Why Mobile Advertising Will Be More Important Than TV Advertising
By Mike Masnick, Thu Apr 07 04:30:00 GMT 2005

In a sign that advertisers are finally recognizing that mobile spam doesn't work, one big advertising agency outlines the challenges in making people want to get mobile advertising.

Just as advertisers are realizing that the dream of pushing real-time ads to mobile devices is dying, it appears that a few are recognizing the power of advertising that's pulled by the user, rather than pushed by the advertiser. In fact, some say that user-requested mobile advertising is going to eventually take the place of television advertising.

Andrew Robertson, the recently appointed head of Omnicom's well-known BBDO advertising firm, is talking about how people can now avoid any advertising they don't like -- meaning that any effective advertising has to be something that the user actually wants. "You have no way to interrupt because they can choose what they can do. The opportunity is if you can create some content that they want to engage with, they can do that all of the time from anywhere."

In other words, the whole mindset behind the entire advertising industry needs to change from one that's about getting as many eyeballs on the ad as possible to getting people to actually want to see the ad. It's a huge shift in mentalities, and the mobile Internet is likely to lead the charge. Since mobile devices are something that people carry with them all the time, and are connected to the wider world around them, it's the perfect delivery mechanism -- so long as the ads are requested by the end user.

The mobile device becomes a window onto the the rest of the world for anyone who wants more information. It is not, however, a passive medium to which constant advertising can be pushed, but a tool that people will use
to find specific answer to specific questions. As Robertson says: "we are rapidly getting to the point where the single most important medium that people have is their wireless device. It's with them every single moment of the day." The challenge, which Robertson appears to see clearly, is figuring out a way to include advertising in that context.

It's really not that hard, however. As others struggle to figure out what kind of content people will want to see on their handsets, the answer is often going to be "something that helps them out, right now." That could mean something that's entertaining while there's time to kill or it could mean someone requesting info on the nearest Chinese restaurant (along with any available coupons). Advertising clearly has a place in this medium, but it's in helping the user solve a specific need, rather than trying to alert them to needs they didn't know they had while they're trying to do something else.