5 Mobile Advertising Features That Will Drive it to Surpass Web Advertising in No Time
By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
While companies like Google and others have consistently generated billions of dollars from Web advertising, many believe it won't be long before advertisers look to the mobile phone before the Web. Mobile advertising is exploding and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the means by which companies target billions of people around the world is already advancing faster than advertising on the Web.
Smartphones are becoming more and more mainstream, even in emerging markets and if Mobile World Congress 2012 taught us anything, it is that innovation in the mobile space is not slowing down, if anything, it is speeding up by the day!
It is therefore no surprise that mobile advertising is an industry that is expected to reach numbers as high as $50 billion in the coming years, according to some analysts. This also explains why huge players such as Facebook and Twitter are now embracing mobile advertising. The Web is so 2009!
The following are five features of mobile advertising that enable advertisers to reach their target audience in an easier, faster, and more efficient way than advertising on the web, not to mention traditional advertising:
1: Is that a Smartphone in your pocket? The very nature of a mobile phone is that, well, it's mobile. What that means for advertisers is that they aren't restricted to advertising when the user is reading a newspaper or sitting by the computer. The mobile phone is almost always on and makes the user accessible around the clock.
While that can raise privacy issues for users, advertisers have to learn how to take advantage of this characteristic while enhancing the user experience of the mobile user.
2: It Knows Where you Are: If I had to choose one feature that brings the mobile phone to a whole new level as compared to the PC, it would have to be the ability to target by location. This is, in essence a continuation of the previous point. Not only is the mobile phone always on, but with the integrated location sensors, it essentially knows where you are at any given time.
If you have seen Minority Report, you surely know the potential of targeted advertising, but pinpoint targeting is no longer science fiction. With services like Foursquare and many others, you can already get a notification when passing by a venue to "check in", which will grant you access to a coupon or discount you would have otherwise not been eligible for. Targeting users based on precise location gives mobile advertising an edge over Web advertising that is already showing results in the form of increased conversions and CTR.
3: You call THAT an Ad? In addition to mobile phones offering accessibility and pinpoint targeting, the unparalleled speed at which mobile phones and specifically screens are evolving provide the ability to serve interactive rich media ads the likes of which the PC can only dream of. The Web had its chance to bring ads to the next level and suffice to say, it failed. The best it could come up with is an ad that plays music when you first access a website. I mean, really? Mobile ads are already experiencing a serious shift from traditional display ads to full interactive advertisements including HTML5, engaging gesture detection, and full-blown video.
While this is great for the user experience, how does this affect the advertiser? Well, the answer is in the question. The better the user experience, the higher the chances the user will engage with the ad, or in other words, click it and eventually convert into a sale. Again, the numbers speak for themselves and mobile CTR has already surpassed the numbers the Web has experienced over the last few years.
4: A PC? What's That? Here is the thing with mobile phones. They are everywhere! In 2009 (yes, three years ago!) Google released a staggering statistic that there are three times more mobile devices around the world then there are computers. Of course, today the line is completely blurring between the phone and computer but that is a different topic. In any case, Eric Schmidt recently declared that if Google makes all the right moves, they intend on getting an Android device into the hands of every human being across the globe. While that might sound a little nuts, there are many emerging markets that don't have running water, don't use PCs, but depend solely on mobile devices as a primary computing device.
Nokia has said in the past that there are more people around the world that have a Nokia device than have a toothbrush. That should put things in perspective for you. For advertisers who want to target a truly global audience, the PC just doesn't cut it.
5: Advanced Capabilities: So we talked "Always on", we talked location, we talked rich media, and we talked global coverage. But let's not forget that given the capabilities of a modern smartphone, a mobile ad can behave in a way that a traditional ad or even a banner on the Web could never even dream of. Accelerometers, Gyroscopes, advanced multitouch and multitasking give the modern mobile phone the ability to turn into an unprecedented advertising opportunity that is already becoming a reality.