Please let me know if you have any problems or new ideas. The Mobile Advert Network is something I want to slowly evolve and refine over time.
One of the problems I continually see is that mobile sites and applications have problems getting noticed. They get users but not enough to make them financially viable. This got me thinking how to leverage existing users to get more users.
In my spare time, as a hobby activity, I have been working on a mobile link exchange. It allows text links to be placed on mobile web sites or within applications. Each request for ads returns two ads. Showing someone else’s ad gets you a credit for displaying ads on yet someone else’s site or application. So, for every view by your end user, you get up to two ads shown on other sites or applications.
I am looking for a few people to try it out. It works on wml, xhtml, iPhone, Symbian, Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile. In fact, it’s possible to swap ads on one platform for ads on another. It’s also possible to target ads by country and network operator.
I’ll post another time on how it was built. I had to think carefully about supporting lots of requests per second as well as serving ads very quickly. I wasn’t able to use CGI (php or perl) nor conventional databases.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in being one of the first people to give it a try, free of charge (the final service will also be free), then please contact me at email@example.com explaining who you are and a bit about your mobile site or application.
There’s a thought provoking article at Online Media Daily on how, in a recent Continental Airlines study, mobile web ads were more effective than in-app ads.
The article nor Continental Airlines explain why this is the case. Maybe people implicitly expect to browse to other sites when using a web browser as opposed to not wanting to leave an App because they are using it for a specific purpose?
Last night’s MoMo London, at Thomson Reuters, was on Monetisation through Advertising. There were presentations by Ray Anderson (Bango), Shan Henderson (Vodafone), Claire Valoti (Mindshare) and Russell Buckley (Admob).
Here are some points I took away from the event…
- From an advertising agency perspective, there are currently too many layers/parties needed to get things done.
- The current high click throughs are similar to what happened on the Internet’s early days and which declined later.
- What happens after the click/coupon etc. is just as important. e.g.. Vendors must know about coupons and clicks must be to compelling content.
- The end result needs to add value for the user.
- Measurement is currently not mature, not standardised nor aggregated or audited.
- Vodafone can now target adverts by age, gender, postcode and handset. Location, session length and behaviour coming soon. Can’t currently slice more otherwise number of people becomes too small to be usable.
- Even for successful campaigns, it’s difficult to get the end clients to reveal the results publicly.
- Admob is currently serving 2.5 billion ads/month.
- The availability of fixed rate data pricing reflects (mobile web) usage by country.
- Search position is complex to comprehend as it depends on many factors including network operator tweaks – need to get many parties to talk to ensure your adverts (in search) end up being shown.
I came away thinking that much of what was said was related to serving adverts in (mobile) web pages. I can’t help but think there might be too much emphasis on getting something that’s working on the ‘normal’ Internet, working on mobile web browsers that inherently provide a poor/slow user experience.
Maybe we should be starting to think differently. With the introduction of new technologies such as widgets and Android, in the future we might be more inclined to think about more tightly embedded advertisements that play on key uses of the phone. Some companies are already doing this on todays platforms, for example MyScreen Mobile who I am doing some work for at the moment.
Also, it’s sometimes possible to pre-select consumers rather than rely on filtering all users by criteria that are difficult to measure. For example, offering an application or service via just one network operator might ensure the phone has the correct settings/facilities to provide for something extra special ‘after the click’. Offering and promoting a service only within a defined geographic area or town might actually be more important to an advertiser than say their phone type, age or gender. The great thing about mobile is that a fraction of the very large market is still a large number.
Finally, at the other end of the scale, I think there’s still much more mileage left in coupons and SMS text based promotions that work well on today’s rather than tomorrow’s phones.