Mobile’s Time Has Come

November 12, 2012

By Bill Duggan

For the first time ever, in 2012 mobile ad spending will be higher in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.  Japan, a market where mobile advertising is much more mature, had previously enjoyed that distinction.  With the proliferation of smart phones, the growth of mobile has reached an inflection point. “Mobility is going to be a massive game changer and it will change the entire retail industry,” said Stephen Quinn, CMO, Wal-Mart Stores, at the recent ANA Masters of Marketing Conference.

Currently, about 1% of U.S. ad budgets are allocated to mobile, despite the fact that time spent with mobile represents a much bigger percentage of the media consumption pie.  I’ve heard as much as 23%.  The Mobile Marketing Association commissioned research that recommends an average of 7% of total ad spending be devoted to mobile marketing.  Furthermore, the study recommends that, over the next four years, marketers should increase their investment in mobile to approximately 10%.

Meanwhile, the shifting population is good news for the mobile industry as multicultural consumers, particularly Hispanics, are heavy users of mobile.  In ANA’s recently released survey/report titled, Multicultural Marketing and Newer Media Survey, mobile was identified as the fastest growing medium to reach multicultural consumers.

But the industry still has challenges, including the need to raise its profile among marketers and agencies in order to increase its share of spending.  Also, some in the industry note the lack of standardized analytics and ad formats as a barrier to higher levels of mobile ad spending.  And a recent report from Nielsen cites “text ads on mobile phones” as the most untrustworthy advertising platform with a 71% “Don’t Trust Much/At All” score. 

But the future for mobile is very bright … perhaps shining brighter than any other medium.  Marketers are encouraged to get active in mobile now – experiment, try some things.  I hope to see you at the ANA Mobile Marketing Conference on November 14 in NYC.

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