Buoyed by better devices, falling prices, and more time spent by users, mobile is often viewed by the progress that it makes on a month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter basis.
So it was striking when one of the most respected industry analyst firms advised us to take a much longer view, especially when it comes to SMBs and local mobile advertising.
“We’re monitoring everything on a weekly basis,” Mark Fratrik, SVP and Chief Economist, BIA/Kelsey, said while releasing a new local spending forecast http://www.biakelsey.com/Company/Press-Releases/140922-U.S.-Local%20-Media-Revenues-to-Reach-$139.3-Billion-in-2015.asp. “Right now, we are banking on social ad networks becoming increasingly important.
“We also keep upping the growth rate of mobile advertising. But mobile starts with such a low base that the percentage of increases are a bit misleading. But by 2019, mobile becomes a big player in the local advertising marketplace.”
By 2019, huh? Not tomorrow or next month?
I once was fortunate enough to co-present at an iMedia conference with Tamara Bousquet, SVP, NY Media Capability Lead at DigitasLBi, and a former marketer working with Apple. They don’t come smarter than Tamara.
She was real easy to work with, but Tamara did have one rule – no forecasting on mobile beyond six months because “no one knows”.
What might be behind BIA/Kelsey’s rather sobering forecast? For one, it’s not easy to plan, buy, monitor, rationalize, and optimize mobile advertising.
Companies with large budgets have succeeded to some degree in marrying relevant advertising content to visitors to mobile sites and users of particular apps. Others have employed mobile advertising for brand building. In the majority of those cases, brands and agencies have turned to ad networks to run their campaigns. SMBs don’t have the access, given the relatively small budgets that they bring into play.
The fact that 63 percent of Facebook’s revenue in the last reported quarter came from mobile advertising gives me reason to believe that SMBs are not only beginning to spend it the category, they are staying in because they see success in driving traffic, sales and/or loyalty.
Speaking of loyalty, Fratrik said that while local advertising (primarily online) has become increasingly efficient, SMBs are also putting their money into other marketing areas, such as loyalty programs.
Regular readers know how bullish I am about SMS-driven loyalty clubs for SMBs. There are thousands of examples of campaigns that have produced trackable business successes.
As to whether newspapers can remain in the spending mix moving forward, Fratrik was frank.
“Most traditional media remain very relevant,” he said. “As mass media, they are great for extending the reach of a message. Most digital media are more about specifically targeting users. National and local advertisers will always want a mix of messages. That said, newspapers are in the most precarious position.
“We are estimating they’ll see a decrease in print advertising by five percent a year — and it will be even more severe if they limit the days they publish to three days a week, which is the current trend.”
Being a former journalist and one who still reads two printed versions of newspapers daily, I, for one, am rooting for the much-maligned medium. Mobile is a key, giving newspapers the ability to provide personalized content freshened throughout the day.
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