to talk about mobile these days, not least when I was in Cannes last month. Yahoo gave a product show centred around mobile. Why is that?

We have exhausted the 'year of mobile' chat since 2008 and with the arrival of smartphones and tablets, they become a second screen. Additional to our work horses, aka desk- and laptops, and our TV, which will never be used to browse any websites, mobiles are now a channel to be taken seriously. So the mobile screen becomes more important and allows to action on TV for instance (see earlier posts for details), and tablets are somewhat in the middle, work horses yet mobile. Hence, delivery of relevant ads on mobile devices is key to reach the consumer — anywhere, anytime!

In RTB we look at mobile and see a few specialised DSPs, different ad formats, private exchanges and direct deals. Programmatic Mobile is on the up, but even the market leaders still seem to figure out what's really happening in the mobile space. It will take another couple of years until we get the same RTB coverage in mobile as we do in display advertising. After all, the mobile is a lot more of a personal device than any other, and tracking cross device is still a huge challenge.

My belief is that mobile is just there. Video, on the other hand, will just deliver on any channel: online or mobile. It shows the “mobile” is both delivery channel and targeting option, which makes it rather complicated. Maybe that is why mobile is often misunderstood. Also, additional to the attribution model, where does the user journey start, where does it end?

Someone at Cannes said that the industry is working hard on mobile tracking and that we are 70% there. Is 70% good enough, I asked, and got the reply it was better than nothing at all. Right, to a certain extent. But would I want to spend a lot of money on something that is only 70% right? Do I have a choice?

We are used to the 100% cookie match. My article in March about login data goes in further depths but, ultimately, we will be able to track users cross device. And, eventually, across to TV, see last month's post. The IP targeting is the next step once we got enough connected devices on one IP, and, again, Cannes showed a few technologies already integrating IPTV traffic in their programmatic buy.

Mobile has one advantage though: Ever since I looked into the first SMS campaign in 2006, it is a device you have on you all the time. Your alarm clock, your social feed, your map, your would turn around if you forgot it at home whilst you wouldn't turn around for your wallet. It stores your memories, updates your blog, and you can access your cloud storage or make payments. Your health tracker and thermostat. The smartphone is becoming the ultimate device. 

We have realised the huge potential for advertisers. And advertisers are willing to give us more money if we can prove the value, the ROI. That is dependent on tracking: a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation.

For now, I believe that the (smart) mobile phone is an extended screen at the heart of your life, monitoring everything and anything to amplify our brand message, to get through to you. That's what SMS has done since 2006, yet it got a whole lot prettier ;-) And, we can target a bit more efficient but shouldn’t forget: Mobile is still personal!

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