When Walmart, Macys and other big stores announce they are working on new mobile payment systems you can be sure of two things. First, they will be going for slick solutions that work and two, they are only marginally interested in mobile payments. They are vastly more interested in improving the shopping experience, looking at cool coupon ideas, compelling QR campaigns and other ways of catching and keeping customers.
eMarketer certainly points to massive growth, with its latest predictions of the US mobile advertising market – saying that the market will grow from $1.45 billion in 2011 to $6.62 billion in 2014 and will be worth almost $12 billion by 2016. They also benchmark the winners and losers, and perhaps unsurprisingly Google is ahead, with Facebook lagging behind and Twitter ahead of Facebook by some $50+ million. Facebook recently admitted that it has spent two years watching the mobile opportunity slip away and is now ‘on it.’ Time will tell whether they catch up, as they struggle to make a social network into a commercial one.
Whoever wins, one thing is for sure – mobile adverts that remain like the desktop and TV ones, but smaller, are doomed. The mobile is the perfect platform for story telling and story telling is the lost art of advertising. Talking of big guns, Coca Cola is betting the farm on Content Marketing – 2020 , building on benchmark campaigns such as the Super Bowl polar bears, which built on content and integration of that content in a way that generated engagement.
Advertising is a sensitive subject and one that will turn people off brands and devices if done wrong. Indeed, Amazon has tackled the problem head on by offering an ad free zone – for a fee. Meanwhile, proof that mobile advertising needs to be sophisticated comes from GoMoNews with a story of a company that has developed a holistic measurement tool for the effectiveness of campaigns.
All of that said, the industry must avoid the trap of putting all its eggs into one technology and pursue the mobile dream to the detriment of all others – we now live in a world of many screens that do many things, but we also live in a world where the (old fashioned, printed) book is still alive and well.