It Is Time For Advertising Agencies to Go Mobile

I’ve been reading the mobile advertising tea leaves. Here are two cups of rather green tea that suggest that savvy advertising and digital agencies should be allocating some (a lot of?) staff time to understanding shifts and opportunities arising in the mobile advertising space. As you can see from the Gartner study below, mobile ad spend in North America is expected to rise by over 100% by 2016. 

Mobile Advertising Revenue by Region, Worldwide, 2012-2016 (Millions of Dollars)





North America





Source: Gartner (November 2012)

Different types of mobile advertising are evolving at a different pace and in different directions. Mobile search — including paid positioning on maps and various forms of augmented reality, all of which can be informed by location — will contribute to drive mobile ad spending across the forecast period, although it will diminish in strength as the period progresses.

Gartner believes that mobile display ad spending will grow and take over from mobile search. It will initially remain divided between in-app and mobile Web (in-browser) placements — reflecting consumer usage — although after several years of in-app dominance, Web display spending will take over in-app display from 2015.

Another tea leaf reading comes from Kliner Perkins via Tech Crunch, “Kleiner Perkins Has Now Put Over $450 Million In Nearly 40 Mobile Investments.”

Head over to Tech Crunch to hear Kliener Perkins partner Matt Murphy discuss the firm’s investment of $450 million in 40 mobile companies.

As Murphy explains, these investments include both the $200 million iFund (launched in 2008) and separate investments. So now the $450 million in mobile investments are part of the firm’s digital investing in both consumer and enterprise companies…

And Kleiner has built a pretty impressive collection of consumer-focused mobile investments including Shopkick, Path, Spotify, Pinger and Square. Of late, the focus has expanded to enterprise with companies like Apperian, Crittercism and Egnyte.

This is action that agencies of the future need to get into.

Here are three tips for getting going in the mobile space:

1. Hang out with your city’s mobile developers. for example, in Portland we have Mobile Portland which hosts monthly presentations. You could even tap into Portland’s vibrant mobile community by watching some of the presentation videos on the website.

2. Go to mobile conferences. Then write mobile advertising white papers to share with clients and prospects.

3. Offer some of your office space to mobile developers to get them into your ecosystem. Maybe start to work with local incubators and accelerators to nurture new mobile companies.

4. Drop some investment coin and buy or merge with a mobile advertising company.

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