Despite causing a splash in April by saying most mobile advertising "sucks," Steve Jobs now is throwing his support behind the medium, claiming that 48 percent of mobile ad spending in the U.S. during the second half of the year will go to Apple's iAd system.
As with any emerging marketing platform, there is absolutely room for learning, innovation, and improvement, which iAd certainly represents, but it's important to note the strength of the mobile advertising market even before iAd's introduction.
According to Dynamic Logic's normative data, the average mobile campaign has a positive impact on all branding metrics and outperforms the average online campaign. For example (and bearing in mind that these are different media and best used to complement one another), Dynamic Logic data show the average increase in purchase intent for mobile ads is five times that of online. And, while novelty might be at play, mobile ads still tend to outperform what was seen from online banner ads in their early days. In addition, mobile advertising works harder at getting people's attention and driving purchase intent than online video did in its early days.
While it is clear that mobile advertising to date has fallen short of its potential, the truth is that mobile done right really works -- with or without iAd. Case in point, when New Line Cinema released "The Golden Compass," it undertook a mobile campaign that resulted in a 19.3 percent increase in awareness of the film and a 9.5 percent increase in interest in seeing the film.
Consider these other mobile fun facts:
- Mobile tends to perform slightly better at generating brand and campaign awareness among females, but better at communicating specific messages to males.
- The average mobile campaign positively impacts purchase intent regardless of household income.
- Ads tend to perform particularly well among heavier mobile internet users on ad awareness and persuasion metrics, which may be a function of frequency of exposure.
- Financial services campaigns are especially effective at driving message association, while mobile works better at building brand awareness for CPG brands.
The success of mobile advertising can be attributed to a number of factors. For one, mobile is a new, uncluttered medium with higher user engagement and better targeting. Also, the simplicity (single-frame, single-messaging creatives) and uniformity (simple ad formats, automatic optimization to screen size) of the mobile display advertising landscape allows for higher user tolerance and, therefore, higher impact.
While still in its infancy, the initial branding impact and potential of mobile advertising observed through the campaigns Dynamic Logic has tested suggest it's a great time for marketers to bring dollars to the medium, especially while CPMs are low. And, with the advent of iAd and with other pioneers like Foursquare providing unique location-based mobile advertising solutions, the mobile marketplace is on track to evolve and surpass other media from an ad-effectiveness perspective. The spectacular returns advertisers are already seeing are begetting more advertising dollars for mobile, even before the introduction of iAd.
If Jobs' prediction is correct, the iAd will move the mobile advertising industry forward by leaps and bounds, supported by the $60 million investment in iAd by brands like Nissan, Citi, Unilever, AT&T, Chanel, GE, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico, Campbell's, Sears, JC Penney, Target, Best Buy, DirectTV, TBS, and Disney, according to Jobs.
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