We are in the middle of the dog days of summer: when the mobile industry, from New York to Helsinki, more or less en bloc, exits the office in search of the nearest beach/leisure park/restaurant (insert destination of choice) and sits there for the next couple of weeks; when I scratch around inelegantly compiling nine-ball ducks for the Skulking Loafers cricket team and spend hours engaged in the military-style planning that is required to devise entertainment for four small children during their summer break.
But while most of us are either reclining on sun loungers (or in my case, flailing wildly and unavailingly outside off stump) AdMob have made a rather significant and impressive announcement, namely that they have served 100 billion ads on their network.
This is substantial volume, by anyone’s measure, and should make even those who have been somewhat ambivalent towards mobile as a medium for advertising sit up and take notice.
In 2008, mobile advertising was one of only two media that saw its adspend increase in the UK – the other being the Internet – as fragmenting audience share, allied to recessionary economic conditions, meant that brands were less willing (and able) to maintain existing budgets on traditional distribution channels.
The recession has also resulted in a shift on adspend from above the line (reach-based) to below the line (highly targeted) strategies, a shift which suits mobile, which offers the opportunity for highly detailed analytics and quantifiable user response to advertising, down to the ground.
The upshot is that while mobile advertising growth was certainly adversely affected by the downturn – cost per clickthrough rates fell through the floor in late-2008/early-2009 - the burgeoning amount of rich media content on offer (games, video, music et al) has in turn acted as an incentive for advertisers to dip their toes into the market. And the first speculative, ad hoc adverts are (albeit gradually) transforming into ads run as part of integrated, multimedia campaigns.
Crucial to mobile advertising’s development has been the introduction of campaigns run by major brands such as Coca Cola and Nike: in the very early days of mobile advertising, individuals such as Andrew Bud were sceptical (and rightly so) of the fact that the vast bulk of mobile advertising simply promoted mobile content: that model was simply not sustainable as it provided no external revenues for the mobile industry.
But thanks to the efforts of AdMob and other advertising networks, when the mobile executives return from their beaches and leisure parks, they may find the coffers of their respective companies slightly heavier with advertising revenue than when they left.
Only slightly, because these are still early days for mobile advertising, AdMob’s 100 billion notwithstanding. But then, to borrow a phrase from a well known brand, every little helps…