Friday, March 9, 2012

Mobile Phone Advertising

I’m sitting on my lunch break, catching up on a few neglected Words With Friends games on my iPhone. After entering in my amazing 71-point word (love those triple letters on a triple words), I’m forced to spend a few seconds on an advertisement for some other game or app before I can get back to planning my next genius move. While only about as irritating as fly buzzing around, it is something I would rather do without.

Mobile advertising is a tricky business as a recent New York Times article explains. Because you are dealing with a much smaller face than that of a desktop, laptop or even a tablet, an ad that you may barely notice on the big screen becomes overwhelming on the 5-inch screen on your smartphone.

According to the article, there were more shipments globally of smartphones then personal computers in 2011. Taking that into consideration, it is clear that the advertising challenge on these mobile devices is a widespread issue. If people are using mobile browsing instead of logging on to an actual computer, how can companies reach their consumers without annoying them by constantly taking over their screen? Or, on the flipside, the ad being so small that it is completely ignored?

Facebook is one company facing this challenge. They have not yet found a way to make real money through their mobile app. With more than half of Facebook’s 845 million users signing on through their phone, the company is missing out on a giant revenue building resource.

So now, for Facebook and other companies facing the same problem, it is time to get creative. There are many more subtle ways to advertise without commandeering your screen. The article points out location services where users “check in” to different venues or perhaps sponsored stories popping into the stream of newsfeed updates.

I completely understand the challenge these companies are facing, yet also as an active smartphone user, do not want to be inundated with ads on my small screen. I believe that taking the more clever methods of location services and sponsored stories among lists of other information is a start, and am curious to see what the future holds. What do you think would be the most efficient (and creative) form of mobile device advertising?