The president of adtech platform Criteo and the chief global revenue officer of The Weather Company are in agreement that mobile advertising still has plenty of flaws, and the format has plenty of room for growth.
Those are not encouraging words — the two men run two of the biggest mobile ad businesses on the planet, Criteo as a buyer and Weather Channel as a media seller through its hugely popular app.
Obviously, they’re both bullish on the medium in the long-run.
But in a discussion at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York, Criteo president Greg Coleman equivocated when Digiday editor-in-chief Brian Morrissey asked him whether mobile advertisements “suck.”
“Do mobile ads suck? Maybe, maybe not,” Coleman said. “If you can make an ad dance [meaning get someone to click on it], then it doesn’t suck.”
In order for ads to improve, Coleman said, the industry would need to see advertising made by creatives who had come up with a mobile background and who possess what Coleman calls the mobile “DNA.”
“If you go back to the late 90s when the digital world started to crop up, every editor-in-chief wanted to be in charge of their website,” Coleman said. “They’re the last people who should have been allowed to tinker with the new medium. A new skillset is going to emerge that doesn’t exist to a large degree today.”
Though Curt Hecht, chief global revenue officer for The Weather Company, had a more explicitly positive view of the creative offerings available on mobile platforms, he said that as it stands now, the mechanisms used to buy and sell ads on smartphones and tablets are a “complete mess.”
That’s bad news coming from The Weather Company, which operates The Weather Channel and owns one of the most popular mobile apps. Hecht said that when The Weather Company experimented with so-called “programmatic buying” by putting its advertising inventory on mobile ad exchanges, the exchanges couldn’t even decide what kind of businesses they were trying to run.
“It felt like the wild west,” Hecht said. “We had people coming in saying they were only a data company and then a week later, they were a network.”
“The easy money for these ad networks is going to be over by the middle of 2014,” Coleman said. “Two years from now, we won’t be using the term mobile, we’ll be using the term reach, and it’s not going to matter.”
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