Does Mobile Display Even Work? How Geo-Location and Cross-Platform Ads Will Change the Game


ADOTAS — The potential of mobile advertising is huge. And yet, many are still wondering when the platform will finally mature enough to handle the more immersive forms of advertising and rich-media engagement currently experienced on desktop display. According to the latest research published by Informa Telecoms & Media in its Mobile Advertising: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts 2011-2016. The global mobile advertising market will generate revenues of $12.8 billion in 2013. That’s up from $8 billion in 2012.

eMarketer’s 2013 projections for the U.S. mobile advertising market are right around $7.28 billion.

As people take on a more mobile lifestyle and unshackle themselves from clunky desktop computers, advertisers need to adjust their strategies to better reach people on their most trusted personal computing devices. But is the platform itself ready to turn mobile advertising a scalable business?

Current industry effective CPMs hover around $0.75 on mobile, compared to $3.50 on the desktop, making sustainability a major issue for the industry. This disparity between desktop and mobile advertising needs to be addressed before brands will be able to fully utilize and embrace the small screen. The introduction of new mobile targeting approaches that include geo-location and cross-device ad delivery are paving the way for the industry and are expected to drive up the CPMs of mobile advertising, transforming the nascent industry into a highly-effective and a sustainable business.

As part of Internet Week New York, the OMMA Mobile conference examined such issues by diving  into both the potential and limitations of mobile as the de facto ad delivery platform.

Connecting the dots between mobile and desktop is not as difficult as it may seem for advertisers.

“We have found a way to clearly identify a particular consumer as they move from device to device – from desktop to mobile to tablet  — through deterministic matching, with 100% accuracy,” said Kamal Kaur, VP of mobile at programmatic ad company RadiumOne, “This targeting information then can be relayed back into audience targeting technologies, enabling brands to deliver highly relevant advertisements across display, mobile, video, and Facebook, tailored to drive conversions.

“All advertisers that buy media across multiple channels should use omni-channel targeting,” Kaur added. “Without such targeting, they potentially miss valuable opportunities to engage with their potential customers. For example, serving a movie trailer to a sci-fi fan on a desktop is a great way to bring awareness for a new movie release.  However, instead of running a RON buy on mobile, follow it with a sequential ad, especially when that user is within a Fandango app or searching for movie schedules outside the theater.”

Going local is also a strategy for Atlanta-based company LSN Mobile, which matches up publishers with advertisers to help monetize mobile content.

“Local media is our main differentiator,” said Louis Gump (pictured), CEO of LSN Mobile. “We have access to a range of inventory from local publishers and have ad serving expertise that has been built and tailored for this audience, especially for national advertisers trying to reach local markets at scale. We have the nation’s largest network of local media content, representing leading affiliates from networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and Univision, and currently offer news, weather, sports and more to millions of mobile users in both English and Spanish.”

The geo-location capabilities built into smartphones provides a tremendous opportunity for advertisers looking to deliver timely and location-relevant ads to consumers as they navigate throughout their city. If you’re downtown grabbing a sandwich at lunchtime, why not get an ad for a half-price coffee at the Starbucks right next door?

“Geo-location is one of many important elements that’s driving growth in mobile advertising,” said Gump. “As relevant as it is, we should also remember factors like consumer context, ad products, and scale. To really get advertising to a place where it works well for both consumers and the ad community, we need a holistic approach. That said, location is one of the central elements of delivering relevant messages. As long as it is handled in a respectful way, it offers great opportunity to serve consumers better.”


  1. Thanks for this Richard! I think its really difficult to make a case for how effective uninspired traditional banner/display ads are today. For the most part, ad networks can do better than the only solution available to mobile advertisers five years ago. With the exception of Millennial Media, Airpush, and maybe Tapjoy, most mobile ad networks are falling short of their potential by not cultivating new targeting capabilities and highly engaging ad formats like video and rich media. There is SO much more potential in today’s mobile ad ecosystem, we just need to see a little more creativity in ad formats out there among a growing list of ad networks that won’t be here in three more years if they don’t follow this advice.


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