The first day of Advertising Week is over, and I¹m happy to report that not one person or panel that I attended brought up that dreaded phrase "this is the year of mobile," even once. Mobile, with its complex capabilities and evolving technology, will grow for years beyond what mobile analysts call the mobile tipping point. For so many years, a lot of the companies and ad technology companies building mobile advertising capabilities have been relegated to the cheap seats in the back with little attention or ad dollars allocated to it. Well, that's not the case anymore; mobile has arrived and will require brands, agencies, ad technology providers and rich media providers to all work together to improve and innovate the media ecosystem.
But it's not enough to just say "yes, mobile has arrived" and not do something to reinvent the definition of creative when designing ads for the smaller screen of smartphones and tablets. And a lot of heads turned when Cary Tilds from GroupM suggested that the entire advertising community suffered from a lack of standardization. She wasn't talking about a lack of standardization in ad unit sizes and measurement, but in their inability to plan, measure and scale mobile campaigns to accommodate the unique capabilities and functions of mobile devices, such as swipe, accelerometers, video and social sharing. To make sure that mobile hasn't just arrived, but that it stays and shifts marketers and agencies into new forms of thought, mobile must become the central point around which brands build their overall advertising strategies.
The reality is that mobile advertising will continue to be a challenge; it will be hard to navigate through the muddle of what mobile users want, how they want to receive information, what types of ads will resonate with mobile users and other relevant information. But the good news is that more agency heavyweights the likes of Publicis, Saatchi and R/GA are becoming believers in what mobile can do not only to engage consumers, but to deliver that all important metric, or result, of sales.
Some of the more conventional brands too are taking notice of mobile and what it can do to increase ROI and sales. In a panel Tuesday afternoon at the Mobile Media Summit, Ned Newhouse, Director of Mobile Development at Conde Nast Media Group, said, "Mobile is the best medium to immerse and engage people." Newhouse was followed by Solomon Masch, Director of Mobile Sales at Time Inc., who talked about why the publishing brand is building its editorial content around mobile. "We're programming our editorial content around each device and how people use them."
I'll do something a bit brave here and make a massive prediction that mobile marketers and agencies are going to move away from social media and lean towards mobile, with tablet devices receiving a significant amount of ad spend in 2013.
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