Why aren’t more brands using mobile advertising?

As a mobile advertising pundit who lives and breathes the mobile advertising world including its demographics and growth stats, I remain confounded that more brands have not yet jumped fully into this unique opportunity to reach audiences.

Of course, there are the early adopter companies and forward thinking organizations playing in this space but I am surprised that brands have not yet leaped on board in a way that matches the audience adoption of the mobile platform.

Look at the audience stats. For example, by the end of 2011 it has been estimated that there are 1.2 billion active mobile-broadband subscriptions in the world. That’s 17 percent of the global population. What’s more, mobile-broadband subscriptions have grown 45 percent annually over the last four years and that mobile-broadband subscriptions outnumber fixed broadband subscriptions 2:1. (source ITU)

What does this mean? It means the world is going mobile and doing it fast. In a way this event is intuitively obvious. In developed countries (US, Europe) where disposable income is higher, the ‘internet anywhere’ heuristic of iPhone, iPad, android phone and tablets is so desired that these devices are now experiencing mass adoption . It’s similarly claimed that most email is now first read on a mobile device and even Facebook has ‘finally’ announced mobile is the next cornerstone of their company strategy.

In developing countries, mobile based access has again scored very highly over desktop access as wireless or tower based infrastructure is easier to install and maintain. Similarly actual users in developing countries are recognizing the obvious benefits and selecting a mobile platform with all it’s convenience as well.

So where do the brands fit? According to Gartner, (June 2011) mobile spending will reach 4% of global advertising budget by 2015. That’s going to be way behind the global population and their embracement of mobile smart phones.

When you factor in that mobile based advertising has better targeting, higher click through rates, measure-able call to action plus you can reach the right audience with a much higher degree of accuracy than other online and even offline sources, you like me will wonder what is going on.

I suspect that the mobile advertising opportunity and its brilliance are being kept a deliberate secret. It’s locked up in those archaic advertising agency vaults so they can continue to peddle methods they know such as print media or expensive and vaguely quantifiable TV ads.

But have no fear; adverting executives must go where the audience is. Print media ad spend is dramatically declining, TV is becoming segmented as more users watch on line while Apple and Google line up the next technological battleground or marvel for 2012.

But one surety is that mobile adoption as the principle engagement technology of the mass market will continue to increase and brands will have to embrace the platform. Savvy brand marketers will already be doing so.  Organizations that don’t feature mobile in their strategy will be left without a voice.

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