DIGIDAY:MOBILE – Advertising, Apples to Apples

Just as Apple and its mobile products demand their own place in a conversation about mobile technologies, its unique product offerings and practices mean that they are sure to be a focus of a mobile advertising discussion as well.

Panel – iAd vs. the Rest: The State of the Mobile Ad Units

John Gaffney, Senior Editor at DIGIDAY (moderator)

Tom Foran, CRO at Crisp Wireless

Jami Lawrence, Associate Director at Publicis Modem

Erica Chriss, VP of Strategy at Greystripe

Evan Neufeld, VP of Marketing at Groundtruth

Foran likened iAd advertising to Raiders of the Lost Ark: you see the beauty of the Ark of the Covenant, and then it melts your face.  Developers are loathe to give away 40% of their revenue to Apple, and they are concerned with other restrictions.  Lawrence described it as an “app within an ad experience”, using iPhone features (accelerometer, GPS, etc) like an app.  It’s limited by the reach: it only reaches those with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.  Even older iPhone users are left out.  While custom is sexy, Chriss offered, the expense is not extensible.  Neufeld sees what attracts people to iAds, but is concerned about Apple’s understanding of ad sales.  While aspects of the platform are appealing to the target audience, the walled garden is not one of them.

Chriss focused her critique on the reach of iAds.  She described segmentation of the Apple brand (across different versions of the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad), and noted that most ad audiences are not limited to certain Apple devices.  Foran explained that iAd can be a part of an integrated advertising platform, and take advantage of the ability to provide a feature-rich experience.  Lawrence noted that iAd users have largely been experimenters, using budgets outside of their mobile spend to launch on the platform, largely as a PR move.

Brands need to understand that mobile is not digital, according to Neufeld, and they need to rely on partners in agencies and ad networks to understand where to reach.  Mobile is just marketing in another channel, and it should be approached in an integrated manner.  Mobile advertising metrics should be in-line with integrated metrics.  It’s not enough to measure click-throughs.  Brands must understand how mobile usage affects larger ROI measurements and brand awareness.

Mobile advertising is still in its awkward adolescence, according to Foran.  Neufeld sees the conversation about platforms evolving over the upcoming year as brands look at mobile advertising in terms of advertising target and not advertising platforms.  Chriss reiterated that mobile is not that different from other advertising channels and that brands shouldn’t fear it.  Lawrence looks forward to more sophisticated ad tracking for the mobile marketplace.

Best Practices for iPad Advertsing

Tom Foran, CRO at CrispWireless, presented on advertising on the iPad and how it related to mobile advertising.  Just like the iPad is a hybrid device, somewhere between a laptop and a smartphone mobile device, advertising on the iPad is a hybrid process.  The advertiser can leverage features from practices as diverse as print to mobile.  There are a number of things to design for, whether it’s the orientation of the iPad, the data connection of the user, and the interactive features of the device.  Ad units designed for the iPad can be adaptive, remaining on screen as the user scrolls or zooms, while the creative itself is taken from existing internet advertisements.

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