There is no question that the adoption, use and impact of smartphones among U.S. consumers continue to grow. There is no question that advertising and marketing on mobile devices continue to grow, and will for some time. There is no question that mobile advertising will someday -- perhaps in five to seven years -- overtake television in overall U.S. ad spend.
However, I think that it’s quite likely that mobile will become the dog wagging TV advertising’s tail well before it becomes the largest platform for U.S. ad spend. Here is why:
Data will power the future of TV. Television advertising will be increasingly data-driven and data-optimized. This is playing out now. TV audiences are down, but it’s still the largest- and fastest-reach medium by far. However, if networks want to charge more for less, they will have to deliver it in packages that are more targeted and more data-optimized to perform for advertisers. This is playing out today with initiatives like Linda Yaccarino’s NBCU and Fox, Turner and Viacom’s OpenAP initiative.
Mobile has the best data. No device is, or will, output as much valuable data for ad targeting and optimization as mobile devices. Today, more of the data powering audience-based advertising on TV is coming from TV set-top boxes, but set-top box data is limited to TV viewing. Mobile data tells you everything about its owner, from location to digital content consumption to purchase to household membership.
Combining TV data and mobile data is like adding 1+1 and getting 5. For advertisers wanting to close the loop between their TV ads and store visits – think retail, restaurants, movies – there is no data better to target and close the loop than with mobile data. For advertisers wanting to coordinate their TV campaigns with their Facebook campaigns to achieve a cross-platform kicker-effect, there is no data better to do it with than mobile data.
They will make measurement better together. When it comes to multi-platform advertising impact attribution, TV and mobile combined will rule the roost. Increasingly, advertisers are seeking trusted cross-platform attribution. First, they represent the two biggest ad channels. But, more importantly, mobile data will become the centerpiece and anchor of Multi-Touchpoint Attribution (MTA). MTA needs lots of data. MTA works best when the data is personal, not just “householded.” MTA also works best when you can directly link behaviors, and mobile data can now be linked with TV viewing data at scale, the rationale behind AT&T’s proposed merger with Time Warner and Verizon’s plans with Oath.
All of this convinces me that mobile will dominate how TV advertising is targeted, measured and optimized well before it dominates TV in share of ad spend. Basically, the tail of mobile data will wag the dog of TV advertising. Do you agree?