30 billion mobile advertisements – that’s how many mobile ads RingRing Media believes are delivered globally to mobiles each month, in terms of unique page impressions. That’s an estimate, of course, but as the biggest global purchaser [any arguments about this?] of mobile media at US$750,000 per month and rising, RingRing is going to have a better idea than anyone else. See this excellent primer on mobile media buying for more information.
And it’s growing fast. It’s only fairly recently that RingRing have revised its estimate from 20 billion to 30 billion a month. Now that should get the attention of each and every brand marketer.
Much of the credit for this growth goes to mobile advertising networks. These include AdMob, BuzzCity, mKhoj and a host of others which do an invaluable job of placing advertisements – for all sorts of companies’ goods and services – on a vast spread of mobile Websites. This means brand X doesn’t have to buy space on publisher A’s site, then B’s site, then C’s site. It’s easy, cheap and effective – a compelling proposition for brands in times of recession.
The problem is that most ad networks are blind. This means brand X doesn’t know where the ads will appear, it may be publisher A, B, C, but also could be D, E, F ad infinitum. That means that the ad isn’t aimed at the target demographic, or geography even, nor can brand X be sure that the ad isn’t sitting alongside inappropriate material.
This is a concern for big brands that need to protect their brand identity, confirms RingRing.
The price of advertising on mobile networks (online also) has been falling steadily – with cost-per-click reportedly as low as US 1 cent. [See mobile media guide.] Why? This could be down to increased competition and/or indicates that advertisers are re-evaluating the worth of untargeted ad networks.
Does it matter? That depends who you are. As long as ad networks continue to grow, taking on more publishers and advertisers, this price devaluation shouldn’t really affect their (allegedly healthy) margins. Publishers, on the other hand, receive less from ad networks for their real estate as prices drop, which is causing concern in that fraternity.
“Major publishers like the Associated Press are wary of these networks. We are in the process of evaluating our third-party relationships – which ones make sense and which ones don't. AP Mobile gets significantly better results with our direct-sales efforts,” points out Jeffrey Litvack, general manager for mobile, Associated Press.
“AP finds that working more closely with advertisers and agencies to create compelling, engaging mobile experiences is more rewarding for both sides. Every month the scale and distribution grows dramatically as AP Mobile becomes one of the largest news destinations on the mobile Web with the ability to hyper target by both demographic and location.”
NB: Now don’t take this the wrong way. Nobody means devalue the critical role played by advertising networks on the mobile Web. There’s a good reason that AdMob and friends have shown such stunning growth [and why AdMob founder Omar Hamoui is one of The Top Ten mobiThinkers 2009]. As pointed out by RingRing (which buys half of its mobile media through ad networks):
Ad networks will continue to play a major role in the mobile Web. While bigger brands and publishers can afford to explore alternatives, for most, ad networks are the best – maybe only – option. But these networks have a choice: is the future quantity or quality? It’s clear from ad networks like Quattro Wireless that better targeting is not only achievable, but is also an attractive proposition to both advertisers and publishers. To what extent have/will other networks follow suit?
Can you help mobiThinking build up a picture of what the top mobile ad networks offer advertisers in terms of reach, geographical coverage and targeting? Comment below or email editor (at) mobiThinking.com.
** mobiThinking would like to thank Matt Radford for including this blog in the latest Carnival of the Mobilists. For the uninitiated, the Carnival of the Mobilists is a weekly roundup of the very best in mobile and wireless blogs. Each week the Carnival is written by a different writer, so is constantly moving from one mobile blog to another. **