What holds back the mobile ad market?

All In One Media's, Business Development Director, Tatiana Filimonova writes about what holds back the mobile ad market and how we can get over these hills?

Tatiana Filimonova

VR headsets, Google glasses and more wearables than ever migrate from conference to exhibition and fill the visitors with fascination. The media are overloaded with forecasts by marketing experts that prophecy VR ads, pinpointed personal targeting (remember the “Google Pizza” joke?) and data-driven native ad formats. If the future is (almost) here, let us open an app and… wait, there are no VR ads, no personal targeting (“dog hairdresser in your neighborhood”, seriously?) and hardly any rich media formats. What you will most probably see is little standard banners in the top or in the bottom of the screen. So why is the future coming so slowly, if experts say it is already on its way?

Integrated technologies need integrated markets

Imagine you want to launch an integrated digital campaign. What services will you need? Creative production, media planning, ad networks for mobile, desktop and – perhaps – for connected TV and wearables. Besides, you will probably be eager to measure your campaign performance, and for this you will use some third-party tracker. How many companies – and business partners – were these? Five, six, seven? There are only a few companies on the market that offer full-service solutions for digital marketers. In our example, we did not take in account partners and contractors around the globe. Digital production is expensive in Europe, so agencies may forward your task to designers and developers in India, for example. This all takes time, money and management skills. Why not offer more digital full-service? We’ll never know.

Cutting-edge ad formats require corresponding platforms

If you want to create and deliver new ad formats, you will obviously need to upgrade your platform and your SDK. In Europe, technology is expensive. Like – very expensive. Besides, the development of a new SDK requires a lot of time – often more than a year. Think of trade-union relations and other formalities, and you will see that you have no other choice than to invest large resources in this technology. Will it pay off? And if, when? Above all, why all this stress if advertisers are happy with standard CPC banners? Sounds logically. Ad networks have to adapt their platforms to take up the new technological trends. Unless they are ready to invest heavily in modernisation projects, the European market will not see any of the brand-new VR formats.

Brands are slowly reinventing their strategies

After the shift from TV to digital comes the shift to mobile. As we know, technology develops faster than people adapt it. Brands continue placing the same videos on TV, digital and ads under their own momentum. Thereby, mobile offers far more opportunities for audience engagement: you can combine video ads with call-to-action buttons, landing pages and even hardware features of the device. A TV or laptop cannot vibrate when you are showing the user a car ad. A mobile device can. Besides, a mobile ad can involve the hardware features of devices, such as photo camera or gyroscope and it can guide you to the nearest brick-and-mortar store using geo location. Quite much arguments pro mobile-first development.

Will the market change?

Of course, it will. It is changing already. To achieve the bright future that experts are seeing as a light year-away, the industry must bravely face serious changes. Ad networks will either adapt to new realities and formats or leave the market sooner or later. Besides, the current market leaves a lot of space for those who are willing to enter it with integrated solutions and state-of-the-art technologies. It won’t take long until new players will change the whole market structure with their innovative formats for virtual reality, wearables and internet of things.

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