By Seth Hart
On Monday, I was honored with the opportunity to speak on a panel at the South by Southwest Interactive Panel.
The panel focused on Mobile Rich Media and included panelists from GroupOn, RadiumOne and Mobclix.
The experience was fantastic and I wanted to share some highlights from the discussion, which was titled “In-App Mobile Ad Implementation Challenges.”
The basic premise was that mobile advertising spending is expected to top $1B in the US alone and of that, in-app advertising will account for over $600M. The follow-up thesis was that proprietary SDKs have drawbacks the industry should plan for, and a potential move to Open-Code SDK should be considered as a resolution.
In my role as Associate Strategy Director on the Samsung Mobile Global account, there is a massive opportunity for my client in the mobile advertising space. We recommend a variety of mobile media tactics in an effort to best serve Samsung Mobile’s varying objectives. In doing so, our team has deep experience creating engaging mobile in-app experiences (you may have seen our Angry Birds integration for Galaxy SII) and familiarity with the challenges in implementing.
My perspective (in a few bullet points related to the panel topic) is below:
1. Focus on Achieving Objective, Not the Challenge: Since most mobile rich media in-app advertising seeks to achieve the objective of engagement (vs reach), brands are concerned with having the most innovative ad units and are willing to invest and overcome any challenges associated with proprietary SDKs. In many cases, these SDKs offer unique or at least innovative ad units that will engage the consumer and give the brand buzz, PR or even an industry award. Thus, the benefits very much outweigh any drawbacks.
2. Bespoke Solutions Will Always Offer Brands a Competitive Advantage: Open SDKs are an interesting conceptual solution, but brands/advertisers will always be seeking a bespoke solution that gives them greater engagement and opportunity for buzz, PR and awards. That’s one of the beautiful things about mobile in-app: signt, sound, shake, call, socialize, tilt, celebrity, spin– if you can dream it, it can be part of the ad!
3. There are Alternatives: Besides open-code SDK, there are other “soft” solutions that the marketplace can consider: These become especially appealing and incentivizing if mobile rich continues to scale the way it is expected to and gaining a larger and larger share of overall mobile advertising spending in the coming years. In 2015, will consumers even LOOK at non-rich mobile?
4. Such as Commitment and Marketplace:
A. Commitment to education and training of team is critical: If you’re a developer, internal publisher team or anyone playing in this space, why wouldn’t you invest in learning coding requirements, skills and nuances now and constantly evolving them? For anyone with “skin” in the in-app mobile “game,” it is critical to invest in consistently educating and training their teams on the premier proprietary SDKs, so that their team is the most well-versed and can most efficiently overcome the implementation challenges that proprietary SDKs present. From an advertiser standpoint, that is a huge value prop — knowing that team involved has the most skilled, nimble and knowledgeable staff.
B. Exploring Marketplace-type Opportunities: These offer the right ingredients for brands (transparency, scale, premium inventory), without the challenges. They also address rich media’s Achilles heel: complexity. Take out the barriers and give a brand what it needs and RM can really take off.