Mobile advertising is no longer in it’s infancy, and let’s take a minute to give thanks for that. More consideration is going into the overall experience of the consumer, ads are no longer always unavoidable, they don’t constantly whisk you away without permission to another page and the creative is no longer universally terrible.


All of which had to happen frankly, because the consumer, embattled by the shoddy ads, was beginning to turn en masse to ad blockers on their mobiles just as they had on their home computers.


The industry had to step up and make the contract between brand, media and consumer a multilateral negotiation. Simply bombarding the consumer with media that lacked any kind of nuance, surprise surprise, just antagonised them. Way back in 2006 Seth Godin had it right when he laid out his infamous Permission Marketing tenets: “…treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.” Mobile advertising, until recently, emphatically did not treat people with respect.


There are a few reasons why the format is getting it’s act together, but perhaps most important is the ‘logged in’ world we often now inhabit. From Google to Facebook, the media owners know more about us than before and are far better at reaching the right audience with the right content. We can track and measure across devices. Meanwhile, the consumer being logged on also gives the advertiser the opportunity to use better creative than they previously would have: the whole spectrum of ad units, from full screen video down, are intelligently sized, located and targeted. They allow us to create ads that are good looking and non-intrusive.


The take home from this is that advertisers can concentrate on quality, rather than quantity, a fact indicated by Facebook’s 4th quarter figures from last year. Mobile Ads Generated 80% of their $5.6 Billion Ad Revenue, yet this is despite them selling fewer ads. They are simply selling for more because they work better and we, the advertisers, trust them more.


Of course this isn’t the end of the story. Mobile ads definitely aren’t perfect, and smaller screens will always be a challenge to work with, but the potential gains to made are huge. The more programmatic we get as an industry (to give just one example), the better we’ll be able to dissolve lines between devices and focus squarely on the consumer.


By Oliver Brown