The mobile internet is here, be ready

More and more consumers are using mobile internet but total global ad revenue is equivalent only to less than current TV spend in the UK.

That seems like a baffling contradiction but the data couldn’t be clearer:

IAB figures for Europe show that half of the 430m people in Europe access the internet from more than one device.

GroupM statistics for China show that while 380m people access the internet via a computer, 395m do so via their mobile.

Similarly, Mary Meeker – the doyenne of digital analysts on Wall Street – recently highlighted the fact that in May this year mobile internet overtook desktop internet to become the largest generator of internet traffic in India.
And yet despite this growing usage, the latest Gartner numbers show mobile ad spend at just $3.5bn globally, although the IAB is a tad more optimistic at $5.3bn.

To catch up with consumer behaviour, brands, agencies and media owners need to take rapid action in three key areas:

Creativity: mobile internet isn’t just about mobiles but also tablets. Brands need messages that match the different consumption contexts of this new opportunity. Messages will need to be closer to out of home creative than TV or print, as there is limited time and space for the more complex messages.

Ultimately, mobile communications will be as much about CRM as it is about advertising.

Partnerships: mobiles and tablets have much more limited inventory – partly thanks to small screen size – than desktop internet. It will be a sellers’ market for those sites that can offer a mass market reach and brands need to ensure they have access. Creating premium partnerships now will help them avoid massive inflation.

New routes to market: the rise of mobile internet creates a chance for media owners to monetize their content. Having created the expectation that content will be free on the desktop internet, they won’t want to make the same mistake again. However, they also need to avoid making new mistakes as well. Media owners can’t leave their revenue solely in the hands of Apple and iTunes, history shows that such gatekeepers usually keep the bulk of the revenue.

  • Simon Davies

    Great piece, apart from the assertion in the final paragraph; “Having created the expectation that content will be free on the desktop internet, they won’t want to make the same mistake again.” It’s only a mistake if you haven’t worked out an alternative way to monetize the content or the audience it attracts. 

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