Did you ever date someone and have friends tell you they thought the relationship was moving too quickly? When it comes to mobile ads, brand advertisers are saying things aren’t moving nearly fast enough.
Marketers would like nothing better than to reach out and connect with customers with relevant offers and personal appeals, no matter where that customer is. They’re well aware of how quickly (far quicker than the social platforms and many digital companies ever thought) users are migrating many of their online activities from desktops/laptops to tablets/smartphones. They instinctively know that wherever the customer or potential customer is, that’s where the brand wants to be as well.
A report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence in the US, IAB Europe and IHS Screen Digest (and if I still have room in this blog after all that, I’ll keep going), shows us global mobile ad spending hit $5.3 billion last year. The largest mobile ad market was the Asia-Pacific region with $1.9 billion, then North America with $1.7 billion and Europe with $1.4 billion. In every region around the globe, search ads outstripped display ads. In markets like Europe and Asia, search beat out display by triple the amount.
High level expert analysis: advertisers want to buy ads on mobile.
But that has created a bit of a problem as mobile monetization methods have lagged behind mobile adoption and usage. Most people thought the mobile ad revenue floodgates would open in 2011. Or maybe 2012. Now maybe it’ll be 2013. eMarketer thinks US mobile advertising will grow 5 times to $10 billion by 2016. What’s holding all that back? A pesky little thing called the user experience.
Some feel display ads don’t work as well on smaller screens. Still others feel mobile ads are more obnoxious and intrusive in the intimate setting of handheld devices with limited screen real estate. Imagine being Facebook’s poor Mark Zuckerburg. Here’s a guy who is as dedicated as anyone you’ll find to maintaining user experiences so positive the network will continue to grow and users will spend more time on it. (He wants people to love his brand too.) That’s why you saw lines being drawn in the sand over GM’s desire to do homepage takeovers, etc.
But the pressures are now immense from several directions to open up mobile’s advertising potential. Facebook has already started, changing its policy that ads be sold in bundles that included mobile, to giving advertisers the ability to parse out mobile ad buys for more direct targeting.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo hit the media rounds proudly saying they generated more ad revenue from their mobile platform than from their website several days this last quarter. Although they only started doing them in February, they feel they have a platform inherently suited for mobile ads. And eMarketer sees their revenues reach $260 million in 2012 and $540 million in 2014.
So is getting ads into customers’ tablets and smartphones really the path to getting them more in love with and passionate about your brand? That depends on the ad. If you see an ad as a straightforward sales pitch, you could get an icy response. If you use your ad space to deliver content that’s wanted, meaningful, relevant and helpful, they may hug you back.
In other words, if you only have one shot at it, your pickup line better be killer.