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How and why mobile advertising is coming of age

Can­di­dates look­ing for media jobs may do well to con­sid­er the mobile adver­tis­ing indus­try if they’re after a bright future. That’s cer­tain­ly one of the impli­ca­tions of recent com­ments by Foursquare CRO Stephen Rosen­blatt, who believes that adver­tis­ers who don’t embrace the bur­geon­ing uptake of mobile devices are going to fall very far behind.

A mobile explosion

With Gart­ner pre­dict­ing that glob­al rev­enue from mobile adver­tis­ing will leap from $9.6 bil­lion in 2012 to $24.5 bil­lion by 2016, Rosen­blatt clear­ly has a point.  Facebook’s recent expe­ri­ences come to mind: by Q4 last year, the num­ber of peo­ple log­ging on from their mobile phones had out­stripped the num­ber doing so from a lap­top. Mobile adver­tis­ing now accounts for 23 per cent of its ad revenue.

Mobile phones adver­tis­ing, it seems, is where to go for media jobs, as more com­pa­nies see its poten­tial. He said, “My rule of thumb is that in 2013, if you’re a media com­pa­ny, if you’re a pub­lish­er, and about 50 per­cent of your over­all web traf­fic is not com­ing from mobile devices, you’re in trouble.”

Foursquare has devel­oped enor­mous exper­tise in the mobile ad space over the years, Rosen­blatt explains, and knows how to cap­i­tal­ize on mobile’s key advan­tages: the capac­i­ty to con­nect con­sumers to adver­tis­ers both phys­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly by deft­ly deploy­ing two main dri­vers – loca­tion and context.

From minor niche to giant market

Con­sumers will more like­ly vis­it a venue or buy a prod­uct if they’re giv­en the tools to find what they’re look­ing for “at their fin­ger­tips”, he says.  One way of con­vert­ing an ad view­er into a buy­ing cus­tomer is Foursquare’s “Check In” fea­ture.  Users are offered dis­counts for restau­rants or stores but can only redeem them after “check­ing in” to the Foursquare app.

Anoth­er recent inno­va­tion is the “Pro­mot­ed Updates” plat­form: users receive noti­fi­ca­tions about upcom­ing deals, but they also get infor­ma­tion on any new prod­ucts the busi­ness­es part­ner­ing with Foursquare are offer­ing. The busi­ness­es pay Foursquare for pro­mot­ing them in their explore tab.

This unin­tru­sive but inter­ac­tive mod­el has been a major suc­cess for the agency, adver­tis­ing to con­sumers in a way which is “organ­ic to their expe­ri­ence”, Rosen­blatt revealed.

Mobile adver­tis­ing is no longer a minor niche; and it looks set to cre­ate a good many new media jobs over the next few years.

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