by Dale Carr, CEO with LeadBolt
What will 2013 bring us? As happened in the early days of the Internet when publishers tried to use existing print, radio or even television models of advertising on the world wide web, we have seen the idea of ‘banner ads’ transferred from the browser to mobile devices. This may account for some of the dismal performance numbers that some experience. However, as more people begin to browse the web on mobile devices, there is going to be quite a bit of innovation when it comes to advertising. This is good for everyone in the equation – publishers, advertisers, and consumers.
FTC and mobile privacy for children
The USA’s FTC (Federal Trade Commission) conducted some research in 2012 on the state of mobile apps when it comes to privacy and terms of service and children.
What they found was quite frightening to many people. There were quite a few mobile applications that were targeted toward children and did not have clear language about how personal information would be used for advertising purposes.
On December 28th 2012, the FTC issued a Press release concerning changes to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Specifically, they added language to include mobile apps and browser plugins, things that weren’t around back in 1998 when COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) was first passed.
This is good news, but every mobile developer should make sure they are up to date and not breaking any laws with their mobile applications.
Location, location, location
One of the neat things about modern smartphones and tablet devices (and soon to be ‘smart-watches’) is that they usually know the user’s location.
So, if a consumer is walking through the shopping mall or somewhere else, local retail shops (or restaurants) can wirelessly send coupons and specials when someone who has signed up for the service is within a certain distance of the business.
While there are a lot of apps that use location, it is very likely that this piece of information will be used more and more for advertising to mobile users.
This also brings up a lot of privacy issues, which means that privacy statements and terms of service for apps is likely to become more important in 2013 and beyond.
On the bright side, it may enable better targeted ads which is a win for the consumer as well as the advertiser.
Battle of the behemoths
Facebook has come a long way when it comes to making money with mobile in 2012, and this will likely continue in 2013 with more innovation to battle against the current mobile revenue giant – Google.
With the purchase of Instagram for around $1 billion earlier in 2012 before their IPO, Facebook may be able to leverage the huge number of users of that app to pull even further ahead when it comes to mobile advertising revenue next year .
Optimisation and experimentation
Mobile ad networks have access to a lot of useful data about consumers. Learning how to sift through this data and use it to optimise a better advertising experience is going to help with conversions – connecting the right people with the right ad at the right time.
Additionally, there will likely be even more experimentation with multimedia advertising – so called sticky or viral content – as well as things like what Facebook is doing with their Sponsored Stories.
(It is important to note, however, that Facebook have taken a lot of flack from privacy watchdogs over the feature).
More traffic, more opportunity
Another positive for 2013 is likely to be even more people accessing the Internet via mobile devices.
While some research points to around 10 per cent of current web traffic coming from various mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), there are some who think this number may rise.
Namely with mobile access overtaking those who access the web on a traditional desktop computer or laptop.
This means the mobile advertising pie is going to be quite a bit bigger. And while the major players like Google, Facebook and others will grab the lion’s share of that revenue, there will be even more ‘crumbs’ for everyone else.
Dale Carr is curently President and CEO with LeadBolt – a leading mobile ad network.