This Is Not The Year Of Mobile, But I Know When It’s Coming
The last seven or so years have been “the year of mobile.” It’s now a joke with anyone in the industry that “it’s the year of mobile!” But it never is. And this year isn’t it either. I do know when it’s coming, though. Drum roll please.
The year of mobile will occur when the industry organizes itself around a way to consistently and accurately track impressions, clicks, and conversions in a fully transparent (no secrets at all) way for advertisers and their agencies. We’re nowhere near this now. Here are some examples of how far behind mobile is compared to online:
Mary Meeker’s newest report shows how the biggest upside in interactive spending lies in mobile, with just 1% of ad spending but 10% of time spent with media. What good is upside if the technology is so “online 1996” that agencies and clients feel like they need to drive a 1970s Pinto to the meeting to place their buy? Mary’s report also shows mobile eCPMs are five times less than online. FIVE TIMES! But when you factor in that you can’t target well, can barely read most of the ads on the screen, and have basically no idea whether or not your campaign worked (unless all you care about is driving app installs), mobile deserves to be five times less costly on an eCPM basis. Oh, but go try to buy mobile for a cheaper eCPM. You’ll encounter TWO TIMES greater CPMs. Maybe it’s not so coincidental that the 10:1 pricing discrepancy is equal to the time spent/money spent discrepancy!
On the positive side, at least the industry addressing these problems. Creating an Open UDID would be huge. Figuring out how to make MAC address work would be another good solution too. It’s clearly going to be a while, though, before the industry not only settles on one of these but gets large-scale adoption as well.
So, does mobile advertising have huge potential right now? No. Does the industry have huge potential? Yes. Can’t wait for the two to come together.