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Mobile Marketing Will Have To Wait

  • Ad Age, Monday, March 31, 2008 11:15 AM
Unfortunately, 2008 won't be the year that mobile marketing finally takes off, says Ad Age's Alice C. Cuneo. For starters, there simply aren't enough mobile Web users in the U.S.: of the 219 million nationwide subscribers, a paltry 30 million have data plans. Why? Two reasons: one, the mobile Web isn't a great experience, and two, it costs too much. Advertising can help the latter problem--but which comes first--a leap of faith on the part of marketers to reduce the cost of mobile content, or a leap of faith on the part of carriers to provide free or low-cost data plans? Probably the latter.

Next comes the problem of ad measurement. As Cuneo says, there's "a paucity" of trusted third-party auditors in the mobilesphere; many think this should be the carriers' territory, but don't they have a vested interest in selling ads across their networks, too? Meanwhile, marketers have to juggle different operating systems, devices and carrier standards. "A single campaign needs to meet myriad approvals," Cuneo says--a problem that calls for a third-party mobile ad delivery specialist like DoubleClick. Some of these problems will be ameliorated as the carriers open their networks.

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