Trailblazing Ain’t Easy: But It’s Time for a Change in Mobile Advertising

It’s not going to be easy, but it’s time for a new trail.

We had a great chat with Anthony Chen of Digital313 today and I wanted to write down some of the insights he provided. Some of this came from him, other parts are just what we drew from the conversation—so sorry Tony if we don’t get it all right!

Mobile advertising is facing a legacy problem. When advertising first moved online, a huge mistake was made. We mirrored ad formats after TV commercials and print ads, and plastered the same messages across millions of spots across the web. There was no need to do this. Technology allowed us to provide more personalized, more targeted, more contextual ads, but we stayed in our comfort zone and brought what we knew to the web.

Now mobile is emerging as the next frontier of advertising and we’re trying to do it again. No matter how many articles and panels talk about the need for great improvements in mobile advertising, most of what we see is the same, disruptive, “serve-the-same-ad-to-100’s-of-millions-of-people” model.

Why? Well a lot of reasons. 1) It’s got to fit into the buy sheet. No matter how intriguing, logical, or effective a new model is, if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t make it in. 2) Advertisers love to measure performance year-over-year. This means that this year’s performance results better be measurable against last year’s performance results or someone is getting fired. It’s hard to directly measure a totally new ad type against an old one. Apples to oranges, if you will.

It’s time for a change. It’s starting to sound like everyone is frustrated enough with the current state to jump onboard. Only time will tell.

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