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Experts shortlist mobile advertising as the Next Big Thing in 2013

Facebook’s IPO last year didn’t exact­ly catch the world on fire as expect­ed; but if social media didn’t turn in an Oscar-win­ning per­for­mance in 2012, ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists and oth­er start­up gurus have got mobile adver­tis­ing in their sights as the poten­tial big star of 2013.

Ted Schlein, one of the big­wigs at ven­ture firm Klein­er Perkins Cau­field & Byers, says:

“I do think 2013 should be a time for peo­ple to try to fig­ure out how to make mon­ey on mobile.”

His col­league, Ch-Hau Chien, was even more bull­ish, bold­ly assert­ing “Some­body will be the Face­book and the Google (GOOG) of mobile.”

Why going native makes sense

Dan Green­berg, who heads the suc­cess­ful video-adver­tis­ing start­up Sharethrough, thinks he knows how mobile adver­tis­ing agen­cies can make a killing in 2013.  Not­ing Facebook’s and Twitter’s suc­cess­ful new adver­tis­ing tac­tic of let­ting mar­keters slip their mes­sages into users’ dai­ly activ­i­ty streams, he said, “Native is the answer to the mobile ad problem.”

Green­berg believes that, for mobile, old-style ban­ner ads are passé.  Tar­get­ed posts from mar­keters are show­ing them­selves to be a much more effec­tive means of mobile phones adver­tis­ing.

Smart­phones and tablets will let adver­tis­ers and mar­kets “cook­ie” peo­ple on the hoof in the real world, accord­ing to Ross Fubi­ni of ven­ture firm Canaan Part­ners. When peo­ple walk through city streets, their phones are con­stant­ly pass­ing through a mul­ti­tude of cel­lu­lar tow­ers, he explains, allow­ing mobile adver­tis­ers and car­ri­ers to track the mov­ing sig­nals and pin­point where a user actu­al­ly is at any one time. They can then tar­get him or her with ser­vices like e‑coupons for near­by stores, traf­fic warn­ings or restau­rant sug­ges­tions. Mobiles, in oth­er words, are mar­ket­ing machines.

A mobile ad explo­sion in the making?

The explo­sive uptake of mobile devices will con­tin­ue through 2013, accord­ing to Stan­ford engi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor John Ciof­fi (yep, that’s him, the father of DSL), dou­bling dur­ing the course of the year.  This trend lends cre­dence to a fore­cast from dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing agency Solve Media: based on a poll of over 200 media buy­ers, the firm believes that a dou­ble-dig­it growth in spend­ing will occur in 2013.

Mobile adver­tis­ing, if it plays its cards right, looks set to be the Next Big Thing in 2013.

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