Media consumption on mobile devices now sits at more than 10 percent. Yet mobile advertising remains at a paltry 1 percent of total media spend in U.S. Recent press coverage has propagated the notion that mobile ad spend will never catch up due to poor advertising formats (small screens) and experiences (mobile users are not interested in ads). The transition of publisher monetization from “digital dimes” to “mobile pennies” has driven fundamental business model questions and decreased the valuations of marquee digital companies like Facebook.
These beliefs are flat-out wrong. History and data clearly demonstrate that not only will mobile get its appropriate share of ad spend, but that it has the opportunity to be the most effective marketing platform the advertising world has ever seen.
Let’s break it down:
History demonstrates that advertising spend follows usage - eventually.
When you look at each of the critical media transition points in the last century (print, radio, broadcast, cable and digital), while the migration to new platforms lags audience consumption in the initial period, it closes the gap over time. The ad ecosystem of media, agencies and brands needs time to adjust to the opportunity. Increasingly, key organizations such as Yahoo! are focusing more on mobile leadership, signaling that the required focus is finally being put into place.
Mobile devices create a better ad environment and better engagement metrics.
According to recent eMarketer report, the benchmark for engagement (click-through rate, or CTR) on the average desktop banner is 0.1 percent. The same report cites the benchmark for engagement on the average mobile banner at 0.86 percent. Mobile banners see a lift in engagement of over 700 percent due to two primary factors – share of voice on page and the nature of how consumers interact with their devices. The average mobile page has one primary ad unit (compared with over 10 for a desktop page). While smaller in pixel space than a desktop ad, the percentage of total pixel space the mobile ad represents is three times that of the desktop. And consumers love to touch, swipe and interact with mobile devices. This tactile orientation leads to a psychologically easier shift to interacting with advertising – particularly if it’s relevant and useful.
Ads optimized for devices and delivered in relevant, quality environments do even better.
Looking at our company, a sample of more 300 million impressions served on the Crisp Media rich media ad platform shows an average effective CTR of 3 percent (CTR or tap-to-expand). This represents a 250 percent lift over a standard mobile banner and a 3000 percent lift over a desktop banner. Ads that are designed to leverage device functionality (click to calendar, click-to-video, click-to-maps, etc.) work because they align to the users’ engagement with the device itself. If you layer on delivery of the ad in a contextual, rich content-based environment – as opposed to an in-game app – the relevancy and usefulness of the advertising drives even more powerful engagement.
Many naysayers will suggest that much of the engagement in mobile is result of “accidental” taps or clicks. However, our sample data shows that the initial engagement in an expandable ad is followed by an 8-12 percent eventual click-to-marketer (depending on rich media elements in ad), plus a level of ad engagement ranging from 24-30 percent. This engagement rate reflects users deliberately interacting with ad features ranging from videos, to photo galleries, calendars, maps, games and much more. These measures, plus mobile rich media metrics such as total “dwell time,” provide a rich and detailed view of overall consumer engagement and campaign success.
The tipping point of mobile advertising is upon us finally. The audiences are migrating to content via these device platforms at critical scale and faster than any transition we’ve ever seen. The success Fortune 500 brands are seeing when they follow the proven path of delivering the right ad, optimized for devices, to the right person, in the right environment is clear and benchmarked. Mobile is ready to grab its leadership position and the dollars that rightfully go with it.
Jason Young, CEO of Crisp Media, is a 20-year media industry veteran in the digital advertising market in the U.S. Young joined Crisp in December 2011, as part of the company's acquisition of Smart Device Media, a premium mobile ad network, where Young was CEO and founder. You can reach Young at email@example.com.
Jason Young, Crisp Media CEO, Pens Mobile Advice for Publishers: Building a Mobile Platform? Time to Burn the Boats31 Oct 2012 - Jim Selden
Commit to a strategy and team before a pure-play steals your market share.
I recently had the opportunity to attend an Intel conference where blockbuster film producer, executive and bestselling author Peter Guber spoke. In his speech, Peter emphasized the importance in business of being fully committed to an opportunity, and evoked the metaphor of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés’ famous order to “burn the boats.” Upon arriving in Mexico and facing the warriors of the entire Aztec nation, Cortés knew the only viable exit strategy was to move forward—as the alternative would have meant utter failure (climbing back in boats and retreating to safety).
As I think about the opportunities and challenges mobile represents to the media/publishing world, it strikes me that these organizations would do well to follow the same strategy.
According to many sources, mobile platforms (smartphones, tablets) now account for more than 10 percent of media consumption. If you speak with publishers that produce rich content today, traffic to smart device platforms is approaching levels closer to 25 percent. Most of this audience engagement has come with little commitment on the product side to truly exploit the usage shift that is taking place. Publisher monetization on these device platforms is even worse, capturing barely 1 percent of ad spend.
The mistake publishers are making is simply not dedicating the resources and commitment required to effectively optimize these new business opportunities. Publishers continue to manage the emerging platforms as extensions of current print, broadcast or digital businesses. While “mobile specialists” are found embedded within these organizations, there is virtually no commitment to full, standalone teams of content, audience marketing, technology and product specialists solely focused on growing these “new businesses” and effectively cannibalizing the legacy businesses before somebody else does it for them.
A look back at the transition to desktop web illustrates an informative history. Most publishers pursued the same path of managing initial digital efforts as a part of existing business activities and fell hopelessly behind as new brands charged forward with the benefit of focus and clarity on the new market opportunity from a purely digital position.
I worked at one of the only traditional media companies that took a different path. Ziff Davis set up its first interactive business (ZDNet) as its own, standalone business. It had its own executive, content, sales, marketing, technology and product teams. These teams could not fall back onto the safety of market-leading print business. The mission was to succeed online or fail tying. The boats were burned. It was a bold move executed by then-CEO, Eric Hippeau, that let to ZDNet establishing itself as a $100 million business and an early top-ten most-visited property as the Internet media market got rolling.
Ironically, many of the very digital brands that took advantage of the unwillingness of the print market leaders to go all in, are now repeating the same mistake as we transition to mobile. As such, it’s a new crop of mobile pure-plays that have assumed market leadership in key areas of audience footprint and advertising/monetization.
The publishers that have established content brands, audience relationships and advertiser history are positioned to succeed wildly, but only if they burn the boats and put dedicated businesses, people and platforms in place to grab the opportunity. If they don’t, history will surely repeat itself. The opportunity will quickly become a glaring liability as the majority of audiences and advertising dollars shift to mobile in the coming years, and marquee digital media brands die, as did many of the generation of print brands before them, who failed to make this vital transition.
We are proud to announce that Crisp hit two milestones this week. The first was the launch of our first rich media campaign in APAC with Singapore's Health Promotion Board's "Lose to Win" campaign running on Yahoo! properties. And today we passed 1 billion rich media mobile advertising impressions served through Crisp Engage since our self-service platform launched in 2010.
Crisp matches premium, contextually-relevant and highly measurable advertising campaigns to premium media channels across all devices, web browsers, and app platforms, making it easy for agencies and publishers to build, serve, and track mobile rich media campaigns. To learn more about Crisp Engage, visit www.crispmedia.com/content/crisp-engage.
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