Mobile Ads Forecast To Rival Desktop, Metrics Key June 12, 2013
The post-PC era is here.
With a third or more of their traffic coming from devices, large Web publishers are scrambling to monetize the rapid influx of mobile inventory. An eMarketer forecast released Tuesday underscored the dramatic shift underway, predicting desktop ad growth will top out next year at about $35 billion before gradually declining to $32.5 billion by 2017.
Conversely, mobile ad spending will jump from an estimated $7.7 billion this year to $28 billion in four years, nipping at the heels of traditional Web spending. In 2013 alone, mobile will spike 75% compared to just 6% for the desktop as publishers look to shift ad dollars to mobile devices and advertisers’ growing m-commerce sales.
Ad executives acknowledge the changes reverberating through the digital landscape. “We believe that standard digital display will peak in the next few years as mobile connections ultimately surpass desktop connections,” said Doug Rozen, chief innovation officer and senior vice president, general manager at MXM Mobile, Meredith Corp.’s integrated marketing unit.
At present, Rozen sees the biggest mobile opportunity in search as marketers use it as a tool to drive mobile Web interaction. eMarketer projects mobile search advertising will surge 76% this year, and 52% in 2014.
For Google, already the dominant player in mobile search, that means search revenue from mobile will approach the desktop by 2015: $7.1 billion to $10.3 billion. Mobile ads still command lower prices than desktop ads.
Not everyone sees the mobile shift as a zero sum game with the desktop Web when it comes to advertising, especially on the display side. “My initial reaction is that it’s overstated,” said Adam Kasper, chief media officer, Havas Media, North America, of the eMarketer forecast. While mobile is growing faster, especially given that it’s starting from a smaller base, he believes desktop ad spending will continue to grow alongside it.
Kasper suggests mobile is taking more budget from traditional media, like print and local broadcast TV, rather than the PC-based Web. He also notes that media is increasingly being bought across platforms, making device-based distinctions less meaningful. “You’re doing a buy with a publisher that can run anywhere and optimizing for KPIs across screens,” he said.
That’s what Google has in mind with its launch this year of AdWords Enhanced Campaigns, which allows advertisers to merge desktop and mobile-optimized ads in a single buy, relying on context to deliver the right type of ad. But the updated system doesn’t power mobile-only campaigns — the desktop is still the AdWords foundation.
Jeremy Lockhorn, who leads the emerging media practice at Razorfish, pointed out that a newer crop of devices is blurring the lines among PC, tablets and mobile screens. That includes Microsoft’s Surface and other “convertible” ultrabooks. Add to that so-called “phablets” like the Galaxy Note, whose screen sizes place them somewhere between smartphones and tablets.
“This makes almost any prediction at spend by screen category an educated guess at best,” he said. Lockhorn also indicated that the eMarketer forecast may underestimate spending on the desktop for emerging video and native ad formats. Rozen also sees original video as a growing category on the desktop, providing content to rival traditional television, “but with better targeting options.”
Regardless of media type, measurement will remain a key issue for the digital industry to tackle as advertising expands across devices. Both comScore and Nielsen tout rival systems for tracking online campaigns across platforms, but a standard, unified set of metrics is still a work in progress.
In that vein, Wade Rifkin, vice president, media director at Digitas NY, said any cannibalization of desktop ad dollars by mobile “is going to be predicated on required cross-platform measurement advances that let us prove out the efficacy of mobile over the much more established, though still imperfect, desktop channel.”
Today’s Burning Question: Apple’s WWDC Announcements June 11, 2013
Today we asked our kickass panel of industry thought leaders to the following Burning Question:
“Which of the Apple announcements from opening day of Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2013 holds the most significance for the online ad/marketing space?”
Here’s how they responded:
“I find it interesting that Apple is the first to do ad supported radio vs. Google. Most people don’t think of Apple as an ad company, but Apple has quietly built a very strong team at iAd. They have tons of engineering talent and are eager to blaze their own trail in ads. I’m excited to see what they come up with.” – James Walker, CEO and Founder, inadco.
“I think the Safari Power Saver will definitely have some degree of impact on the digital marketing space in terms of stopping flash ads from playing. It will most likely be a marginal impact though, since it only affects a subset of online ads, so it’s ultimate significance remains to be seen. Whatever the case may be, smart advertisers will adapt and learn that campaigns with flash ads should avoid targeting Safari browsers.” – Ratko Vidakovic, Director of Marketing at SiteScout.
“The biggest announcement from WWDC that holds the most significance for the ad/marketing space is clearly iTunes Radio. Similar to Pandora, iTunes Radio will allow brands to target consumers while they listen to music on their iOS devices. Ads on iTunes Radio will most likely be rolled into Apple’s iAd.” – Dirk Rients, Senior Vice President, Director of Mobile, DDB Chicago.
“The announcement, with the features taken together rather than individually should impact marketing/advertising by creating opportunities for new innovation and experiences: Creating new media/opportunities for new inventory, eg apple radio; new rich engagement experiences through multitasking threads; [and] really around the location tagging and given that marketing is going local marketers may be able to take advantage of the new data elements.” — Michael Becker, Managing Director of North America for the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).
“The new privacy features in iOS 7, which give consumers the ability to reset their identifier, further protects people from marketing companies that might leverage other PII identifiers which arose when UDID was removed. Practices such as using the MAC address for purposes of performance tracking or advertising will now be limited and consumers will have control via ID for advertiser privacy settings. This change follows the AdTruth position of not relying on personal deterministic identification techniques which are not consumer friendly. The new feature of automatically updating apps is a minor change with a big impact on the online marketing/advertising ecosystem. The online marketing world quickly innovates around things like improved user experiences, better ad units, optimized algorithm & intelligence. Historically, one of the biggest problems were that consumers were not on the latest version of an app and therefore receiving outdated user experiences. By allowing apps to automatically update, these innovations will more predictably flow into the market providing consumers the latest & greatest experience at all times.” — Surag Patel, Head of Product at AdTruth.
“While the initial views of iOS 7, unveiled at Apple’s WWDC, show a stunning new UI and some fascinating new features, there are two key elements of interest to app developers and marketers. … Instead of sending notifications and requiring users to manually update their apps (or risk falling behind), iOS 7 will provide for automatic updating when developers introduced new versions. This is great news for app developers. It ensures that they can always reach their users with a consistent, up-to-date version of their app, and every update is a re-engagement opportunity. Delivering new features and content provides a reason for users to return to your app, without requiring the user to make a conscious decision to update. Auto-updates also eliminate the need to support multiple older versions – at least within iOS. — Craig Palli, Vice President, Business Development & Client Services, Fiksu.
“iTunes Radio is the largest opportunity for marketers and media buyers from Apple’s announcements yesterday at WWDC. iTunes Radio will function under the same freemium model that Spotify, Pandora and others in this crowded space function. The user will be served display and audio ads unless they purchase a subscription to iTunes Match. However, marketers have an advantage over other platforms because by using iAd to combine listener data with location they can serve up highly relevant and engaging ads. Targeting consumers based on everything they have purchased through iTunes, including TV, Movies, Music, will be a huge advantage over other platforms.” – Angie Terrell, Senior Director Product Development, Engauge.
“The announcement that iOS will have a much richer integration with more than seven leading car manufacturers means that there is the potential for advertisers to place their message within certain location services like maps/Siri search. In this scenario promoting information when drivers are searching on the go for say where they might want to get a bite to eat when hungry or the nearest gas station will allow advertisers to bid on a top results listing, similar to how Google or Yelp does it today.” — Alex Funk, director of global paid media services at Covario.
“iPhone 5 and iPod touch will get all the iOS7 features announced at WWDC, while iPhone 4 and 4S will only get the new iOS 7 look and limited features. iPhone 3GS and older iPhones are going to stay behind in iOS6 world forever. This fragmentation in design and functionality will increase the chaos involved in standardizing ad units, placements and trafficking. In particular: serving, tracking ad behavior and measurements, adapt creative look and feel while taking tech computability under consideration will become even a bigger pain for service providers. Solutions providers that will adopt to the change quickly may get a leg up while slower adapters won’t be able to utilize mixed placements as good. Relevant to ad-networks, creative agencies and ad:tech providers that deal with ad-serving and advanced ad-unit capabilities.” — Dynamix COO Jack Cohen Martin.
“I just installed iOS 7 on my iPhone, and it is a huge departure from what the original iPhone operating system was comprised of. The experience feels a lot more cumbersome and Android-like than what Apple users will be used to on the original iOS design. I expected simplification and a more accessible mobile experience – from what I’ve seen, it seems that many design considerations have not been thought through in regards to creating a faster mobile experience. Thinner fonts on a white background doesn’t exactly make for easy reading as I cross Madison Ave during rush hour trying to catch a cab. What this tells me is that we are not truly where we need to be in terms of truly understanding mobile as it pertains to utility and communications. Designing for mobile is an art unto itself and requires a lot more than the traditional design tool box that everyone seems to be using. As marketers, we need to expand our thinking into the realms of responsive experiences and responsive communications as they pertain to the context we are in. The new OS design will obviously have a huge impact on the way apps and mobile web communications are designed. Native ads in their simplest form typically take on the look and feel of the environment on which they are served. I think we will see a huge design shift incorporating round icons, flat designs, transparent everything and gestural controls that make up the new iOS design. The biggest effect on the marketing world is the step back Apple just took. I think we all felt the collective decline of the company as a leader in innovation and holistically designed software and hardware experiences. Apple is going to go back into a hibernation phase where they need to figure out how to regain the vision that once was Steve Jobs – to create something that not just defined a product category but set the bar for consumer experience.” – Craig Elimeliah, VP, Director of Creative Technology, RAPP.
“With Apple’s fall release of iTunes Radio, advertisers can capitalize on Apple’s massive user base of individuals already using iTunes both on mobile & desktop. Although the streaming music market is competitive (i.e. Pandora & Spotify), Apple is well-known for providing higher and more reliable quality of media to its users. Additionally, Apple has a large set of data on its users and their music likes/dislikes from active individuals who already subscribe to iTunes Match. This data will likely be used to enhance iTunes Radio’s ability to match music to new listeners, providing advertisers with a better opportunity for relevant targeting.” — Erik Granning, Data & Insights Specialist, iProspect.
“According to Apple, Siri now has the capability to search Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing in iOS 7. This WWDC announcement could greatly increase potential advertising footprint on Twitter and Bing. Additionally, this new partnership with Bing is a significant step away from Google and its suite of search tools. What was not clear is whether the Bing/Apple relationship begins and ends with Siri, or whether it will be available in other apps like Safari. If Safari would default to Bing’s search engine, Apple will have clearly chosen a side in the search engine race. This default to Safari would vastly increase the amount of browser usage (if we do not already interpret the Siri announcement as a veiled reference to future inclusion of Bing functionality in iOS.) – Michael Cipielewski, SEO Specialist, iProspect.
“Knowing that the majority of searches done on iOS and Android portable devices are executed on Google it makes perfect sense that Apple would want to try another search engine in iOS 7. If Safari would default to Bing, the new Apple devices may make Bing more popular but on the flipside it may further alienate Bing from popular culture and in the same time could it turn off Apple’s core user? With Bing set as the default search results for Siri and the increased popularity of voice search we could see an increase in Bing mobile traffic and maybe even higher mobile margins coming from Bing.” — Alexander Marinov, Digital Marketing Specialist, iProspect.
“The biggest update in iOS 7 is undoubtedly the overhauled user interface. In this release, Apple had largely dropped the original iOS design language in favor of a clean, flat aesthetic worthy of a modern mobile operating system. In doing so, Apple has updated nearly every aspect of the OS, including all of their popular apps such as Mail and Calendar. New updates to push notifications, as well as a new background delivery mechanism that allows publishers to push new content to their devices in the background, are just two ways iOS 7 can provide more opportunities for mobile app developers to engage users, strengthen overall brand loyalty and achieve monetization.” – Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics.
“In terms of mobile experiences, the launch of iRadio within the iOS 7 design overhaul is the most impactful for the online ad and marketing community. With Apple’s large base of iTunes users, as well as years of knowledge about users’ evolving tastes, Apple is now allowing publishers to distribute and monetize content in this new medium. In the case they eclipse the scale of services like Pandora or Spotify, marketers can look forward to a channel of visual and audio mobile advertising to engage users on the the iOS Platform. — Rajesh Reddy, CEO & founder of July Systems.
“Apple’s iRadio announcement has the most significance for the mobile advertising ecosystem. Pandora made close to $90 million in mobile ad revenue last quarter on streaming audio and with iAd estimated to make a little over $200 million this year, iRadio should provide a significant boost to mobile ad revenue for Apple.” — Krishna Subramanian, CMO, Velti.
“With the latest UI streamlining enhancements, users will spend more time in apps on their mobile devices. This means more in-app ad inventory, and an increased need to make sense out of the complex maze of available ad units and ad networks. Apple will continue to support ads more closely aligned with their own iAd products, such as standard IAB banner ad units, and continue to clamp down on incentivized ads (i.e. offer walls that want you to install X in order to get Y).” — Fred Hsu, President and CEO of RTB.com.
“iTunes Radio (iRadio) is touted as the beginning of the end for Spotify and Pandora – both music applications rely on banner ads and/or pop ups, especially on mobile devices. At this time, Apple states that iRadio will be free for users, and ad free for specific iTunes Match users and therefore supported by advertising. So, where will iTunes get their ads in? Mobile traffic for music apps grew 72% in 2012 alone, so one can imagine that ads will more heavily target mobile users similar to Pandora. Because Apple has their iAd group focusing on building up the iRadio advertising space to third-party developers and major entertainment companies, iRadio is set up for targeted advertising success. They aren’t selling their space to just anyone – they are providing their customers’ information to the advertisers in order to target each consumer directly based on their music playlists, their app use, and other downloads in entertainment.” — Tadji Akhavan, Director, Social Media Strategy, mOcean.
“Beyond the obvious visual design considerations that iOS 7 brings to the table for brands, multitasking and notification improvements within OS X Mavericks are two features that allow brands to 1) stay more relevant to the consumer in a more timely manner and 2) consider even more where a consumer is going to interact with your brand. How you generate and distribute content to your platform needs to keep up with a consumer’s ability to acknowledge and digest it.” — Douglas Rozen, Chief Innovation Officer at MXM.
How to break into mobile native advertising May 17, 2013
As marketers continue to look for new ways to develop mobile advertising, native advertising is catching the eye of marketers. However, understanding the right context and content that works with these nascent advertising models is tricky.
Even though many of the opportunities with native advertising are new, marketers have been talking about the limitations of mobile banner ads for quite some time. With the opportunity though comes significant challenges around native advertising, particularly around scale and blending ads into editorial content.
“For mobile, native unlocks advertising from a banner – the banner might be a good advertising unit for desktop Web, but is very limited when striped down a space smaller than a stick of gum on a mobile,” said Douglas Rozen, chief innovation officer at MXM, New York.
“Additionally, mobile consumption is much more task-orientated, so banners can get in the way of the consumer’s experience versus adding to their experience,” he said.
“Native advertising allows brands to go beyond the banner but places a greater emphasis on content to fuel consumer engagement. To be successful, marketers must have editorial mindset and consider how to create relevance based on context and content.”
Getting native right
Native advertising has grabbed the attention of the mobile industry in the past year.
However, many brands are using native advertising just for the sake of using the technology.
For example, many brands push out native content that either does not run on mobile devices or is not built using mobile design best practices, per Mr. Rozen.
When it comes to mobile native advertising, cutting content to the bare minimum is essential.
For example, short and snackable pieces of multimedia and task-oriented copy works well.
Additionally, brands should look to leverage some of the unique qualities of mobile, such as location, when developing native advertising content.
“The opportunity in mobile is to overlay a consumer’s location to further focus the content, not just trigger the placement,” Mr. Rozen said.
“For a CPG client, we tailor the content to whether they are in-store versus in-route to the store,” he said. “In-store will be more promotional whereas in route to store will be more inspirational.”
Knowing your audience
According to Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip, San Francisco, native advertising requires brands to move away from making blanketed media buys and to instead think about how the mobile experience intersects into a consumer’s life.
The idea here is to understand and own the exact moment that a brand is most relevant to a consumer.
For example, Pepsi’s Propel has worked with Kiip on mobile advertising initiatives that target consumers who are using applications such as MapMyRun and Nexercise and might be looking to refresh while logging their exercise information.
Similarly, Campbell’s likely wants to own the moments when consumers are cooking, which correlates to reaching consumers within a recipe search app.
“The critical element is not treating native rewards as simply a rehashed banner ad that is popping up in your social media feeds – it’s more than that,” Mr. Wong said.
“Moments for native rewards can be uncovered in any app, from fitness trackers to games to to-do lists,” he said.
“The key is identifying those entry points and creating an relevant native reward that lends itself to that particular mobile moment.”
According to Bill Clifford, chief revenue officer at SessionM, Boston, brands should start with a simple, clearly-defined objective to test native advertising. This can include getting a consumer to watch or share a piece of content, for example.
Additionally, brands should test at least two different solutions to get learnings.
Even though native advertising offers brands big opportunities creatively, reaching a mass audience is still a challenge.
“In many cases, publishers are creating their own native solutions with their own set of creative requirements and ROI metrics,” Mr. Clifford said.
“Operationally, it’s a real challenge for agencies to deliver a campaign across multiple apps if each has their own creative and measurement standards,” he said.
Native ads force marketers to develop for specific platforms with one type of user in mind and are often labor and time-limiting.
One of the biggest challenges going forward will be thinking about how to create content that scales, but is also specific enough to be tailored to consumers.
For example, Pepsi, Sauza Tequila and Cruzan Rum all recently launched mobile advertising campaigns on a new tool from Sharethough that takes a piece of content and matches it to the fonts and colors of a publisher’s mobile site.
“In terms of the mobile native ad ecosystem at large, there is a huge focus on building scale right now,” said Chris Schreiber, vice president of marketing and communications at Sharethrough, San Francisco.
“With technology like real-time templating – which Sharethrough developed to allow publishers to easily build and monetize native ads on their mobile sites – we expect to see a massive growth of the available mobile native ad inventory over the next six months,” he said.
“While scale is less of an issue with mobile display ads, there are significant questions around the quality of their user experience.”