Dirty Little Secret #1: Mobile is all family friendly and brand safe.
There are some 'bad neighborhoods' in mobile, especially in-app advertising. Apps that have user generated content and / or social features mixed in can lead to some awkward ad placements. Working with an ad partner who offers transparency and mobile site and app lists is the only way to combat this. 'Blind ads' that say it's going to be 'OK' should never be good enough.
Dirty Little Secret #2: Rich Media campaigns can be rushed by agencies and launch the same day.
Sorry, rich media (including expandable ads) need time for testing and compliance review with multiple exchange and publisher partners. Rich media on mobile is awesome, but this space is not like the desktop with a few browsers that are well established - think about the fragmented device landscape on Android, various OS versions in iOS, multiple SDKs, etc.
Dirty Little Secret #3: User acquisition for apps - you get exactly what you pay for.
A large percentage of mobile ad budgets focus on advertising for app downloads. App developers and their agencies assume that all vendors in the space have similar inventory and approaches, which is a big mistake. If you don't demand to understand where your ads are running and what percentage of the installs are coming from "incentivized" media you are in trouble. Again transparency is the key and mixing in incentivization is unacceptable in the performance space on the desktop - so why is it blindly accepted in mobile? Developers and agencies will learn this year that ask the right questions to prevent this.
Don't worry it's not all scary out there! I believe in mobile advertising and that it will scale across all verticals in 2013, but all the players need to have honest conversations and open the 'kimono' with full transparency. There are a lot of really strong and unique attributes of mobile to focus on in 2013:
- Hyperlocal - geo targeted campaigns and supply are scaling and exceeding client expectations.
- Share of voice - in-app advertising typically features one ad unit at a time (versus the crowded and diluted desktop experience).
- Audience buying - 2013 is the year it comes to mobile at scale (and we can forget about those pesky cookies).
- Fragmentation of device ids has calmed down - Apple did a great job with IFA / IDFA (id for advertising) vs the old UDID confusion.
- Mobile privacy - TRUSTe is a great step and partner for the industry, as the mobile ad industry needs to be proactive.
- Mobile video - especially pre-roll will be hot in 2013 (and easier to buy).
If agencies, direct advertisers, and app developers can ask the tough questions of their mobile ad vendors and technology partners mobile will live up to its promise in 2013 (and no I will not call it 'the year of mobile' - that's so 2012!).