Publishers and Agencies Responsible for Mobile’s Revenue Gap

To date, mobile advertising hasn’t exactly lived up to its promise and it’s easy to point the finger at brands, but maybe they aren’t to blame.

While people say that brands aren’t investing enough in mobile, the reason is that publishers and agencies aren’t doing enough to make a case for the channel beyond just the same old static banner ads, according to  Brian Colbert, vp of mobile advertising sales for Pandora, and Jill Griffin, svp of innovation and experience design at MediaVest USA.

At Digiday Mobile today, Colbert and Griffin blamed the mobile revenue gap on publishers and agencies.

“As publishers, I feel we have not done a great job convincing advertisers why and how they should be in mobile,” Colbert said. “We need to do more in terms of providing case studies and examples showing what brands could do in mobile.”

From the agency perspective, Griffin admitted that agencies haven’t done as well as they need to in creating experiences that take advantage of both the context of mobile and the native functionalities that smartphones offer.

“[Agencies] should be thinking about the devices and their features, as opposed to shrinking a Web banner for a mobile device,” Griffin said. “I think mobile’s opportunity is to build experiences and building off of other channels. There’s also the opportunity to improve the retail experience.”

Another issue is metrics. With the banner ad comes that online mentality with regards to click-through rates, which Colbert believes aren’t a good metric. A click-through rate tells a very small story, and clickers the majority of the time aren’t people who will move on to buy from you, Colbert said. According to Colbert, the industry needs to set its sights on using mobile for true engagement that goes beyond the click.

The last reason that brands aren’t shoveling the dollars into mobile is they don’t really know whom they are reaching, since there are no cookies on mobile, Colbert said.

“Publisher registration data can take away the mystery on who you are going after on mobile,” Colbert said. “Otherwise, you kind of think you know who they are, but not really.”