Amazon Is Readying A Mobile Ad Network … Commodity Or Quality?

Jeff Bezos Amazon phone

Photo: AP/Android Police

Last week I read an interesting post on how major upgrades in infrastructure typically spawn entrepreneurs to do the unbelievable. Under those circumstances, they are able to create impressive and massively successful companies, based mostly on their ability to capitalise on this rapid change in capability. Some of the great companies in history were built on these types of innovation, and they are still household names; Sears and Roebuck Co., GE, Union Pacific, UPS and Amazon to name a few.The Amazon story, in particular, is quite interesting and relevant today. They saw a flaw in the book publishing industry and leveraged the Internet as a more efficient way to engage with customers. Over time they continued to innovate, adding multiple service touch points for consumers to interact with and incrementally adding new products that could easily be deployed through this now established channel. Their focus on fast, efficient service made them not only one of the largest retailers on the web but, in total, an innovator who has now extended to mobile. This latest move makes them one of the largest destinations for users on smartphone and tablet devices, and therefore starting yet another wave of innovation and change.

As many in our industry know, Amazon has quietly built a large display ad network over the last three years. Powered by their A9 search capability, they serve billions of ad impressions monthly. They have integrated their vast consumer data with their scale to make intelligent targeting decisions on behalf of marketers driving optimal performance and improving on in-network merchandising.

The next wave of innovation for Amazon now appears to be in mobile.  Some would say they have already driven mobile innovation with the original release of the Kindle, the various shopping and consumption apps on iOS and Android, and the most recent Kindle Fire tablet. These devices are obvious extensions that allow for direct, vertically-integrated consumption of their books, movies and music. The news that Jamie Wells has joined Amazon from Microsoft, where he ran global product marketing for mobile display and apps, signals a new commitment to mobile.  An acquisition in the mobile space would make sense given the scale of mobile inventory available to Amazon, their ability to extend consumer behaviours to the mobile device and their capacity to deliver on a truly synchronised experience for the consumer.

I’m likely not alone in offering a word of caution to Amazon.  They shouldn’t be too hasty in applying the same rule to mobile that they have with display. As an industry, we have quickly commoditized the inventory by dramatically increasing supply, applying data and ignoring the context (or quality) and therefore driving the pricing down and creating a virtual “ghetto” for marketers. Within the mobile environment, we still have a chance to maintain a high quality experience for consumers and provide marketers with highly impactful, targeted and exclusive exposure to their desired audiences. By making mobile a more premium ad experience, we have the opportunity to delight the consumer, create a truly engaged ad experience and deliver clear, measurable value for brand advertisers.  There is an opportunity here for Amazon to lead the way. 

How would you recommend marketers go to market within mobile environments to improve on brand metrics?

The views expressed here reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of 24/7 Media, its affiliates, subsidiaries or its parent company, WPP plc.

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