Photo: Bernard Goldbach via Flickr
The recent news of Google including AdSense inventory in its AdMob mobile ad network is a big step forward in aligning performance campaigns across desktop and mobile channels.However, the news only highlights that there still is no true “DoubleClick of mobile.” In other words, there is no publisher ad server that simplifies delivery of ads across mobile and desktop.
For premium publishers with a direct sales force, DoubleClick is the ad server of choice, because it gives publishers a lot of control and does not force them into using a particular ad network. The early winners in the publisher ad serving space for mobile have been AdMarvel and DART for Mobile, which are serving mobile separately from desktop inventory. There is still a lot of work to be done to break down the barriers to wide-scale mobile display advertising, and the publisher ad server that can open up and enable third party rich media ad serving capabilities across all digital platforms will enable a step change in the size of mobile display advertising market.
Right now, direct publisher sales of mobile inventory generally come from simple time-based sponsorships. Until we eliminate the friction that we see between desktop and mobile ad serving, publishers are not going to realise the potential of mobile revenue and agencies are not going to get the data they want to evaluate mobile inventory in the same way they would other digital channels, including user behaviour, reach, and frequency.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) recently released specifications for handling mobile Web ad delivery and reporting While these still leave some open holes in terms of reporting, these standards at least address one piece of the mobile ecosystem. Now, publishers and vendors need to work together to focus on the main bottleneck for interoperable ad delivery and reporting across digital platforms, ad serving SDKs for native apps.
Ad SDKs for iPhone, Android, Windows 7, Blackberry, Ovi, and Bada are currently necessary in mobile apps to offer native functionality for ad interactivity like shaking, rotating, accessing the camera, and playing sound. However, these SDKs are almost always connected to a rigid business model in the form of an exclusive ad network and are not always compatible across devices. That may not be a problem in the world of performance advertising, but it is a configuration that does not work for direct publisher sales.
2010 has certainly been a year of tremendous progress for mobile advertising and we are starting to see the industry alliances and organisations working together to push forward standards. Industry players are falling into roles that parallel online advertising. In 2011, we will see these last silos broken down to address the needs of large publishers.
Boris Fridman is CEO of Crisp Wireless, a universal rich media ad platform provider.