Home Open Mobile Summit: Debating iAd and the Accidental Click

Open Mobile Summit: Debating iAd and the Accidental Click

Who will control mobile advertising – Apple, Google an assortment of small time players, each with their own slivers of the market? How should ads be targeted? What new advertising trends are we seeing now?

These topics are more were discussed this afternoon at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco by top executives from mobile ad firms and Jason Spero, Director of Google Mobile.

?Joining Spero were panelists Michael Chang, CEO of Greystripe, Gene Keenan, VP Isobar, Justin Siegal CEO of Mocospace and Joel Hughes, CEO of Umber Systems. The panel was moderated by Mobile Marketing Association’s Managing Director, Michael Becker.

iAd: Too Narrowly Targeted?

Apple’s iAd was under discussion today. The idea behind iAd is to target brand advertisers with rich media and interactive ads. The net effect for the industry is “growing the pot,” said Chang of Greystripe, in describing iAd’s impact on mobile advertising. For now, it’s an in-app iPhone advertising option only, it’s not on iPad or the mobile Web.

But Greystripe has been doing rich media ads for years, said Chang. “We’ve been using online technologies to apply to mobile,” he explained, referring to his company’s use of Flash technology.

Spero explained that iAd is narrowly targeted and Chang said it was not really that innovative, but Keenan disagreed, saying it has elevated the quality of advertising. Plus, said Keenan, “it’s a myth that you have to reach every single American,” he explained. You want to reach a key demographic – those that are actually interested in buying that product.”

This seemed to contradict what Spero was saying about Google’s philosophy – that is, advertisers should try to maximize the reach of their potential audience. From Google’s general view, advertisers needs are better served by enabling advertising across the mobile ecosystem, even beyond Android, he explained. Publishers need a lot of different monetization solutions, but they also need intelligence about ad serving.

“People ultimately want to buy an audience,” said Spero.

Debating the Accidental Click

Mocospace’s Siegel said that a lot of the clicks on banner ads are accidental clicks, but there are other ways to advertise. He gave an example of the use of Mocospace badges on his company’s mobile community site, including one sponsored by Nokia, which led to high user engagement.

“Optimizing the click is state the art, 2005,” Spero agreed. “You can track all sorts of things – not just app installs, for example, but “delivery of pizza, people booking hotel rooms…people who call a car dealer for a test drive” he said. “Advertisers shouldn’t just be measuring clicks.”

“We’ve proved that advertising works, now we have to scale it,” Spero said.

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