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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mobile Advertising Trends You Can't Ignore

Brought to you by Bob Walczak

The acquisitions of AdMob by Google and, more recently, Quattro Wireless by Apple have sent shockwaves throughout the industry, spotlighting the mobile space as a go-to medium for brands. Let's not kid ourselves: Whenever a big name like Google or Apple gets involved in the industry, it can only help attract more positive attention to the market and to the capabilities mobile advertising provides brands. The acquisition has set the stage for what will be a busy year for the mobile advertising industry in 2010.

Big brands bite
For years the mobile advertising industry has seen companies test the medium to see if it could work with their overall advertising strategies. During those times, we saw a few big-name brands try a campaign or two, but the adoption of mobile advertising still wasn't widespread. Typically, larger brand names stuck with what worked. Whether it was TV, radio, print, or online, larger brands stuck with those tactics because they were still garnering the exposure they were hoping for.

However, with the adoption of the DVR and other recording capabilities, we are now seeing major brands alter their practices to include the mobile medium. Apple and Google have recognized this trend, and by acquiring mobile advertising companies, they have positioned themselves to assist in driving these capabilities for big-name brands. For those larger companies, they now have a company in Google or Apple that they recognize and associate with success and the mobile advertising industry. This will lead to major adoption in the industry as larger brands look to the mobile medium as an avenue to reach their target consumers.

Mobile isn't separate anymore
In the past we have seen the mobile medium as an add-on to a company's advertising efforts. As with any emerging medium, companies needed to test out the capabilities and effectiveness of mobile advertising to see if it could reap the benefits they expect when making an investment. Since those early stages of testing the medium, we have seen brands committing more money to larger campaigns on mobile -- targeting a specific audience type via mobile exclusively. While brands have started to recognize the effectiveness of mobile advertising, it was still a separate component of a company's overall advertising strategy. That is until now.

In 2010, the industry will start to see more bundled digital media buys targeting one overall customer set across multiple digital media -- specifically online and mobile. In this grouping, brands will commit to advertising campaigns across several media under one specific buy. Because of this new tactic, we will also see the hiring of mobile specialists to oversee digital media buys and activities associated with those advertising campaigns.

Measuring success
A key contributor to the success of online advertising was the introduction of metrics and analytics to specifically determine if an online advertising campaign was successful. The introduction of this analysis created a boom in the industry because companies could determine which tactics were working properly and then could alter any strategies to ensure success.

As more and more big-name brands embrace the mobile medium, these companies will also need to make sure that their investments are paying off. In order to accomplish this, companies will need to use true metrics and analytics in order to determine if their mobile advertising strategies are in line with their business goals.

"New-age" ads continue to grow
The industry has started to see this trend emerge over the last year, and with companies continuing to experiment with new ad formats, it is almost inevitable that 2010 will see an increase in the different types of ad formats available.

As more and more consumers buy phones with application capabilities, it makes sense for brands to target those programs with advertising geared toward the type of consumer demographic that the application is targeting. Rich media is another capability that advertisers will employ more and more as phones are able to support streaming video, Flash, and advanced capabilities. These types of ad formats are more interesting to the consumer and enhance a user's experience. This positive experience leads to greater click-through rates and, thus, more success for a brand's mobile advertising campaign.

For the past three to five years, we have heard that this is the year for mobile advertising. However, now more than ever, the mobile advertising industry is in a great position to make great strides that will increase adoption. The spotlight is even brighter on the industry as more big-name brands have joined in on the action, with more soon to join. With improved analytics, mobile specialists, and inclusion in the entire digital media buy, the industry is poised for great success. So, will 2010 be the year for mobile advertising? I think so.

Bob Walczak is CEO of Ringleader Digital.

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