The Future of Advertising is in the Palm of Your Hand

By Tom Martin, Founder of Converse Digital Tom Martin, Converse Digital

We live in an ADD world. To make matters worse, smart phone proliferation and the glance-and-go behavior it empowers is ensuring that this trend doesn’t stop any time soon. In fact, a recent study of college students that read news on their smart phones found that 56% of students read less than the first three paragraphs and 72% consume 25% or less of a story.

Beyond changing how readers consume publications and information, mobile platforms also present a significant challenge to a traditional advertising-supported publishing model. Smaller screens place a premium on screen space. Combine the limited screen space with an advertising intolerant consumer in a glance-and-go mode of information consumption and you have the perfect storm for disruption of the entire publishing industry.

Or do you?

Like any disruptive technology, mobile presents the publishing industry with an opportunity. In this case, it’s an opportunity to reinvent their relationship with readers. Mobile savvy publishers can move beyond an episodic, transactional relationship to create true communities around their publishing brands. They can move from being top of mind once a week, month or quarter to being top of mind each and every day. By harnessing their knowledge and making that knowledge available on demand via mobile devices, publishers have the opportunity to become the trusted resource for information and recommendations in their niche.

This new relationship era presents new advertising opportunities for publishers. Once a publisher has curated a community of readers that interact with the publisher, the publisher can monetize access to that community.

Here are three examples:

1. Paid Access — publishers can engage their community of readers to discuss a particular advertiser’s product or allow the advertiser to sponsor a standing chat or conversation the publisher already conducts. In return, the advertiser pays the publisher for guaranteed access/impressions.

2. Research — the focus group isn’t dead, it just moved online. And with tools like the mobile friendly Google Hangout, publishers can create virtual “focus groups” where brands can engage or just watch as their customers talk about their product, category or competitors. Best of all, today’s busy consumer can join these Hangouts from the palm of their hand. What’s that worth to an advertiser?

3. Contextual Marketing – your smart phone always knows two things about you – where you are and what you’re looking at right now. That means the mobile-friendly publisher can sell highly targeted ads along three dimensions – demographic, geographic, and time-of-day.

The future of publishing is in flux but one thing is certain: Mobile is here to stay and the smart, profitable publisher will learn to leverage the unique attributes and opportunities mobile provides to create new and lasting revenue streams.

Be Mobile-Friendly to Reach More Customers – Mobi-fy Your Site!

By Chris Minnick, President of Minnick Web Services

More and more of your customers are browsing the web on smartphones. If you haven’t looked at your site on a smartphone lately, go look right now. While it’s likely that your web site will appear in some form or another on a smartphone, it’s probably at least partially broken or unusable. The bottom line is that your broken or non-existent mobile site is costing you money through reduced revenue and reader experience.

What can you do about this? Mobi-fy your site! Here are the three ways being a non-mobile site costs you money and the three easy steps to get your lost mobile readers (and revenue) back:

Problem #1: Flash ads probably don’t work. Apple’s mobile devices flat-out don’t support Flash. If half of your ads are Flash ads (which may be conservative for many of you), there goes half of your banner ads on mobile.

Solution: Start right now to create or require advertisers to provide alternate versions for every Flash ad. Now your mobile customers can receive (and click on) your site’s ads.

Problem #2: Your 3 or 4 column layout is unusable on mobile devices. Perhaps half of your users will stick it out anyway and do the zooming and funny scrolling in order to read your content. Still, now you’re down to about 25% of your potential impressions.

Solution: Make a mobile template (or “theme”) for your site, provided that you’re using a content management system that make this possible. This will help organize your site on a mobile device. Now customers can see your content and ads will be positioned where they will be seen.

Problem #3: If readers have to zoom to read your content, they probably won’t even see banners that happen to be on the edges of the site (top, bottom, and right side) — where most banners tend to be. Now, you’re pretty much left with non-Flash banners that are in the main content area of your site. If you have 1 top and 1 side banner, now we’re down to a very small fraction of ads on a standard desktop site that actually stand any chance of being seen on a smartphone.

Solution: Auto detect when users visit your site from a mobile device. Run mobile-specific ads on your mobile site. The decreased screen space makes it essential for you to resize and reconfigure ads that were originally designed for desktop browsers.

Depending on your site’s content management system, you may only be looking at a 1 or 2 day project to implement all three of these steps and gain your share of the rapidly growing mobile audience.


This article is part of the May issue of Niched Out News. To read the rest of the issue, click below:

Master Media Buyers’ Personalities to Make the Sales

Be Mobile-Friendly to Reach More Customers – Mobi-fy Your Site!

E-Newsletter Layout: Three Things that Should Appear in the Preview Pane View

Success Story of the Month: Lessiter Publications Takes Business on the Road with The Magazine Manager

Niche Notes from the Grand Poobah

Magazine of the Month: Scaffold & Access