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Is there a place for mobile ads?

Susie Riley's picture
Susie Riley
April 1, 2016

Recently, I blogged about ad blocking and the various steps operators are taking to address this phenomenon. Some operators have opted to monetize by actually blocking the ads themselves. In some cases, operators are asking consumers to pay up to block ads for them, and then also asking advertisers to pay up to be 'let in.' In his article, 'Mobile ads: Will advertising fund cheap mobile phone deals?' Alexander Sword at Computer Business Review compares and contrasts the different approaches operators are taking and raises the question of whether advertising can truly offset the cost of mobile data connectivity through sponsorship.

The approach marketers take with mobile has to be fundamentally different than it is on other mediums.  Simply putting banners and ads ahead of content consumers want to see degrades their experience - whether by impacting the time it takes to access the content they really want, or eating up their data plan which ultimately impacts their pockets.

Marketers have to make the mobile experience an engaging one for users, and somehow reward users for their engagement. The mobile device is a personal one - and pushing ads to them without some form of reciprocity may be in the long run detrimental to their brand. If ads can be engaging and rewarding, users are less likely to opt into ad blocking. And if users can be rewarded with mobile data, then it's a win-win for all. The reality is, there isn't enough dollars in mobile marketing to fund all of users' data plans, but there could be enough to have a meaningful impact on a large number of users. The advantage we have today over the prior attempts to fund users mobile data is the proliferation of the smartphone, and the vast sums of money going into mobile marketing. Mobile advertising dollars are not limited to just brands - a big chunk of it is coming from the millions of app developers that are vying for users. Back in 2007, mobile advertising practically didn't exist, now we're looking at a $100B market. They say timing is everything...

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