Here's Why Mobile Advertising Needs TV To Be Successful


Photo: Florin Hatmanu

There has been quite a bit of chatter lately about companion TV viewing on tablets and mobile phones. Some even have gone so far as to say that the mobile devices will ‘save’ TV.  I’m not so sure I agree with that point of view. 

I think many of the people that are promoting this type of thinking are trying to pump up the value of their own mobile companies.  

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little chest pumping, personally I don’t think TV needs any help.  TV closed out 2011 with some impressive numbers:  3.1 % gains overall, 7.7% increase in broadcast network ad revenue, total TV dollars were up $19.6 billion* and original cable TV programming was, and is, stronger than ever.  

Because of these numbers, I would argue that Mobile needs TV and that social networking  and photo sharing are the best thing to happen to Mobile.    

Now don’t get me wrong, Mobile is a powerful platform in its own right, — and it does require its own creative format given the varied devices and sizes — but I question if it should be treated as a standalone channel.  

Sure it has  unique creative and technology benefits, but when you break it down consumers are doing the same variety of things within the mobile device that they are within their browser, and you don’t see us calling that a channel.   What you do in a specific environment is so much more important than the environment itself

Companies that are offering mobile-specific products and services should be wary; don’t get caught thinking that you are in the railroad business when you are actually in the transportation and logistics business.  Those companies that are providing true value across platforms, devices and networks are in a much more defensible position.   

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting that mobile doesn’t offer unique value outside the standard desktop experience. Obviously things like hyper-local content, instant eCommerce and geotagging posts add tremendous value.  

This brings me back to why TV and even Social could be the ones to ensure a successful future for Mobile.  

They bring true value-added content to a device that consumers want to interact with.  They both aggregate audiences and give marketers the opportunity to engage with audiences in a meaningful way.   The added benefit is that the mobile device now transports this high-quality content anywhere the audience goes, making that consumer much more accessible (and impressionable) and potentially providing an added level of behavioural information to ensure a better commercial experience. 

Additionally, the content provider (TV or Social) can promote cross-over content or games that extend consumer engagement with the program or marketer’s message either in real-time or delayed based on a simple hashtag or URL.  

Marketers still care about audience aggregation and the methods used to activate the audience.  It seems to me that the combination of TV, Social and a second-screen Mobile experience could be the ultimate activation experience.   Hashtag  #advertisingworks on your mobile device and let me know what you think?

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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