What is up with Mobile Advertising?

16 Sep

I’ve been intrigued by the potential of Mobile Advertising since 1999. Back then grand articles were written on websites, in books, and magazines of how a grand revolution in advertising is upon us and that it will shake the very foundation that makes up marketing. Well, here we are 10 years later and not too much has changed. Do we receive coupons from Dunkin’ donuts as we walk by them on our phones? No. Do we get special offers from Target when we enter the store on our cell phones? No.

Then, where are we?

A story that I read today got me thinking. According to this story on AdvertisingAge.com from September 15th, the mobile apps which constitute the majority of the mobile marketing channel are “just an appetizer.” As the author puts is: “In grand historical terms, this whole mobile app thing is only now climbing out of the primordial ooze.” Well, Mr. Kevin Maney I hate to tell you but we’ve been in this state of climbing out of the ooze for at least a decade now. When will we finally move on to the next step?

I know some people will say that text message advertising is doing well, but I must point out that it is nowhere near its potential and I’m sure that it never will reach it as far as advertising goes.

While the iPhone, and in particular the app store, have moved us ahead by leaps and bounds in terms of branded communications and marketing on mobile devices, everything is still all over the place. Where would Video tapes be if both VHS and BETA survived until now? Or for that matter next gen DVD if the battle between BluRay and HD-DVD was still going on?

While competition does drive innovation, standardization can create a more focused effort with ultimately greater results. As much as people here in America lament the “big brother” approach of European or Asian economies, being light-years ahead in terms of cell phones, cell phone service, and technology in general does paint a picture.

Now back to the point by the AdAge article that we are clawing our way out of the “primordial ooze” in terms of mobile apps. Are these mobile apps he future of marketing communications to consumers on cell phones?  Apple showed a picture at its most recent iPod event that showed the superiority of its iPod touch – essentially a mobile phone without cell service – over current tablets or net books on the market.

So, does the future of mobile, mobile apps, and ergo mobile advertising in essence lie with smaller computer that happen to be phones as well (e.g. the iPhone)? That is something that only time will tell, because as Master Yoda says “The future, always in motion it is.” But, if I had to put my money on it right now, I’d say that smart phones will become more and more like small computers. And the billion dollar question will be to find out how to spam people with ads on there, just like advertisers have on any other channel known to man, is the future.

One final thought: Is the reason that mobile advertising is not catching on that a moblie phone is seen as the last “sacred” advertising-free sanctity by people?

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