The 'Year Of Mobile' Has Come And Gone

For the last nine to 10 years, pundits proclaimed this (whatever year it was) was the “year of mobile.” I’m here to tell you very clearly that the year of mobile has come and gone and most of us didn’t even notice it. The fact is, mobile is no longer a stand-alone concept.  “Cross-channel” is the new mobile, and companies solely focused on mobile as a vehicle are having a rough time.  

And by the way, the companies focused solely on desktop and display advertising are having a helluva time, too!  The market has undergone a fundamental shift and the ad industry is no longer a silo’d environment.  The overlap and omnichannel approach has clearly won out.

There were some brilliant columns the last few weeks from people embedded in the business.  Terry Kawaja, Peter Horan and a few others nailed it when they wrote about consolidation and its resulting impact on the ad and marketing tech industry.  The biggest trend I picked up from these commentaries: companies focused on one aspect of the business, like mobile display, desktop display, video, etc – these are the companies being viewed as one-trick ponies and devalued by the market.  The window of opportunity is closing on these companies, as they need either to become profitable or be sold to integrate into a larger solution that truly addresses the cross-channel consumer experience.  



Mobile is at the top of this list in my eyes, no longer viewed as an emerging medium in a vacuum.  At the core of this situation is that consumers use mobile intertwined with everything else they’re doing: searching on their phone, watching videos on their tablets, etc.  As the consumer journey is jumping from one place to the next, so is our ability to track and measure our interactions with them.  That means you can’t plan the delivery of your message on mobile without being intimately involved with the delivery of that message across other channels, which is why the story around data is so important.  

But it’s more than just data, because data alone can’t solve the problem either.  You need a team of analysts who can understand that data, glean insights and put those insights to work.  The result is that mobile has to be viewed as a piece of the larger pie and not a stand-alone channel.  Therefore, the companies solely focused on mobile are quickly missing the boat.

We operate in a very fickle industry, with trends coming and going faster than you can say “performance-based pricing” — but this cross-channel trend is one with legs and merit.   Marketers want fewer partners with more broad-reaching capabilities.  That’s why (at least one reason why) Google and Facebook are so popular with marketers: they offer true cross-channel solutions, rooted in data, and they offer options for when one tactic is not working and another might work better.  Yahoo and the new Verizon/AOL offering are also important for the same reasons.  The cable companies and the other telecom companies are seeing this trend and looking for ways to build similar solutions.  

As the age of consolidation continues, the opportunity for mass-channel publishers is fast becoming vogue once again.  Marketers want true cross-channel partners who offer either technology, data or content that can be leveraged to create cross-channel consumer experiences.

Are you hearing the desire for consolidation ring true as marketers look for stronger, better partners?

1 comment about "The 'Year Of Mobile' Has Come And Gone".
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  1. Karen Ticktin from brandthis, July 9, 2015 at 8:25 a.m.

    The challenge is keeping the consumer at the center of everything you do and be driven by their needs and actions v. technology and channels.

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