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Lack of Scale is the Real Problem for Tablet Ads, Not Just Metrics

To hear IAB tell it, the mobile ad measurement landscape is highly fragmented, populated by many players including carriers, publishers, hardware makers, OS providers, ad networks and app stores. Technology has not caught up, in short, with the huge growth in mobile and no where is this more true than tablets.

To that end it announced two initiatives that it hopes will provide more support to tablet advertising. These are the "First Tablet Buyers Guide for the U.S. Mobile Marketplace", a roadmap for marketers and agencies to navigate the tablet market, and a call for submissions for the IAB Tablet Creative Advertising Showcase.

This is an interactive creative gallery slated to launch later in October that will highlight the best in tablet advertising in order to educate mobile marketers and inspire even more.

Where is the Scale?

While the industry will no doubt welcome more uniformity in mobile - particular tablet - ads, this initiative won't address what many see is a significant issue to this format: scale.  Tablet adoption is promising, but it may not be widespread enough for marketers that want a certain level of ROI, Chris Paul, VP-group director of media at agency Digitas, recently told BtoB Online. "A lot of advertisers want to put something custom together for the tablet experience but, if you're building it specifically for the tablet and can't really reuse it, is the scale and penetration of tablet ownership at the level right now where it's going to pay off?"

The AdMob Example

The industry has recognized that, however, and is taking steps to offer advertisers greater economies of scale where they can.

Earlier this year Google's AdMob introduced new formats for the tablet. These included interactive videos and 360-degree images as standardized templates. The 'Ad Network Mediation on the AdMob Platfom' - that is, the house ad product - is based on an upgraded version of the AdWhirl mediation platform that AdMob acquired before it was itself acquired by Google, Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land pointed out at the time.

"What this means as a practical matter is that publishers/developers can run ads from any network, including iAd, Millennial, Jumptap, and so on, using AdMob's mediation tools."

Also, there are indications that tablets will become far more commonplace, thanks to Amazon's Kindle Fire. According to Cult of Mac, leaked sales numbers suggest the not-yet released product is poised to outsell the iPad.

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