I sat in on the Co-Evolution of Marketing and New Media panel at Play while I was there, my coworker Niren was one of the participants. There were a few mobile specific points:
- Niren pointed out that one of the biggest impediments to mobile advertising right now is misunderstanding of the service. Most people equate mobile marketing with unsolicited SMS messages. Sure, that’s something that happens. Unfortunately it’s the attention grabbing part so it’s what people hear about disturbingly frequently. But mobile web advertising has nothing to do with that.
- Data tariffs are one of the other major blockers. High rates for data services keep away users, and the audience really needs to hit critical size in order for it to be a viable channel for major advertisers.
- Phil said that 9 months ago AdBrite was seeing about 2 million pageviews a day coming from mobile devices, and now they’re seeing more than 25 million. Fantastic growth. He doubts however that mobile as a distinct segment will remain forever. In three years time it’ll just be “advertising” without a distinction between mobile or desktop.
- To the specific question of “does mobile advertising go away” Niren said it could once the networks hit broadband speeds. But for most markets that doesn’t happen any time soon. And given that your mobile is a pocketable device there are constraints that probably dictate a different user experience.
Overall there was a lot of talk about engagement and interacting with brands. Examples of sharing and commenting on YouTube videos, running user generated content competitions, product placements. But most of the folks from large advertisers or agencies that I spoke to think that set of discussions is misplaced. Sure, there might be some cool stuff that an advertising channel can offer that differentiates it and allows for some interesting campaigns. But stuff of the sort tends to be once off runs meant to capture some buzz and ride the coolness factor. The core of the money needs to follow the audience, and the real story is about what mediums can get a large repeatable audience who respond well to offers. Provide that and the advertising dollars will follow.