Going, Going, Gone…Mobile

I came across an amazing mobile fact in a BIA Kelsey webinar today. It looks at the relative ad spend and usage for different kinds of media. For example, TV garners 40% of our time and 43% of ad revenue. Print does far better than it deserves with an amazing 29% or ad spend for just 6% of our attention. The largest imbalance comes from mobile. Although we spend 23% of our time on our smart phones, that industry only gets 1% of overall ad spend. It’s certainly been our experience that not only do mobile ads perform extremely well (remember most of our advertisers are inherently local), mobile allows for very accurate targeting. In addition to performing better than most other media, the cost per transaction is very competitive, which points to a relative dearth of ads targeted at the opportunity.

The rise and rise of mobile is turning our industry upside down. I have been in this industry for nearly 12 years (oh good grief that long!) and pretty much every year has been “the year of mobile” and every year mobile failed to deliver. What turned the tide was the iPhone, rapidly followed by Android. Phones went from being clunky, ugly messes to elegant tools that were good for doing more than just making calls and managing contacts.

Adoption rates and usage both shot up whilst advertising was still trying to come to terms with online advertising in general, let alone mobile. According to the BIA Kelsey survey, mobile now roughly equals online in terms of time spent. The online world has fought long and hard to squeeze the 16% of ad revenue it is attracting, but that 16% took over a decade to build. The great thing about mobile ads, especially mobile ads served against a search, is that pretty much the most obvious thing for an end user to do is click on the proffered phone number. If you searched for pizza and your phone returned an ad for a local pizza place, wouldn’t you click on the call? It’s a perfect fit with our Pay Per Call focus.

On a topical note, one of the many challenges Facebook faces is that many of it’s billions of users are using it from mobile devices some or most of the time. Right now their mobile strategy is significantly behind their web monetization strategy, and both are at best still in early stages of development. The $100-billion question is if Facebook users on the web are not very likely to click on ads, how much less likely are they to respond to interruptions in their mobile experience? It’s a question Mr. Z and his team will have to answer.

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