Tim Bichara

Mobile Advertising – let’s take some risks

There was a lot of talk last week at the Mobile Roadshow Europe about the state of mobile advertising. We heard the usual points – ‘mobile should be seen as a different medium’, ‘there is no ‘one size fits all’ for digital anymore’ and ‘advertisers should be more creative’ in their approach.

But it’s hard to be creative when you’re still seen as a crumb, in what is still a small piece of the pie. According to the IAB, ad spend on mobile devices will be worth more than 1BN in the UK by 2015, so why is it so hard to convince clients of it’s value?

Is it because advertisers are so unsure of the ROIs that mobile can bring? Digital advertising has invented a smorgasbord of measuring tools to help determine an campaign’s effectiveness, but it seems that the more that campaigns are measured, the less sure the industry becomes about what works and what doesn’t.

Traditional above the line advertising had no way to really measure consumers’ interaction with messages. There were some crude tools, but nothing like what is available to digital marketers today. The only way to really measure a campaign’s effectiveness was on the bottom line and maybe that’s the reason why brands were so willing to take risks. Ultimately each campaign was a punt. A educated punt, but a punt none the less.

Faced with trying to convince sceptical clients today of the benefits of mobile communication, we are expected to present a list of metrics that would make Carol Vorderman scratch her head. We need to justify each pound spent with statistics and response rates. But we all know that the way that consumers are interacting with brands in the mobile space is changing on a monthly basis.

Outstanding ideas and products seldom come from a place of justification and security. Just look at Hollywood for proof. How many remakes of classic films do we need? If brands really want to make the most of mobile advertising, they need to have faith and take some risks.


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