5Qs: The Weather Channel’s Cameron Clayton

Cameron Clayton is the svp of product at The Weather Channel, a board member at the Mobile Marketing Association and co-chair of Mobile for the Internet Advertising Bureau. He spoke to DIGIDAY about the improvement in mobile rich media, what iAds has done for the space and what’s holding back mobile ad spending.
What’s the biggest challenge selling mobile inventory for a publisher?
The biggest challenge we have is just continuing to get the word out about the amount of scale we have available to deploy. When you stack us up scale-wise against even the mobile ad networks, we’re going to be in the top five mobile ad networks. We have over 1.3 billion impressions a month available on mobile for advertisers. I think getting that message out to the ad community that we’re also a stand-alone publisher, a place to get massive reach and a really high quality environment, is probably our single biggest challenge.
What does the industry need to address to make mobile ad spending take off?
We need to make it much easier to buy and execute mobile campaigns. I still hear consistently from media buyers and agencies, and this is an illustrated example but, to spend $10 million on a cross-platform campaign it takes one phone call to spend $7 million on TV. They make another phone call, do a little bit more work with specific media publishers and they can spend another $2.5 million online. Then they spend their money on mobile. It’s reasonably easy to get the insertion orders out, just one or two calls. But to actually execute those campaigns across three different platforms requires 70 percent of the execution time to be spent on mobile, even though it was 25 percent of the campaign. The only way we will grow the pie is to make it easier for advertisers to spend in mobile. There’s no question that the eyeballs are there, and they continue to grow. At the end of the day, the media business is about being where the people are, and the people are on mobile. There’s a time lag there and the hurdle today is that it’s really hard to execute on mobile, so we as an industry need to make that easier, and that solution revolves around standardization around buys and executions of the buys. We’re very actively involved in trying to standardize the mobile landscape.
What’s your take on the state of mobile creative? Has iAds changed much?
I think iAds has changed perceptions for CMOs and CEOs for mobile being a real ad medium. I think creative for mobile hasn’t changed significantly with iAds although there’s no question that there has been a catalyst that has improved the quality. The thing that they’ve really done, because of their scale, is that they’ve become a de-facto standardization mechanism. These are the sizes and the types of permissions you need to have these types of interactions that have really helped to standardize the industry and accelerate the growth of the market. They certainly aren’t any more creative than agencies, clients, other rich media partners, or even other ad networks. They just have enough scale to make it happen in a PR way.
With The Weather Channel iPhone serving iAds, are brands who are running ads through iAds reaching out to you directly to advertise?
Oh yeah. For the most part the advertisers are bringing similar creative but executing it in a different way. iAd tools are just for iAds, but it’s the same message, same tools, same imagery, just deployed slightly differently.
Does the outsize role Apple plays in mobile concern you as a publisher?
Can I plead the fifth? I think Apple is a fantastic partner of ours and they’re a big percentage of our business so I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little concerned. Of all the major partners that we’ve worked with, they’re acutely aware of their position and they’ve been very reasonable to work with whenever we’ve had concerns about their scale and influence. I really can’t complain at all.
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