Mobile apps have the users, what about the Ad dollars?

money-phone-smThere’s no disputing mobile apps have trumped television, laptops and desktops when it comes to usage.

Mobile is accessible, easy and with us everywhere we go – which has a lot to do with why it has beaten out all other forms of technology in terms of activity. In fact, according to Todd Wasserman of Mashable, Flurry says mobile has hit an audience of 58 million in primetime, which surpasses the top three TV networks on their best night.

But it’s not activity and usage that’s the issue in the mobile market – it’s the lack of advertising revenue. According to Wasserman:

“ The IAB estimates that the U.S. mobile ad market brought in $3.4 billion in 2012… Comparatively, Kantar Media calculated that TV advertising accounted for $74 billion in ad revenues in 2012. Even if apps generated 100% of mobile ad revenues, the market would still be just 4.5% that of TV.

Meanwhile, Flurry also found that there are now more monthly users of mobile apps than there are for desktop computers and laptops. Yet the the desktop ad market is still 10 times the size of the mobile ad market in revenues, according to the IAB.”

So why the lack of ad dollars? Industry leaders and journalist point straight to device fragmentation as the root of the issue. As Michael Becker, managing director of the Mobile Marketing Association, says in Mashable:

“To ensure that the ads are effective, it helps to tailor to them to individual users’ demographics and geographic location. To make things even more complicated, while on desktop, there are basically two operating systems, in mobile there are at least 10 and hundreds of browsers and screen sizes.

Device fragmentation makes mobile a unique challenge for developers and mobile advertisers. What works on one device might not work another, what works on one operating system might not work on the next, and so on. This mobile matrix requires scalable real world testing in order to ensure quality. For mobile advertisements to work every time, everywhere, testing will need to play a huge role in the development and implementation of mobile ads.

What are your predictions on the future of mobile advertising? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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