Blanket Approaches

The New York Times recently published an article about mobile advertising which included an interview with a media director from Goodby Silverstein & Partners. The media director actually describes how she tells clients not to bother advertising in mobile. This is a blanket approach and very rarely have I seen it work.

Having just spent the summer working with a great team at one of the most exciting new mobile advertising startups, Adelphic Mobile, I couldn’t help from addressing the NYT piece. Many of the points made are legitimate. Tracking in mobile has its limitations. There is much more supply than there is demand causing prices to depress. But beyond that, there’s not much I agree with from this piece.

Mobile provides dimensions of location and context that are unparalleled compared to desktop, TV or other media experiences. And while the technology has made leaps and bounds in the last few years, it still has a way to go to fully unlock this potential.

I would also back the claim that size matters but so does the degree of engagement. I can be in front of a 52″ TV and completely disregard an ad being aired. I can also be sitting in front of a 17″ external desktop monitor and not register a banner as floating next to my desired content. But when I am on my phone and an ad takes over my full screen, I am fully aware. Or if I’m reading NYT on my iPhone and an iAd rotates in the 320×50 ad unit, it catches my eye.

The point is, it’s all about context. Should a dishwasher manufacturer spend in mobile? Perhaps not in today’s world (but that could change as technology advances). Should a film studio invest in mobile the week of a new release particularly on movie related mobile websites and app? I believe it’d be a missed opportunity not to.

One size doesn’t fit all and a blanket approach is limiting. But given that few other mediums promise timely, targeted, contextual, geo-based ads at scale, I remain bullish on mobile’s future. And in the mean time, I’d suggest to see what fits rather than throw out the entire spring collection.

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