A Mobile Tale Of Two Trade Associations

The terms "mobile" and "desktop" may seem quaint, if not archaic, given the inextricably blended way industry insiders talk about "digital" media these days, but at least one major trade group still delineates them as distinct areas of growth, and for the second consecutive year, that trade group -- the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) -- reports that mobile continues to outpace the growth of overall digital ad expansion.

And while it's true that both overall digital and mobile ad growth have decelerated by more than half from last year's post-pandemic growth rates (see above) it's clear that mobile continues to sustain the base.

The truth is that the terms mobile, desktop and digital are antiquated ones, because media has evolved into seamless, fungible experiences, not devices per se, but MediaPost still publishes an opinion column called "Mobile Insider," so that's reason enough for me to dwell on the differences. (Now don't even get me started about terms like "TV," "CTV," "video," etc.)

So I find this year's Internet Advertising Revenue Report from the IAB and PwC striking for other reasons, including the fact that the 32-page report references "mobile" 26 times when much of the rest of the industry -- not the major agency holding companies' periodic ad forecasts, or even the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) -- barely even reference it anymore.

As a side note, I was also struck by the fact that the MMA's next new big show -- the "Possible" conference in Miami next week -- doesn't mention "mobile" once on its homepage, and even after searching its 145-session agenda, I could only identify two panels explicitly about mobile media.

One is a 15-minute session on targeted advertising vs. consumer privacy, and the other is a 30-minute one touting "Five Changes You Should All Know About" vis a vis mobile advertising in 2023.

My point about Possible and the MMA is, I think they're doing everything they can to distance themselves from the medium that conceived them, though I'm not entirely sure why. The big draw at Possible is the high-profile star power the MMA and its event promoter partners are putting on stage, including the heavily promoted conversation between Elon Musk and NBCU's Linda Yaccarino. So I guess anything really is Possible.

Meanwhile, the IAB continues to benchmark and track the role of mobile advertising and marketing. One of the highlights in its just-released report is that enhancements to the medium -- especially technological improvements in audio podcasting, 5G bandwidth, and mixed reality applications -- are driving both consumer usage and advertising spending.

But the main driver, the IAB/PwC report notes, is the medium's fundamental utility: "Mobile’s increase in market share is likely to be driven by everyday work and leisure life becoming increasingly digital and the evolution of digital environments, such as the continued rollout of 5G or the integration of shopping into social media apps," the report concludes.

1 comment about "A Mobile Tale Of Two Trade Associations".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 13, 2023 at 1:11 p.m.

    I wonder when we will see yet another media trade group formed---for the Metaverse. I think that the MAB title still  belongs to the magzine folks so, maybe, they'll have to name  the one promoting the Metaverse  the MVB. 

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