Partnering With Mobile Ad Networks
Back in 1999, when Prince’s song was a reality and reality television took up only sixty percent of the market, online start-ups began to discover CPC ad networks. This was an exciting time for the Internet. Money seemed to literally grow on trees(virtual ones anyways.) Flycast, Valueclick, Lycos, Go. These were all hot buzzwords among the new generation of web marketers and advertisers. Just pay for a few clicks and you were well on your way. In short, it was an exciting time to be online.
Flash-forward a decade or so and things have changed. When you start buying nowadays there are a host of new concerns. Marketers have grown leery of the networks and exchanges that aggregate inventory across hundreds of properties. There are so many behavioral networks, video networks, and ad exchanges that are impossible to tell apart. They offer only one thing, cheap inventory. It’s like one giant dollar store. And we all know how high-quality the goods are you get from a dollar store. Even the purported strength of ad networks, direct response marketing, don’t hold up to intense scrutiny. In short, online ad networks offer less bang for your buck than other means of driving customers. What a difference a decade makes.
So. Online ad networks are not worth their weight in e-mail. What about mobile ad networks? They fare quite nicely, actually.
Why is this? Simple really. It’s all about the money. Mobile advertising networks bring much more value to the mobile Web marketplace than their PC-based counterparts bring to the PC Internet. Sure, it’s easier to reach a mass audience on the PC-based Internet than it is via a mobile platform. However, the people you do attract via mobile tend to be worth more. This is because mobile platforms tend to be more of a “closed system.” This means the people you do attract are or less, well, a captive audience. The reach of the carrier decks — mobile providers’ home sites, which are the sole mobile Web experience for many users without high-end handsets –are just too good of an opportunity to pass up for many advertisers. This is with good reason.
Mobile ad networks also offer a host of analytics and measurements that your typical mobile content site does not. The technology of serving ads across many mobile sites offers a great view of consumer usage by handset, operating system, and carrier. For one, AdMob’s research report is a great resource. Check it out. Most other ad networks offer similar services. Not only do they give you a great database as to who is using what and when, they also offer insight into consumer behavior. In short, they have filled a huge void. Advertisers can now measure the success of calls to action, link requests, mass e-mails and just about anything else. In the world of online marketing, measurement is key.
Having said that, mobile ad networks are not without their faults. As they proliferate, the need to be choosy becomes paramount. Look for networks that offer total transparency. Networks should be willing to share a site list so advertisers know where their ads might appear. They should also be willing to share some sense of their inventory shares so clients can understand how much they rely on certain types of sites as a source for ad space. The best ad networks will also advertisers to blacklist sites they don’t want to be featured on. The really best ad networks will report back and tell advertisers when their ads ran. Look for all of these features to maximize your joy(and profit.)
So mobile ad networks are go. This may change in the next ten years, but for now it’s 1999 all over again.
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