So if the mobile ad market is going to look a lot like search marketing, what can we learn from Google? Hint: It's a lot like throwing a good party.
Have you ever thrown a really, really great house party? You know, the really legendary kind of party mentioned by your friends years later? If it was really successful everyone might not remember exactly every detail (ahem!), but they just know they had a good time.
From a marketing perspective, mobile advertising seems like it might be turning into the next big party. With sales of smart phones booming and iPhones becoming ubiquitous enough that they've lost their hip cache (truly a mark of mass acceptance when it comes to technology), opportunities for advertisers are exploding. Bigger screens, Internet access, and (perhaps most importantly) location-awareness capabilities are making the dream of effective mobile advertising a reality. In fact, the Kelsey Group recently predicted that the mobile ad market is set to jump from $160 million in 2008 to as much as $3.1 billion in 2013. While those numbers are open to debate (like any prediction), anyone who looks around in a public place with an eye toward people whipping out their mobiles can't help but believe that we're in for some big changes.
What kinds of mobile advertisements will work? There have been plenty of proposed models and experiments. Anyone who's encountered some of those ads on our smart phones tend to dislike them, especially display ads that get in the way of what we're doing. What's going to work?
Probably the best advice I've come across is in this TechCrunch article that summarizes a recent analyst report from Citigroup's Mark Mahaney. Bottom line? Effective mobile advertising is going to be about search.
It only makes sense. When people are on the go and have devices that let them pull up information on where to eat, play, or shop, they're going to use those devices. Sure, they're still going to use their phones to actually talk once in a while or send some messages. In the past few years, the biggest innovation is the ability to access information about just about anything no matter where you are.
What does this have to do with parties? From an advertising and revenue standpoint, the biggest party on the Internet is Google. It dominates the ad market because it understands that advertising doesn't have to be about jumping in people's faces and interrupting them with marketing messages. Google realizes that by tapping into the stream of consumer behavior that already existed -- wanting to find information on the Web -- and turning advertising into a benefit to consumers, it could make loads of money while providing a high-value service to advertisers.
So if the mobile ad market is going to look a lot like search, what can we learn from Google? Surprisingly, most of the best lessons from Google are the same lessons learned by anyone who has ever thrown a good party. Here are 11 lessons:
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Sean Carton has recently been appointed to develop the Center for Digital Communication, Commerce, and Culture at the University of Baltimore and is chief creative officer at idfive in Baltimore. He was formerly the dean of Philadelphia University's School of Design + Media and chief experience officer at Carton Donofrio Partners, Inc.
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