"Mobile, unlike its desktop predecessor, is truly global," AdTruth's Lamberti says. "Gone are the days of internet access for only the first-world privileged. Any brand or digital media company that wants a future has to build around the mobile global opportunity now."
There are 5 billion mobile phones in the world, about one-fifth of which are smartphones. Needless to say, not all smartphone users live in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. ranks sixth on the list of countries with the highest smartphone penetration, behind Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Spain.
Although lots of people speak English, it's not the predominant language in many countries, including South Korea and Japan, which account for a substantial chunk of mobile ad spend. However, many companies run all of their mobile ads in English, even in these countries. Why pay for advertising that your audience won't be able to -- or want to -- read? It's worth the investment to have your ads translated into other languages and consider country-specific advertising that will resonate with different cultures.
Location-based mobile advertising, while not perfect, has made it easier than ever to know where mobile users are geographically. Understanding how to speak to them is not much of a leap from there.
The global nature of mobile is changing the economics of the platform itself, Lamberti says. "Strategy and creative will become more valuable for brands in this complex global system, including the widespread use of social media, but media buying itself will become highly automated and much easier at scale globally," he said.
If you're not thinking internationally with your mobile advertising strategy, you're not only behind the game, but you're also missing out on a large chunk of the mobile audience -- and the potentially huge financial rewards that go along with it.