Mobile’s Wild Ride Ahead


wildride_smallADOTAS – Mobile advertising certainly made some amazing strides in 2010. Wide-reaching developments from Google and Apple raised both awareness and expectations: Google posted $1 billion in mobile ad revenue worldwide and acquired AdMob, while Apple secured 60 million iAd commitments and bought Quattro.

So is it possible we’re finally seeing the tremendous growth in mobile that the industry has been buzzing about for the past five years? I believe so. The facts all point to the promise of mobile advertising delivered… and it’s happening now, right before our eyes.

Mobile represents the second wave of the Internet and the mobile advertising market will become mainstream in 2011. Just earlier this month, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker stood on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit and explained that 2011 will be a shining year for mobile.

Recent eMarketer findings reinforce Meeker’s prediction that within three to five years the majority of consumers will access the Internet via mobile devices. In fact, Meeker most recently predicted that by 2012, more smartphones will be shipped than desktop and notebook PCs combined.

In many ways, mobile is the most exciting ad platform because it’s so personal and portable, and it directly connects a user’s interests to an action through a tailored experience.

So what’s in store for the year ahead? I believe we’ll see a plethora of new players embracing mobile advertising and marketers will realize the potential of the platform to help grow their business. Here are my predictions for the coming year:

Mobile will get its own allocation in advertisers’ marketing budgets. According to Nielsen, smart phone penetration is hovering around 29 percent, but is expected to hit 50% by 2012.  This broad reach is compelling marketers to shift mobile to its own line item in brand marketing budgets. In addition, cross-platform media research in 2011 on effectiveness will categorically show the incremental impact of mobile ads on brand metrics when combined with TV and online.

Mobile will be integrated into digital planning and measurement tools. Integration into platforms like Doubleclick and agency trading desks will begin taking place in 2011. This long waited step will make it easier for agency media planners to include mobile on the front-end and measure mobile on the back-end. The clear quantification of performance and ROI in mobile vs. PC-based Internet will result in budget shifts.

M-commerce connected to mobile advertising will take off. As marketers and retailers invest resources to build comprehensive m-commerce initiatives, so will they focus on promoting them “in medium.” Currently 80% of US multichannel retailers have no M-commerce capabilities and only 12% of the top 500 internet retailers have sites optimized for mobile phones.

As consumer behavior shifts, so will the marketing efforts behind mobile-optimized sites, allowing consumers to begin the m-commerce process on mobile and completing the transaction on a PC, or vice versa. Promoting these mobile-optimized experiences for brands will be a big focus in 2011.

Mobile video will take center stage. Carriers, networks and app developers all know that Mobile Video is the next killer app. Sight, sound and motion has long been a major driver in user engagement. Allowing consumers to follow their viewing experience across multiple devices including tablets, PCs, and connected TVs will be a reality in 2011. This behavioral shift will dramatically change through Android and Apple-powered TVs and will plug right into the mobile app ecosystem, allowing mobile video to gain scale very rapidly.

Tracking audiences and the consumer experience will become key. As advertisers continue to advance their focus on audience buying and consumers shift their Internet consumption to multiple devices, the need to track the user experience across devices will likewise increase.  Publishers will need to understand the “consumer experience” across platform and adjust content accordingly.  In 2011, marketers will focus on utilizing consumer audience data to provide customized experiences suited for mobile and tablet devices.

Traditional ad networks and other players will be clamoring to become a part of the mobile ecosystem. As Internet consumption moves from PC to mobile so will the dollars follow. While many PC and digital companies have been cautious with their mobile investments, their attention will mirror the change in consumer behavior and place more emphasis on mobile accordingly.

In 2011, mobile devices will become a compelling option for those that may have never considered mobile in the past.  In addition, the industry will see more growth as non-media players, including technology vendors, carriers, traditional media companies, infrastructure enablers and handset manufacturers, join the mobile advertising industry via mergers and acquisitions. For many players that were left behind in PC Internet revolution, mobile represents the next ‘gold rush’ to make their mark.

A year from now when we are looking back on 2011, I think we’ll not only see these seminal changes, we’ll also witness how they positioned the mobile ad space to grow at a rate that the media industry has never seen.


  1. Mobile marketers who take advantage of mobile site content optimization and personalization tools now will find themselves ahead of the curve in 2011 – those who don’t will find themselves quickly falling behind. The ways in which consumers interact with mobile devices is changing from day to day, which is why it’s extremely important to continuously monitor customer preferences and usability habits in order to serve the right content and messaging in the right place at the right time.


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