The Mobile Challenge

This week the advertising world takes over Manhattan for Advertising Week. Digiday editors are moderating several sessions during the week. We will also cover the highlights, lowlights and key personalities. Our coverage  is made possible by Specific Media.

It might not be the Year of Mobile, but it’s certainly the hot topic at Advertising Week.

The world is clearly shifting from the desktop era to the age of mobile. That brings with it a raft of challenges, not least when it comes to the place mobile advertising holds. Digiday editors asked various leaders for their take on the question, “What is the biggest challenge facing mobile advertising?”

  • Marc Speichert, CMO, L’Oreal
    Mobile is huge for us. We know it’s an opportunity. But the biggest challenge right now is figuring out how mobile is different than desktop. We are trying to figure out how we should be capitalizing on the people who are searching for stuff on mobile.
  • Shelly Lazarus, Chairman Emeritus, Ogilvy & Mather,
    The biggest challenge is figuring out how to use the medium for what it’s worth. With mobile you can know where people are. If all we do is just make print ads smaller for mobile screens, then shame on us.
  • Nick Blunden, global digital publisher, The Economist
    We’ve got to get everyone talking the same language. So owners like me will say, “Look at this wonderful opportunity,” but our clients say, “Well, we measure stuff in this way.” And agencies say, “We don’t have the money or resources to be able to do desktop, mobile, print.” Collectively, we have to work together to get on the same page to agree what it is we’re selling, what it is the client is buying, and how we measure that. And that is not an impossible task. But for me, it’s creating a shared vocabulary so that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Larry Kramer, Publisher, USA Today
    It’s the same challenge we have as mobile publishers: telling a story in a new medium, how much of each form of media do you use — how much video, how much text? When does video work, when does interactivity work, when does text work, how much is the consumer willing to take on it? It’s an entirely new medium, and it’s being redefined as we talk.
  • Duff Stewart, CEO, GSD&M
    Maybe mobile is not the best place to deliver ads. Think about mobile as a utilitarian function. If we serve something up to the consumer – 50 to 60 percent of the population has a smartphone — that is much more about what do I do in my life. Think about the mobile device as your remote control for the world around you. I don’t want anything that will not be useful, that will overtake my world and not be useful. Banners aren’t a good idea, but if I’m travel company, for example, and I create an app that is beneficial to the customer, that seems to create the opportunity for connection, engagement, and provides the chance to build a relationship — and maybe loyalty — with the customer.
  • Tim Spengler, CEO, Magna Global
    We all walk around with these devices, and revenue isn’t there. We apply models from other worlds, and it’s not working. We don’t know what the right model is, and the challenge is that it’s like an ecosystem of many different interactions: it’s entertainment, social. We try to put it into a box. The best test for a creative is to say, “Will this motivate you as a user?”