Advertising Week

7 Big Challenges That Threaten Mobile Advertising's Meteoric Growth

Plenty of hurdles before it can rule the industry

Advertisers want to zero in on the mobile-focused consumer.

Yesterday, we provided an in-depth look at how mobile could become the premiere advertising channel. But there's obviously plenty of work to be done.

So we asked industry players: What is mobile's big challenge going forward?

Here are the seven most-intriguing responses we gathered.

1. Richard Guest, president, U.S. operations at Tribal Worldwide: "The truth? Embarrassingly poor creative ad formats. Shrinking the banner ad to fit on a phone screen is neither going to help gain a consumer's attention nor excite marketers."

2. "If mobile ad formats don't evolve and improve, mobile advertising will be relegated to the margins—used only for direct response and lead generation," said Eric Bader, RadiumOne CMO. "What's missing, and represents a disadvantage for brand advertisers, are the formats to deliver emotion and warmth. Mobile ad formats are still leaning toward direct response due to the format limitations, but also need to be the best way to communicate brand values—the emotional and the rational—in order to become the lead advertising channel."

3. The shift from banners to video needs to happen but won't occur overnight, suggested Guillaume Lelait, general manager of digital marketing company Fetch. "Brand marketers realize that display ads, especially the small banners, the 300 x 50 pixels, are probably not the best format," he said. "So they believe that video is a much more important format, while native and in-stream ads like Facebook [can be] very effective."

4. David Hewitt, vp, mobile practice lead at SapientNitro, said: "The mobile space is more industry based and less relationship focused. In many cases, it still operates with a 'push mentality' where consumers are considered wading around like ducks for a piece of bread."

5. "If there might be any downfall to mobile advertising, it would be consumer indifference," contended Bob Dorfman, Baker Street Advertising creative director. "Today's digital consumer is smarter and wiser to advertising and knows when they're being jobbed. As mobile ad technology gets more sophisticated in reaching prospects, marketers will need to offer advertising that's relevant, honest, entertaining and unobtrusive."

6. "With increased brand spending will come demands from advertisers for integrated, end-to-end solutions that make large-scale buying easy and provide detailed performance metrics. In addition, the agencies who control the bulk of large brand spending will want to make their advertising purchases in familiar ways, and that means buying audiences—not networks, publishers or clicks," said Craig Palli, Fiksu's chief strategy officer.

7. Mike Schneider, vp of marketing for Skyhook Wireless, said: "The No. 1 problem is ineffective ad targeting. Now, users can opt-in to [personalization] based on in-app behavior, social media and location. Ad-tech solves the problem by using the gift of this data to make ads feel more like content so brands, publishers, platforms and consumers all win."

***This is Part II of a series of mobile-focused articles for Advertising Week. Check back tomorrow to read whether or not marketers believe tablets are part of the mobile category (this topic is more controversial than you'd guess).

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