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The Billions In Mobile Ad Money Nobody Can Grab 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the cleaning-up dept.
jfruh writes "Here's a pressing mystery: despite users spending an increasing amount on their mobile phones, mobiile advertising only produces 20% of the revenues per page that web advertising does. This seems like a big opportunity for somebody, but a whole complex of reasons might mean that it isn't just a matter of someone being smart enough to do mobile ads right. The whole advertising industry, which in many ways still resembles the Mad Men-era old boy's network, simply may not be equipped to cope."
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The Billions In Mobile Ad Money Nobody Can Grab

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:39AM (#40285217)
    The screen real-estate on a mobile device is too tight for an add to be non-intrusive and simply piss people off. Annoyed customers are not paying customers.
    • by arisvega (1414195) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:52AM (#40285433)

      The screen real-estate on a mobile device is too tight ..

      As is bandwidth. Which also tends to be ridiculously overpriced.

      • by steelfood (895457) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:08PM (#40286463)

        On the desktop, you pay for the connection, but there's no limit to how much you can download (outside of the max bandwidth x time calculation). In that case, the price of advertising is fairly cheap to the consumer.

        On the phone, you're paying by the bit. This means even the extra text that gets sent across the air to your phone is costing you money. That cost becomes fairly significant when you're receiving flash or HTML5 ads with animation and video and whatnot.

        The answer to why mobile advertising remains largely untapped is fairly obvious: it directly impacts the customer's wallet.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Which is why I do ad blocking on all my phones. My data consumption on my 3G ipad went down by 50% when I blocked ad's (yes it blocks all in app ads as well) Sorry, but your "free" app is not worth the more than $0.99 a month I spend on bandwidth for your ads I am ignoring anyways.

      • by SomePgmr (2021234)

        Yeah, I'd imagine the conversion rate is very low.

        I guess I don't really think about it at the time, but while mobile ads can be tiny, who wants to waaaaait for a parallel page load on a clicked ad (and use up that data)? Who wants to negotiate another tab? Who isn't aggravated by the the pixel use from the original ad? People are more likely to be trying to get a very specific thing done on their phone, it's often goal-oriented activity, and an ad is asking you to break stride more than browsing on a de

      • by Kergan (780543)

        The screen real-estate on a mobile device is too tight ..

        As is bandwidth. Which also tends to be ridiculously overpriced.

        And is battery life, which gets drained when you serve ads over a wireless network.

    • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:57AM (#40285523)

      Yes... annoyed customers are not happy customers. But that doesn't mean you can make good mobile ads.

      When ads first hit the desktop, there were insanely annoying. Pop-ups everywhere, blinkers... then some like Google figured it out.

      The same rules apply on the phone as they do to the web. Your ads must not be annoying and if possible, they must be useful.

      Every Google search is a potential ad. Heck, there are times, I don't know where to buy something or don't know about competitors... and Google does the ads for it. Now, they need to get better at that.. .even on the desktop.

      Just recently my umbrella failed me due to excessive winds. I was in the market for a new one. Perfect opportunity for Google to present me with good ads and sales for my region. Wasn't very useful though...Why is Google showing me ads for WIND mobile? But the potential is there. I did eventually click on some gustbuster link... I'm guessing google gets some money from that.

      The same goes for mobile use. They can figure out a way... especially for searches and localization. Targeted advertising has huge potential even if they don't do much personal information. Just what you searched for and your location could be huge.

      There's even money for the mobile device makers... and not just Google. As you say due to real-estate, it might be hard to just show ads. So maybe instead of Gmail going through your mail for ads, your OS (iphone, android. Windows phone...) does some analysis and can provide you with notifications in a their app / os in a mobile optimized way.

    • by Roogna (9643) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:01PM (#40285581)

      Annoyed customers are not paying customers.

      Hulu could stand to learn from this. In general their ads are just what they are, but they always have that "Is this ad relevant to you?" thing up in the corner. There's some ads that I dislike, so much, I actually take the effort to click no on. Surprisingly I then continue to see those ads over and over again. This generally just annoys me to the point where I would never, ever, purchase whatever product that is, or from whatever company is advertising.

      Ironically the advertisers could get a much bigger bank for their buck by not wasting money showing a particular ad to people who have already said that the ad doesn't interest them.

      • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:47PM (#40286173) Journal

        What you don't understand is they want the ad to stick in your mind. Granted if you are so aggravated that you might select a competitors product out of spite that is a problem; but for the most you answering that question, even in the negative means the ad worked!

        They just got you to think consciously about the content of their ad enough for you to directly act on it. Most ads are more or less ignored. Before sn ad can accomplish anything else its got to get your attention. You answering the "was this relevant" question at all proves they did that much. The nature of the question requiring to think about what you just watched increases the likelihood you will remember it later as well, another win.

        • Certainly, some ads get my attention. But somehow, I don't think causing projectile vomiting and severe headache whenever I hear a company's name is the response they wanted. When I associate annoying ads with a company, the BEST case (for them) is if they are really better than the competition, because I guarantee I WILL be looking for any alternative to this (ugh, barf) company.

      • by a90Tj2P7 (1533853) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:53PM (#40286279)

        Hulu could stand to learn from this. In general their ads are just what they are, but they always have that "Is this ad relevant to you?" thing up in the corner. There's some ads that I dislike, so much, I actually take the effort to click no on. Surprisingly I then continue to see those ads over and over again.

        Why would that be surprising? It's long-term marketing feedback, no one is going to look at that until the ad campaign is over or up for renewal. It's for the benefit of Hulu/the advertisers, so they can correlate future ad campaigns to demographics and usage, not for you to opt out of or vote away an existing ad. Hulu has sold to Company A that Ad B to be played during Term C for Target Audience D, so Ad B will continue to be played under those conditions until Term C is over. That vote against the ad isn't going to count until they're planning their next ad campaign.

        • Facebook you can rate ads and then you never see them again.

          Which is nice because really wasn't interested in buying the hemp/bone necklace that it was pitching me for months on end. Now it's a lot of HBO show promos which is actually useful to me.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            Facebook has ad's? I've been blocking them so long I forgot they even had them!

          • by a90Tj2P7 (1533853)
            The difference is that Hulu's model is like television advertising, a company pays for their ad to be shown to a target audience (like during a specific show), whereas Facebook is just showing contextual web ads (and sells on things like "have your ad come up for everyone who lists cars in their likes, or lists themselves as single"). Facebook is (like other websites are) selling the users/visitors as content to whoever wants a piece, Hulu gets the media content you want to watch by having it sponsored by a
      • Hulu could stand to learn from this. In general their ads are just what they are, but they always have that "Is this ad relevant to you?" thing up in the corner. There's some ads that I dislike, so much, I actually take the effort to click no on. Surprisingly I then continue to see those ads over and over again. This generally just annoys me to the point where I would never, ever, purchase whatever product that is, or from whatever company is advertising.

        Ironically the advertisers could get a much bigger bank for their buck by not wasting money showing a particular ad to people who have already said that the ad doesn't interest them.

        They probably can't stop showing them because they don't want to pay licensing fees to whoever owns the patent for "method to stop showing ads that are irrelevant to the consumer".

    • by bitt3n (941736) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:05PM (#40285665)

      The screen real-estate on a mobile device is too tight for an add to be non-intrusive and simply piss people off. Annoyed customers are not paying customers.

      they should take advantage of the speaker phone, so when your GPS detects you're walking by CVS, your phone announces "TIRED OF DEALING WITH THAT EMBARRASSING INCONTINENCE PROBLEM YOU GOOGLED ABOUT? WHY NOT PICK UP SOME DEPENDS AT 5% OFF WHEN BUNDLED WITH YOUR HERCEPTIN PRESCRIPTION?"

      • Actually, that's a good idea if you replace speaker phone with text message.

        • by JohnFen (1641097)

          Uh, no, that's a terrible idea as a text message, too, unless it's entirely an opt-in sort of thing. Any ad that is sent to me as a text message means that the source of the message is immediately added to my blacklist and I think badly of the company who sent it.

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      Could it be as simple as: since the screen is so small and you'd tend to scroll around to view the content you actually want, you're scrolling the ads off the screen and therefore don't see them, in addition to conditioning yourself over time to ignore ads as much as possible?
    • by guttentag (313541) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:28PM (#40285953) Journal

      The screen real-estate on a mobile device is too tight for an add to be non-intrusive and simply piss people off. Annoyed customers are not paying customers.

      Exactly. I'd take it a step further and say that part of the reason mobile has been so successful is because there is less chance of running into annoying, intrusive ads. It succeeds because it gives the user what he wants.

      If you accept that premise, the way to do mobile ads right would be to make up for the lack of real estate by providing something the user wants. Think time and location-based ads that offer something you can immediately use, like you're a block away from a McDonald's at lunch time and your phone shows an ad/coupon that saves you money on your lunch and drives business to the restaurant. Then 4 hours later, just as the chemicals in the food begin to liquefy your... Well, you know... You get a coupon for the drug store on the corner.

      However, that will not/should not come to pass because if you allow advertisers to have that kind of information, they will exploit it and sell it (and by sell, I mean retain the information and sell a copy to anyone who wants it) until hundreds of companies you've never heard of know more about you than your wife/doctor/therapist/bartender/etc.

      • However, that will not/should not come to pass because if you allow advertisers to have that kind of information, they will exploit it and sell it (and by sell, I mean retain the information and sell a copy to anyone who wants it) until hundreds of companies you've never heard of know more about you than your wife/doctor/therapist/bartender/etc.

        Sounds like you have not installed ghostery.

    • by epp_b (944299) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:34PM (#40286021)
      Exactly right. Ad-supported programs only encourage me to search for alternatives that don't insult and annoy me. Especially annoying are the unskippable (or delayed-skip) video ads that appear before program startup or between program actions (ie.: Words with Friends, MixZing).

      Listen up mobile software writers: the way to entice people to buy your software is to release a limited version for free and a full-featured version for sale with additional, useful features. But don't omit so many features that will cripple the free version into uselessness, that will only cause users to lose confidence in your software (ie.: if I buy the program, how can I be sure that these features work properly?)

      It's called "the first taste is free" and it's one of the oldest tricks in marketing.

      For example, I downloaded an volume levels program (I refuse to use the word "app" since Apple has doucherized the term) called AudioGuru which can set the various volume levels on the phone differently according to the time of day. The free version that I use has only a single daily schedule, the paid version can schedule varyingly according to the day of the week.

      See? It's still useful, not annoying, but the additional features would make it more useful and convenient. I will try it for a little while and I may find that I forget to set the volume on days where the schedule would change.

      Select the features you'll omit by balancing users' money with their time and convenience, not by annoying them (hint: ads are annoying).

      There you go, developers, you can have this tip for free. Now, please stop pissing us off with your ad BS.
    • by dubl-u (51156) *

      I agree that it can't be done right, but I think it's not just about screen size. On my mobile device I'm much more task-focused. When I'm up to something specific, I almost always ignore ads.

      On a desktop I'm much more likely to be poking around or under less time pressure, so I'm much more willing to explore the tangent an ad generally represents.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Bimbo Newton Crosby, when your screen is 4 inches piling a bunch of blinking, flashing ad shit is only gonna piss people off and run them away from your site. Not to mention I have YET to hear of anybody that actually BOUGHT something from a mobile ad. I have known people that bought from a regular ad, in fact before I switched to ABP and simply signed up for email flyers from those i like to buy from I'd occasionally click on an ad for Tiger or Newegg that had a great deal on a HDD or GPU, but I honestly c

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:41AM (#40285235)
    Be honest those of you who have a smart phone, when is the last time you saw an ad on it and seriously thought about even clicking it, much less spending money on what was shown?
    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:46AM (#40285309)

      I saw an ad once that interested me, but I didn't click on it simply because it would have exited the app I was in and switched to a web browser. If my phone had the equivalent of a taskbar that allows you to quickly and easily switch between open programs, then I probably would have clicked it. Of course, that was one ad in the seven months I've owned a smartphone.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:57AM (#40285529)

        Android has a task bar type thing. When you hold the "Home" button for 3 seconds it brings up you most recent applications. Tapping on an application pulls it's most recent state from the stack and restores it exactly as you left it.

        --Sparksis

        • You just made my phone about 12 times more useful. Here's hoping it works on my Nook Color dual-booted to Cyanogenmod, going to try it when I get home.

        • by adolf (21054)

          Android has a task bar type thing. When you hold the "Home" button for 3 seconds it brings up you most recent applications. Tapping on an application pulls it's most recent state from the stack and restores it exactly as you left it.

          Depends on the application, and the device.

          On my OG Droid, for instance, there's an excellent chance that switching from $randomapp to $randombrowser, doing some browsing, and then switching back is going to fail at resurrecting $randomapp's state due to RAM starvation issues.

          No

      • by Solandri (704621)
        Not to usurp the anonymous coward who gave out the same info for Android, but this really needs to be heard. I myself didn't learn about it until an ICS beta.

        Android: Press and hold Home for 3 sec. That'll pop up a list of running apps. Click one to switch to it. Flick it to close it (handy for closing a bunch of apps at once). Be aware that Android auto-closes apps when it runs out of memory, so if you haven't used the app in a while and are running a lot of other stuff, it may close on its own whi
      • by atisss (1661313)

        Then it's not a smartphone. Even my old Nokia with Symbian 60 had task switching. RTFM

        • Then it's not a smartphone. Even my old Nokia with Symbian 60 had task switching. RTFM

          If he only needs to task-switch to read an ad that appears in another app . . . ? I'd guess that if he'd wanted to do it for a truly useful (to him) purpose, he would have been willing to put that kind of effort in it. But if seeing an ad reqires TFM?

    • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:47AM (#40285347)
      Advertising isn't always about getting you to buy a product then and there. While that's nice, it can be much more subtle than that. For instance I've never seen a TV ad for mouth wash and rushed out to the store right after to buy some. But the next time I did actually want to buy mouthwash, I went to the grocery store and was confronted with about half a dozen brands. Which one do I buy? Well, probably the one that is more familiar to me, the one I have seen advertised the most.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        But the next time I did actually want to buy mouthwash, I went to the grocery store and was confronted with about half a dozen brands. Which one do I buy? Well, probably the one that is more familiar to me, the one I have seen advertised the most.

        This is a poor heuristic to use. Chances are, if they have to spend on marketing, they're not delivering the best product for the best price. When presented with a choice of products and no further information, choose the one for which you don't remember seeing a

        • by rfuilrez (1213562)

          So always by the generic store brand?

        • ...Chances are, if they have to spend on marketing, they're not delivering the best product for the best price. When presented with a choice of products and no further information, choose the one for which you don't remember seeing advertising.

          Which is why marketroids spend tons of money to develop ads that nobody "remembers", but stay in the periphery of your consciousness. Also works for politicians.

          • That's why he said pick the product that you don't remember. Stand in front of the options, and if you see one that seems like the obvious choice but don't know why, buy a different one: it usually means that you recognise them from some advertising.
        • Because the store's brand is always the highest quality.
          • by 0123456 (636235)

            Because the store's brand is always the highest quality.

            It may well be an almost identical product from the same Chinese factory in a different box...

          • by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:21PM (#40285847) Journal

            No, but it's worth trying first. Store brands are almost always of sufficient quality that it doesn't make economic sense to pay more for a marginal increase in quality. And a lot of the quality that people assign to name brands only exists in their heads. You tend to like what you're used to. If you get in the habit of trying generics often, you don't get used to more expensive brands that aren't actually any better.

        • by dcollins (135727)

          Mod this up! This is precisely my operating plan -- particularly in terms of financial services like banks and insurance. Expressly stay away from anyone advertising on TV (the more, the worse).

        • Chances are, if they have to spend on marketing, they're not delivering the best product for the best price.

          Every product needs marketing. Being the best product at the best price is not enough. Look at Linux, best product for the best price according to many, and still no one uses it. The marketplace isn't about a feature/price ratio that everyone calculates in their head and then goes with the best one. People make decisions to alleviate problems in their life, problems that are either emotional or physical. Marketing speaks to these problems and whichever product speaks to you best wins your money. Even the co

          • by Hatta (162192)

            Look at Linux

            This is a great example. If I paid attention to marketing, I'd be using some inferior product.

            Hell, sometimes marketing even goes so far as to convince you that you have a problem you really don't have.

            All the more reason to do the opposite of what marketing tells me to do.

      • by cephyn (461066)

        I would have bought the generic one, since it costs usually about 30% less than a brand name that spent that 30% on useless advertising. But that's just me.

      • by sqrt(2) (786011)

        I bought the type of mouthwash that my dentist told me to buy. He said to buy ACT, or a generic equivalent as long as the active ingredients were the same. I've never seen an ad for ACT anywhere. If I did I'd probably stop buying it. Now, maybe they advertised to my dentist and got him to recommend it, but I doubt it.

        There are a lot of people like me who consider advertising to be an insult to our intelligence and free will. Advertising isn't meant to inform, it's meant to deceive in a way that goes right u

    • by berashith (222128)

      I just dont "surf" enough on my phone, as it is too slow. The connection is not that fast, even at "4g", and the processor in there doesnt really do much for me. If I am browsing something on the phone, it is very specific. I rarely find myself simply killing time browsing on the phone, let alone following links. I am far too impatient.

      Until the data speeds are consistent I will only be willing to consider an ad from something on wifi or better.

      • Even when I have accidentally clicked on an in-app ad banner, it takes so long for the damn thing to open a browser (and maybe first pop up a dialog asking which browser I want to use if I don't have a default set) and then load the page and then load the redirect (because there is always a redirect on ads like this).

        Even if I actually wanted to see the ad, I would have lost interest at this point.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I have never seen an ad on the web and seriously thought about clicking it, much less spending money on what was shown. Somehow web ads still seem to be profitable.

    • The point of the ads is to encourage you to shell out a dollar or two for the premium version of the app... in my experience anyway.
    • Ads on my phone, and on my computers, are blocked.

    • by sqrt(2) (786011)

      As often as I click on any other ad, which is never.

      Advertising is offensive (the concept of advertising, irrespective of the content) to me and I go out of my way to block it and avoid it wherever and whenever possible.

  • The real mystery is why CPM = cost per thousand not cost per million.

    As for why costs on mobile are cheaper, I think it boils down to "cell phone is for 99 cent apps and desktop is for $1000 autocad installations". Its just not a serious marketplace. Also desktops are for work so a message can be snuck in while defenses are down, but phones are for getting voice spammed and text spammed so people are very used to ignoring messages from a phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Latin mille, meaning one thousand.

      • by vlm (69642)

        OK everyone seems to agree its correct. I think it boils down to a scam, unless you believe we've been selling online advertising since before the fall of the roman empire. Lots of taking advantage of going on here.

        Also I'm not a kid and I've never seen this "1M = 1000" terminology in anything related however tangentially to EE stuff or even IT stuff. Must be industry specific. I know if my 1.536M T1 only provided 1536 bits per second to the end users, hell would be raised by every customer I've ever wo

        • Also I'm not a kid and I've never seen this "1M = 1000" terminology in anything related however tangentially to EE stuff or even IT stuff.

          You never looked at a 1.44 Mb floppy disk?

    • by jolyonr (560227) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:50AM (#40285389) Homepage

      Not really a mystery. M = 1000 in Latin

      • by kidgenius (704962)
        So are the C and P in latin as well? Shouldn't it be SPM, or Sumptus per Mille or some garbage?
    • by romanval (556418)
      'M' is short for "mil' which is latin for thousand. It's a common business shorthand term used for price estimates. (example: 1M / $650 = 1000 widgets for 650 dollars)
  • Acceptable Ads (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:42AM (#40285249)

    Acceptable Mobile Ads: Takes up the edge of the screen (or otherwise unused area), is not distracting (flashing, music, etc) and is primarily on pages/screens that I'm not going to spend a lot of time on, such as title screens, login screens, etc

    The more an ad looks like content (as opposed to "attention grabbing", the more likely I am to pay attention to it. The more likely I am to pay attention to it, the more likely I am to click it if I'm interested. If your ad flashes yellow flying monkeys and blares music then I'm going to ignore it even if it's something I may be interested in. The advertising industry has taught us to tune out the annoying ads completely. Also, if an app has an ad splash screen (especially one that cannot be skipped), I will stop using that app altogether regardless of how well done, relevant, etc the ad itself is.

    • by lightknight (213164) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:44AM (#40285291) Homepage

      "your ad flashes yellow flying monkeys and blares music" -> But, then, how is it going to get your attention that you're their one millionth winner?

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      The othe rthing is well, most ads for mobile are NOT on webpages.

      They're in apps - AdMob (Google) doesn't make money serving up mobile ads on webpages, but whenever an Android developer wants to make money, they sign up and stick the ad in their app.

      That's where the money is. Problem is, most ads are really unrelated to the app, and for Android especially, requires taking on way more permissions (though most people ignore them).

  • Mobile browsers and apps will start delivering ads embedded in the app, page ads will go the way of the Dino.
  • I'm just glad that Da Vinci, Einstein, Tesla, Graham Bell and other inventors didn't have the submitter's "oh, this is too hard" mindset.

  • My theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:50AM (#40285391)

    My own theory is that the whole "personalized ads" concept is bullshit, at least when it's taken as far as it is now.

    Someone who knows me EXACTLY (which seems to be what they're trying to do) would recommend to me pretty much just the things I already buy, and would buy anyways. I don't think I've *ever* clicked on an ad and bought what they were selling. Even if they could read my mind, all they would really be doing is giving me the link I'd be clicking on in a few seconds *anyways*.

    In fact, it seems to do the exact opposite. I bought an SSD recently, and ever since my GMail has been showing nothing but ads for SSDs. Way to completely miss your chance - I probably won't need another for months, at the earliest. Or when I bought a laptop, for the next few weeks it was showing ads for Alienware laptops.

    And then sometimes it gets things just completely, absolutely wrong. I swear that at one point, my Droid was *convinced* that I was a gay black man with AIDS. Wrong on all counts save that yes, I am male. I don't even know how it came up with that - there is literally nothing I've done that would support that idea. Needless to say, the "gay thug dating" and "HIV testing" ads had a zero chance of getting money from me (although it did get quite a few laughs).

    So maybe the problem is that the entire framework of economic/advertising theories they're working on are *wrong*. Like when all the physicists' theories about the luminiferous ether had to be thrown out when it was demonstrated that no such thing existed. I would not be surprised if, decades from now, we look back at all this tracking and personalized advertising the way we currently look back at the "radiation" fad of the 50's - a lot of really bad ideas that we now know are completely wrong.

    • Re:My theory (Score:4, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:01PM (#40285587) Journal

      And then sometimes it gets things just completely, absolutely wrong. I swear that at one point, my Droid was *convinced* that I was a gay black man with AIDS. Wrong on all counts save that yes, I am male. I don't even know how it came up with that - there is literally nothing I've done that would support that idea.

      You were hacked by the GNAA.

    • Targeted ad's can be useful but it's a hard thing to do. Two useful examples I was in the market for another kindle, a targeted ad got me 3g keyboard for less than the touch and with no ad's (ironic isn't it) another got me to a LTO tape library that fitted my needs better than the ones I was looking at. So in effect the companies need to stand out from the pack. Sure a kindle is a kindle to me it's like laptops needs a good service contract as I break one a year or so. The LTO library there is such a h

      • by JohnFen (1641097)

        Targeted ad's can be useful but it's a hard thing to do

        I honestly can't imagine how targeted ads can be useful for me no matter how they're done.

        If I'm not looking to buy something, there's no such thing as an ad that can be targeted to me in the first place, since I'm not looking to buy anything. If I am looking, then I'm already proactively researching to whatever degree seems important. As 99% of all ads are worthless (in that they're misleading and/or omit the data I need in order to make some kind of decision), looking at ads aren't and won't ever be part

    • Very true. Google and the rest has never, ever manage to offer anything of interest. Despite having datamined all my email that clearly identifies my tastes and needs.
      They just keep offering me dedicated servers. All the time. Or some sort of cloud rental service stuff. I don't get it, and I don't want it either. I don't even talk about servers or anything...And I am definitely not a webdev.

    • It is not just about getting you exactly what you would have gotten anyway. It is also about offering you things that you would like but never would have know existed. Haven't you found something cool because a friend recommended it? Or how about some new gadget that you fell in love with because an article was written about it on your favorite tech site? Hey I've got a stupid little head scratcher sitting next to me right now because a few people raved about it in comments to a Reddit post.

      The point is t
  • Mobile ads are very effective at clickthrough. With touch interfaces, it's far too easy to accidentally touch an ad that appears right next to something useful.

  • for a while the theory was that if people always check in and post what they are buying and where then their friends will do the same. right up to the time when people got sick of "checking in" and people got sick of their facebook streams polluted by crap

  • why can't phone makers spend the 5 or 10 cents to enable HDTV and FM radio or even AM radio on their devices?

    It seems like a great sales point, so I wondered why no smart phone does this.

    Is it because the business guys are trying to extort some sort of fee from the broadcasters for this ability?

    because that's how you deliver ads to phones: FM radio and TV

    • Re:related question: (Score:4, Informative)

      by Miamicanes (730264) on Monday June 11, 2012 @02:18PM (#40287401)

      Lots of phones DO have FM. Try connecting headphones and launching the 'music' app. You might be surprised. I had my Photon for almost 5 months before I stumbled over that feature by accident. I was expecting it to exist (if it did) as a "FM Radio" app, not as part of the "Music" app.

      As far as TV goes, it's probably a lost cause. As a practical matter, a high end Android phone already has 80% of the hardware it needs to receive HDTV, and roughly half the remaining 20% consists of "an appropriate antenna" (believe it or not, the ATSC tuner is the least of your problems... it's a single chip that converts 8VSB-modulated radio into a ~19mbit/sec bitstream that the phone's existing hardware can deal with downstream). So, why don't manufacturers bother? Mainly, because American 8VSB-modulated HDTV is hard enough to reliably receive with a PROPER antenna, let alone a pair of headphones plugged into a headphone jack. Don't believe me? Buy a 99-cent UHF loop on eBay, connect it to your HDTV (through an appropriate 300-to-75-ohm balun if necessary), and see how many channels you can actually tune indoors with it. If you're lucky and live in the mid-suburbs approximately 5 miles from the local antenna farm, you might get one or two reliably. If you're downtown, you'll be lucky to get any at all.

      It's a fundamental problem with 8VSB modulation. Back in the early 90s, engineers told the FCC & "Grand Alliance" they could optimize for range or robustness, but not both. They were told to optimize for range, and they did. With a proper 2-3 story tall directional high-gain yagi pointed directly at the transmitter, properly grounded, you can receive most American TV stations from 60 miles away with minimal effort, and up to 100 or so miles away if you really work at it. However, the moment multipath distortion (basically, echoes from signals bouncing ricocheting off buildings and mountains) becomes a factor, you can forget about receiving a viable ATSC signal at all. Analog UHF manifested multipath as "ghosting". Digital ATSC manifests multipath as "no signal".

      HDTV tuners work in many other countries, because they went with a competing modulation standard called COFDM. COFDM's engineers made the opposite choice of American engineers. Instead of optimizing for range, they optimized for robust reception in conditions where multipath distortion would normally be a problem. The downside is that even a great antenna is unlikely to receive a viable COFDM signal more than 50 miles away. The upside is that you can sit in a moving vehicle driving around the central business district full of skyscrapers in some Asian boomtown and have a perfectly good signal to watch.

      As bad as 8VSB is today, it was even WORSE 10 years ago. At least now, it's possible to semi-reliably tune with an indoor antenna if it's a GOOD one. You're still unlikely to get anything consistently watchable from the modern equivalent of a coat hanger (a pair of headphones plugged into a jack). Unfortunately, we've now come about as far as we can with DSPs, and future improvements to 8VSB are going to require extensions that will be backwards-compatible (ie, won't screw up existing tuners), but won't do anything to HELP old tuners. The work has been in progress for the past few years, mostly at the behest of FEMA, due to a very real fear that the next time a hurricane like Andrew roars ashore, people old enough to remember watching newscasters huddling under their desks in Miami during Andrew won't have a viable signal AT ALL, because just the wind-induced antenna motion will be enough to nuke the signal for many viewers (8VSB makes HEAVY use of phase relationships that all pretty much assume an antenna that's stationary, or at least moving in a straight line along a single plane of motion relative to the receiving antenna; flex and wobble the antenna, and that assumption goes out the window). The last time I checked, ATSC-M has been held back by a few things, not the least of which is the knowledge that they're going to get exactly one chance to fi

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Monday June 11, 2012 @11:59AM (#40285563)

    One thing could potentially be quantified: what proportion of online spending is made from a mobile device? Of course, that doesn't account for brand advertising, where the goal is just to make your logo more familiar to people, as opposed to actually convert a sale. But it would be somewhere to start, by telling us whether, at least in conversion-focused advertising, mobile advertising is under- or over-performing relative to the amount of commerce that takes place on the platform.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:02PM (#40285595) Homepage

    There's the screen real estate problem, of course. More important, though, is the business model. Phones are sold to carriers. They make their money from service charges. They don't need ads. They'd rather have paid services be paid for through them.

  • by Lord Grey (463613) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:09PM (#40285705)

    "The whole advertising industry, which in many ways still resembles the Mad Men-era old boy's network, simply may not be equipped to cope."

    Or vagina.

  • by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:14PM (#40285771)

    Okay, so desktops get x clicks/1000 views, and because mobile devices get 0.2(x)/1000 views I'm supposed to believe that there is money there waiting to be grabbed?

    Bullshit.

    The use patterns on phones and tablets is fundamentally different than on a desktop. There is absolutely no reason to assume that the advertising done (no matter how) will provide the same results.

    note: I'm not attempting to state that the money definitively isn't there, but comparing clicks between two completely different formats is hardly proof that there is.

  • The only place I see ads is my mobile phone

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Jailbrake/Root it and install a blocking hosts file.

      Why are you tolerating ad's on your phone?

  • by losttoy (558557) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:23PM (#40285861)
    The whole ad industry and it's suppliers (Google, FB etc) are run by marketers. The fundamental theory that drives marketing is that the more you advertise, the better you sell (up to a point of marginal returns). No one has seriously looked at this approach to marketing in a long time. The result is that the billions spent on TV/Radio/Newspaper are moving to online advertising. While online advertising offers improved feedback, it basically is push advertising - shoving something in front of you in the hope that you will bite. Well, think for yourself, does that work for you? I, mostly, am supremely annoyed by push ads and I think the age of push ads will quickly die. In the future, marketers will have to engage more personally with buyers and require more humans to interact with buyers to form some sort of trust. The age of holding (and hiding behind) a big megaphone and blasting your message will quickly come to an end.
  • Mad Men My Ass (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XiaoMing (1574363) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:26PM (#40285915)

    I will begin by positing the following: That it's pretty obvious that the less removed the advertisee is from the product, the more impulse-driven the advertising becomes.

    This is clearly illustrated in the following:
    -TV commercials (most removed) that try to get you to remember a name for the next time you need to say, buy life insurance.
    -Internet ads (on a PC, getting warmer) that want you to click and enter some CC info while distracting you from what you were doing.
    -Targeted internet ads (such as from a store that already has your info suggesting other products) where you can basically "one-click" your way to poverty.
    -Finally product labels (in a store, knowing you already are there, in that aisle, for the purpose of buying a product) which try to out-shine the next guy with colors and swooping patterns.

    And there's clearly a well-established economics set up for the last two, considering the click-through payments that online retailers will give to advertising partners, as well as grocery stores putting their own generic brand in some of the most visible spots next to well-known brands.

    Now we take a look at mobile devices and what do we see?
    As far as immediacy goes, they rest somewhere between generic internet ads and the more targeted ads. But why is there such a price parity?

    Think about filling out a full billing or credit card address form, one letter at a time, with hilarious auto-correct.
    Think about punching your full credit card info into any mobile app.

    And finally, keep in mind that certain products (iTunes) which do offer features (all payment info stored centrally) to exploit such impulsiveness tend to do fairly well revenue wise.

    If you think about the two bolded concepts of immediacy and impulsiveness, it's pretty easy to see that the issue of the mobile space is not so much that it's an "old-boy's" network with a failure to adapt, but that a lack (even if perceived) of any trustworthy impulsive payment method is what moves its effectiveness as an advertising channel from that of click-to-buy to something more comparable to a TV jingle.

    To write a summary about the failure of mobile ads based on an analysis epitomized by a fucking TV show on the other hand, makes it seem that the whole ITWorld crew in many ways still resembles the Mad Men-era old boy's network, and simply may not be equipped to cope. ;)

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:27PM (#40285927)
    I think those billions in potential ad revenue are currently hidden in the same account with the unrealized potential profits of the *AA recording companies.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday June 11, 2012 @12:40PM (#40286091) Journal

    which in many ways still resembles the Mad Men-era old boy's network, simply may not be equipped to cope."

    Citation please. Everyone I know working in advertising or even anywhere near it is obsessed with quantifying, measuring, targeting, and tailoring. Most of that is at least as high tech as developing any other kind of web application. I think they are "up to the challenge," and trust me I really wish they weren't.

    There are probably a good number of Don Drapper like dinosaurs still roaming the halls of ad agencies; possibly especially in "creative" but most of the industry is pretty scientific now and has been for quite some time.

  • I'm on mailing lists for about a dozen major vendors, such as NewEgg. I keep an eye out for sales and specials on products I need, and then I grab them when I see them. (Like 8 gigs of RAM for $50.) Since I get these through my email, I do get them via my mobile phone. The actual ads that occasionally pop up on my phone courtesy of my carrier are all for crap like University of Phoenix or Zynga games.
  • Unwanted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Monday June 11, 2012 @01:17PM (#40286593) Journal

    Advertising is unwanted, and intended to mislead. It is especially obnoxious on a platform that costs a lot of money and has a small screen. Phones and plans are expensive and then on top of that you tell people they are going to see ads? They're not going to be happy. I especially hate efforts to spy on me in order to increase the effectiveness of ads that I don't want to see for products I don't want.

    Moreover, I find *ALL* advertising to be annoying and unwanted, the more custom tailored it is to me the more offensive I find it. Also, advertising seems to operate under the assumption that people have money to spend. Tell me, how is an advertising based economy going to work when every year more and more people are unemployed? I don't care how targeted and relevant your ads are, people without jobs aren't going to buy your product/service.

    The advertising economy is headed for a huge crash, and mobile is just an especially obvious example. It's a scam, top to bottom.

    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      Thank you for saying that. It's a bloody outrage that I'm paying $60 a month for a smart phone and then some suit decides to start cramming advertising down my throat.
  • We pay for (x) minutes, (y) text msgs, and (z) bandwidth per month for our mobile devices. Ads consume those resources so we effectively pay for those ads. That's not what mobile customers signed up for.

    It's the same reason that the feds banned unsolicited ads to fax machines and business phones - the end receiver pays for the transmission.

    It would be a big inconvenience if I got an incoming call signal while talking to a human and only find out it is an ad.

    This is beyond just annoying.
  • Nobody wants them and never did - the industry just fooled itself for decades.

  • Make people pay for internet they are already paying for.

    Make people pay for ads.

    Make people watch video on a 5" screen and listen to music on crap earbuds.

    Do not make it easy to block unwanted calls and spam voice messages.

    Profit!!

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