For the past decade, experts have proclaimed every year to be "the year of the mobile." 2009 was no different, especially after Google bought mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million. However, mobile advertising isn't as successful as predicted...yet.
Mobile advertising is far behind other mediums. It's expected to make up $416 million in America's ad spending this year and search marketing generates the same in about one week.
In fact, fewer than 1 in 5 Americans own a smartphone today.
Those numbers paint a substantial picture for the lack of mobile advertising being produced. Those people who do not own a smartphone are not receiving the mobile advertisements that are targeted at mobile phone customers.
The best way to advertise via phone right now isn't mobile advertisements per-say, but through text messages. Not everyone has a smart phone, but most are able to send and receive texts.
The big picture remains that mobile ad targeting is still in its infancy. Brightkite, a locations-based mobile service and founder of early mobile ad net Enpocket, is trying to change that with a campaign being launched this month.
The campaign includes an application that recognizes the user's physical location and sends their phone a list of nearby attractions.
Aside from the basic fact that mobile advertising hasn't hit its prime yet, the apps that already exist do less than they should. Pizza Hut's recent order-via-phone app is only just touching the problem. Sure, you can order pizza, but there's no realistic way to actually pay for it via iPhone.
Now that the smartphone world has three main branches in Blackberry, iPhone and Android, each will have to be implemented into the advertising world.
CEO Ian Schafer, of the full-service interactive marketing agency Deep Focus, says, "When mobile phones become a payment option, it will be the year of mobile," Schafer continues, "Until that happens, it'll be another display medium." As for right now, apps have a long way to go and much more advertising space to reach.
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