Just when we think we are taking a couple of steps forward, we then lurch to the left and take two backwards. And that is not even after a night out, that is just reading the latest news and analysis of the mobile advertising market. And now – suddenly – we find our way, like the adverts themselves, are blocked. One step back.
One Step Forward
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, global mobile advertising revenues have hit $5.3 billion. eMarketer predicts that the figure for the US alone will hit $6.6 billion in 2014 and Informa believes that the figure within five years will be $24 billion.
We have heard the arguments. Mobile devices are intensely personal things. 42 percent of smartphone owners use their devices in bed, before they get up and before they go to sleep. They love them, according to Ericsson’ ConsumerLab. To deliver advertising to this audience, the message must, too, be intensely personal and relevant. The ‘throw it against a wall and see what sticks’ days of broadcast advertising are gone. Creative brains have begun to whirr, creating new and exciting ideas and ways of engaging with these most difficult of customers. Location based offers and NFC have been trialed (NFC less so) to attract customers to specific brands and stores. And big brands are looking at the mobile channel with increasing concentration. Coca Cola’s Precision Marketing Managers are beginning to explore the potential of mobile and could provide a huge boost to operators’ revenues.
A Lurch to the Left
The creative people are up against it. Revenues per click for mobile are half what they are for desktop machines which means the challenge is one of scale and personalization. Even as Google and friends announce dramatic growth in the mobile advertising world, their margins are being squeezed, hard. Add to this the knowledge that money moves a lot slower than technology – it took 43 years for revenue advertising on TV to overtake advertising revenue in newspapers – and you have a serious challenge.
And Two Steps Back
Given this enormous challenge, the industry has now potentially been stopped in its tracks with news that Eyeo, maker of AdBlock Plus, which is downloaded 100,000 times a day, is going mobile. AdBlock Plus, which does what it says on the tin, prevents pop up ads on smartphones. Perhaps, though, those creative people were not betting the farm on pop ups for mobiles but it certainly does not make their already significant challenge any easier. What it does is make the window of opportunity even smaller to engage the customer before he, literally, switches the adverts off.