Bumpy Road: Mobile Ads Hit Curves on Highway to High Growth

There are always a few bumps in the road when an industry is on the path of groundbreaking growth. That time may be now — when it comes …

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Bumpy Road Mobile Ads Hit Curves on Highway to High GrowthThere are always a few bumps in the road when an industry is on the path of groundbreaking growth. That time may be now — when it comes to mobile advertising.

The mobile advertising industry is expected to grow faster than any other ad channel in 2014. It’s a critical climb up the hill for a medium that has so much promise.

According to a recent story at WallStreetCheatSheet, the “big winner in the growth of the mobile ad industry is, of course, expected to be Google, which already accounts for 10 percent of total advertising spending in the U.S. by itself.”

Facebook and Twitter are expected to gain market share, too. However, according to analysts and industry insiders, any company aiming for the top in mobile advertising will need to “start thinking of smartphones and tablets as something beyond a scaled-down desktop or laptop, and create better, more accurate ads to drive mobile ad revenue.”

The shift of advertising spending toward mobile is in part influenced by the big players in digital ads, Google and Facebook. Together, the two companies represent 15 percent of the total media advertising market. But more than that, consumers simply spend more time on smartphones and tablets, with the average time spent reaching almost three hours daily this year — approximately 40 more minutes per day than the average spent on a desktop or laptop computer.

Where are the bumps in the road?

According to Christof Wittig, founder and CEO at LiquidM, a white-label mobile advertising management platform, who wrote a piece for TheNextWeb, it’s aligning practices with the promise of mobile.

Wittig believes that factors holding mobile ads back include “the fragmentation of the space, with more than 500 mobile ad networks, the standard of the 300-by-50 mobile ad banner, and inefficient vertical integration as every network tries to offer a full range of services.”

In this case, consolidation could be a good thing for the mobile marketplace.

“Wittig writes that the consolidation of mobile ad networks and the rise of specialization over vertical integration could strengthen the industry and lead to growth,” reports WallStreetCheatSheet. “A third change — what Wittig terms an “iPhone moment” for mobile ads — is necessary to catalyze the industry toward changing mobile ads away from scaled-down versions of desktop ads and toward a form that makes sense for advertisers, platforms, and mobile users.”

So — shift gears time? Looks like it.

“When Steve Jobs first debuted his device, the market instantly realized smartphones were not just a shrunken desktop OS attached to a phone, but a new medium that was compelling, even sexy,” according to Wittig. “With much of mobile ads still flailing about in its 300×50 era, we are still awaiting that shift.”

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