RWW Mobile Summit in Mountain View, California. The challenge was proposed to brainstorm possible markets for mobile that are not being served, or served well. In the small group discussion, we all agreed that location-based advertisements, for the most part, have not been able to break through into higher levels of success. So what lies in the way of a truly successful mobile location-based ad platform?A great discussion about opportunities for mobile startups kicked off in the first session of today's
It's obvious that small businesses would love to be able to provide customers with deals right on their mobile phones, but the hurdles for startups are in other areas. Actually building an advertising platform from the ground up is a very difficult process, and companies that have considered partnerships with newspapers may not be successful either. As one attendee pointed out, it is very difficult to bring legacy media corporations around to new digital campaigns. I can attest from personal experience that things can move very slowly in the media industry.
A startup I learned about while in Boulder this week, DuckDuckDeal, is taking a "built from the ground up" approach to the localized ad sector. They are starting very small by limiting their minimum viable product to businesses in Boulder. As I mentioned earlier this week, Boulder is the perfect place for such a venture, because the small community is littered with mom and pop businesses that are more than willing to lend a hand to the local startups.
Another speed-bump in the way of breakout mobile ad success is the task of figuring out how to get the users to actively engage with the platform. This is where the debate between push and pull comes in. Pushing advertisements based on location, a lot like the ads seen in futuristic movies like Minority Report, can become an annoyance and quickly ignored. Summit attendees seem to be in agreement that the user should pull the ads on their own via a check-in on a service like Foursquare, or by manually browsing a specific advertising application.
How can startups overcome these obstacles? Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to catch the live stream of the Mobile Summit right now!