Has the Economic Downturn Ended Mobile Advertising Before it Began?

Kelli Richards / August 6th, 2011

Is Mobile Advertising Over Before it Began? One or Two Standouts Still in the Game

Unlike social media marketing, social advertising seems to be taking a big hit from the never-ending recession we find ourselves in as a nation.  I say this because it seems that the newest golden egg in advertising, Mobile, had hit a new low before it ever reached any kind of high. And if you look deeper, what it’s really indicative of is click based marketing overall.  It’s been interesting to watch mobile marketing come to life.  I worked in this space with Virgin Mobile several years ago; and at that point it was more of an evangelism exercise trying to educate major brands and media companies about what this was all about. Now it’s an evangelism to get them to stay the course and build an audience.

How does this all play out in the new digital age, if audiences and ROI aren’t born overnight? With 56% of Fortune 500 marketers dissatisfied with or simply not using click-based mobile advertising, it’s possible that only a few strong companies will be able to ride the wave, approach smaller marketing businesses, provide a good service at the right price, and hang in there until the economy turns.

One of the few standouts who seem to be weathering the storm and getting it right is Augme Technologies. Augme has created what they call the “AD LIFE™ Ad Network” to help marketers engage with their best consumers. Basically, by using sophisticated targeting options, Augme reaches 100+ million unique visitors (and 9+ billion impressions) each month. It’s the targeting that makes this unique and successful, with options that range from region to behavior to platform and device, as well as a huge array of demographic combinations.

If you follow the old-adage that the best customer is one you already have, then the mobile marketing industry should first be able to count on repeat business from established clients before creating a trajectory of higher profits.  In this case, it doesn’t look like that will happen, not at the present time anyway. But having an example of a company that’s navigating these new waters successfully does give some hope.

With Smartphones taking over the mobile industry at a phenomenal rate, the mobile advertising world should look like a wide open field of opportunity, but right now, the numbers just don’t support this.  A recent survey showed that although 93% of marketers would move further into mobile ad spending – 43% of that group cites a low return on investment as a block to continuing with the platform.

Another statistic worth mentioning is that the most effective mobile ad campaigns were email based, where consumers had signed up and chosen to participate. Just a note, this is something that social media marketers have known for over a decade. 

“Signup ads are native to mobile advertising,” said Zephrin Lasker, CEO and co-founder, Pontiflex, one of the largest players in the mobile ad field. “People have a new sense of control and meaningful experiences with brands.”

 

In the end, this forum also demands a new level of creativity, collaboration and UE, user experience.  If Angry Birds can become a phrase and experience that 78% of mobile phone users know and have participated with, then Angry Birds who drink Dr. Pepper makes perfect sense.

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Kelli Richards

Kelli Richards is a recognized thought-leader in digital music and entertainment with deep expertise in digital distribution and branded content, as well as working with a plethora of luminaries and innovators. She drove music and entertainment initiatives at Apple for 10 years, and helped to birth a whole new consumer movement around disruptive technologies & emerging business models. As President of The All Access Group, she has worked closely with a wide range of start-ups, Fortune 100 companies, and established artists and industry leaders alike as a sought-after strategic consultant for the past 15 years. www.allaccessgroup.com.
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