How To Monetize Mobile: Stop Being Idiots (by Mark St.Cyr)

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On the subject of advertising unlike most, I’ve actually been in the
conference room making my case to one of the countries definitive ad
agencies whom represented not just a regional or national corporation,
but international. While simultaneously trying to convince both them and
the company they represented on a new untested marketing campaign.

Not only was I successful, that campaign has grown both
exponentially, and is still in force today nearly 25 years later. So on
this subject I believe I have a legitimate stand to voice my opinion.

First off; if eyeballs are considered as the be all – end all, touch
stone, holy grail,  coveted metric that’s pushed down the throat of
anyone that questions a platforms effectiveness for a ROI. (return on
investment) Then why are Facebook® shares down?

They just crossed 1 Billion users last month. Yet, as much as they
wanted it to be a headline with staying power; it was met with little
more than a yawn. It seemed only the people holding shares (which are
still underwater and as of this writing sinking deeper) were trying to
keep the story afloat with a chance for rescue. They couldn’t.

Just for the record Yahoo® still has 700 MILLION monthly users that
continue for what ever the reason to stay. Yet, the ad industry,
financial channels, and most other media guru’s look upon them only
through the lens of a has-been. What, eyeballs don’t apply here? I have
yet to hear 1 person (or ad agency) trying to find the reason why users
have shown loyalty to that platform in the face of such egregious
mismanagement. Maybe someone should start looking there for clues first,
rather than who is the next IPO darling.

Facebook and all the others (Zynga® or fill in the blank) are the
equivalent of sinking ships until they can do one thing: Monetize
mobile. And their views on how this should be done by means of their
track record shows, “They know Nothing!” to paraphrase Sgt. Schultz.

Look at banner ads or pop ups. Are these effective traffic and profit
generators for advertisers? These were heralded game changers for the
ad industry, and the platforms they dominate. For about 10 minutes. Now
you can buy placement of a banner ad by the million for mere pennies
with a possible conversion rate of Zero success into a single sale. I
will contend you have a better shot of a conversion into a sale today
with a fax machine. No, I’m not kidding.

So what do the wizards that now control or run these giant companies
such as Facebook, Yahoo, and others subject one to? Double, triple, or
ad infinitum banner ads, pop ups, or yet the even more creative emails
telling you, “you have notifications pending.” Is this not the lamest
take on “You’ve got mail.” What corporate executive or ad “genius” came
up with that ploy? Hope their bonuses aren’t tied to stock options.

When you or anyone else is on a mobile device, what is the last thing
you want happening? (or what makes you want to throw your device across
a room) I’ll contend it’s this: Waiting for some pop up commercial to
finish before you proceed. Or if you’re in the middle of something when a
pop up covers anything you’re looking at.

This isn’t intrusive advertising. It’s offensive behavior from
amateurs with no other ideas than “Oh Shite! Do something! Anything!”
Even if it’s proven useless.

Computer and mobile device viewing are not a different version of
television or radio engagement. They are different in far more
complicated ways than most understand. (or will admit)

Although some believe that the audio of a television commercial maybe
transferable or useable on radio. They make grave errors of assumption
when they believe they can transfer effectively over to the computer or
mobile device. Which is what nearly everyone is trying; while getting it
worse than wrong in my opinion.

Most so-called “advertising professionals” have no clue or
understanding in areas such that a person will tolerate a static
burdened picture on television as long as the audio is unharmed. However
reverse it as to the audio is static laden yet the picture is perfect,
and people will near immediately turn the channel.

The more one tries to shoehorn (or butcher) commercials from one
medium to another without first understanding the premise that 99% of
them won’t work. Not only will potential customers continue to tune out,
but so will the very same advertisers currently spending today’s
precious ad dollars.

All major companies have some part of their ad budget put aside for
speculative advertising. They may not know what to do, but they’ll throw
something at the space because they understand the potential. That is
what is transpiring today in my view.

However, when that part of the budget runs dry with no meaningful
results to show for it. Facebook and all the others can say goodbye to
getting at the real budget. The real money only gets spent on result
proven campaigns. Period. And once that ends, anything having its
earnings tied to mobile sales conversions will be toast.

It won’t be long (if it isn’t happening already) they’ll get to the
point of not answering the sales calls from the likes of Facebook and
the others. Or start treating these IPO darlings in the same fashion a
mobile user treats an ad. “Just how can I make this thing go away?”

If I channel my inner David Ogilvy, I keep coming to the same
conclusion: The reason why no one has yet been able to monetize mobile
is the people running around and selling advertising have no idea or
understanding what the mobile user wants or doesn’t want; let alone what
they may or may not put up with. What is currently taking place is
nothing more than amateurs hurling vapid ideas against the proverbial
wall. Their answer to this dilemma? Throw more.

The ads, the way one pushes an ad, or the way a company presents
itself to a mobile user with real success has yet to be discovered in my
view. This abomination of using techniques from one media of
advertising to mobile shows not only a lack of creativity, but a pure lack
of vision and understanding on what makes a customer buy.

This notion of how many eyeballs are viewing an ad as its reason for
existence is nothing more than a crock for trying to sell their ad
space to the uninformed. The sole purpose of an ad, any ad, is for
enticing a potential customer to view the advertisers wares with hope
and intention they’ll open their wallet and purchase the advertisers
product. If 10 Billion people view it, yet not one buys; it’s an
abominable failure. Period.

Someone needs to get the guts and scream at their next ad meeting:
“This ain’t working!” However don’t wait for someone in the “coder”
crowd to be the one to start shouting. This will take someone with true
creative vision. Most likely it will come from someone on the outside.

The mobile ad space is just as new of a territory to be discovered as
the silicon chip was to the vacuum tube in my view. And no vacuum tube
manufacturer made the switch successfully (or admitted its validity.) So
forget eyeballs as the holy grail metric. Concentrate more on how to
entice those viewers into opening their wallets. The person or company
that gets that realization at its core will not only break new ground,
they’ll own it!

And just for the record of those thinking, “Yeah but what have you done in
mobile?” Well, I was one of the lone voices to say the iPad® would not
only be a success but revolutionary when everyone from print to
television were pontificating just how smart they were by stating how dumb the
iPad name alone was. I was also one of the first to have a personal
dedicated app for my writings before anyone else. And just for good
measure as of this writing over 2/3rd’s of all the apps available have
never even been downloaded. Mine still routinely is at iTunes®. That puts me in the top-tier of all apps to date.
It’s all in my archives, and the creation date of my app in iTunes
proves my assertions. Just for the record.

© 2012 Mark St.Cyr

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