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Mobile Advertising: Will Hype Give Way to Real Business in 2008?

Notes from Nokia Mobile Advertising
Thought Leadership Meeting
Mobile Advertising Thought Leadership Meeting
(Nokia, Disney, P&G, Yahoo!, AKQA, Rhythm, and more)

Recent statistics show that internet advertising grew by 42% in the UK in 2007, capturing over 10% of the total display & classified advertising pie*. And there is no slowing in sight. If the 2 billion mobile ads served by AdMob in just under a year are any indication, Mobile Internet could provide another nice slice of the advertising pie for media owners and the mobile industry.

But the industry still has to find concrete answers to many difficult questions before the flood-gates really open and ad creatives and media buyers give mobile a more serious role in the marketing mix.

This made up the core of the discussions during the recent Thought Leadership Meeting on Mobile Advertising, initiated and supported by Nokia Ad Service, and facilitated by the MobiAD News team in London. Top professionals from publishing (Disney, EMAP, Yahoo!), Advertising (AKQA, BMB Agency), Mobile Services (Rhythm New Media), Mobile Operators (BLYK), Brands (P&G), Technology Providers (Nokia) and Authors and Consultants (Future Text, New Media Edge) came together at a half-day round table meeting to debate the trends, opportunities, and the barriers facing the Mobile Advertising Industry today.

Below are some key conclusions plus 10 industry predictions that resulted from the meeting. There are also links to download a more detailed set of meeting notes and to join the discussion on the MobiAD forum. We’ve also included links to a couple of blogs by the people at the meeting.

And, you can download a more complete meeting summary by clicking the Download button below.


Some Key Conclusions from the Meeting:

1. Mobile advertising definitely has the potential to become a big business. Mobile can bring some unique strengths to advertising such as immediacy and personal engagement, and the consumers are ready for it. Because of this, mobile is expected to become an important part of integrated marketing/advertising campaigns. Finally, the potential reach of mobile is huge, and in certain parts of the world mobile is in fact the only means of reaching people.

2. There are several significant barriers that must be overcome before mobile advertising will become a truly mainstream part of advertising. These barriers include technical issues (eg network speeds and diversity of devices), lack of education among the players, lack of standards, and lack of established business models and practices.

3. Mobile operators need to play a pivotal role in getting this industry launched. As of today it is often difficult for the other industry players to work with operators. Operators are demanding too large a piece of the pie, and resist relinquishing more of the revenues to other partners. There are also legacy issues that prevent operators from building will

10 Industry Predictions for 2008
(tell us what you think here)

1. There will be 3 billion mobile subscribers, with 50% of them having data capability. Flat rate data tariffs will become ubiquitous (especially in UK) and the use of mobile internet will exceed the usage of fixed line internet
2. Mobile advertising will move from a primarily “trial/test” mode into a mainstream part of advertising.
3. Large operators will re-think their mobile advertising strategy, or will start to adopt strategies that take into account mobile advertising. Small operators will actually start to implement some new, innovative business models
4. The iPhone will legitimize the mobile web. It will also introduce the agency creative teams to the mobile internet, so they will begin to understand at a personal level what mobile is all about.
5. All major media companies will develop serious WAP portals (which will result in more mobile ad inventory).
6. Clarity will emerge on what is the basic “commodity” ad unit on mobile, and new boutique agencies will emerge to handle “specialist” ad types.
7. Flash will arrive on mobile, and will revolutionize the mobile experience.
8. Someone will crack the “mobile coupon” business.
9. Long tail advertising on mobile will take off, with the infrastructure to support it (eg Google ads for mobile)
10. UGC will be subsidized by advertising.


If you’d like to comment on these predictions, or make a prediction of your own, go to the MobiAD Forum.

Ajit Jaokar (Future Text), and David Cushman (EMAP) were both at the meeting, and have blogged on the event.

* Source: AA’s Quarterly Survey of Advertising Expenditure June 2007 and Advertising Statistics Yearbook 2007, WARC.

[ by Ferhan Cook, Editor, MobiAD News ]

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