The $20B Debate on Mobile Advertising
In a report, titled Internet Trends, published by Mary Meeker and Liang Wu on May 2012 and presented during the All Things Digital conference, Mary Meeker has made a bold projection. Meeker projects a $20B-worth mobile advertising opportunity in the U.S. The report essentially tackled on modern-day Internet growth, as well as the development of various trends, such as mobile internet, social media and specific economic trends.
However, Jean-Louis Gassée of Monday Note has published an article/blog post which challenges Meeker’s wild and colossal $20B projection. A few of the questions he raised in blog are the following:
- If opportunity here translates to “unfulfilled potential”, then why does this potential remain unfulfilled, given that more than a few industry players do have access to funds and sophisticated tools necessary for its realization?
- The first iPhones were introduced to the market in 2007 which means that smartphones have been around for approximately five years. Given that Android and iOs phones have been selling like hotcakes in recent years, why has mobile advertising not skyrocketed in the same manner?
Gassée furthers his discussion by saying that there is a difference between web advertising on a desktop and the smaller-screened smartphone, but it’s easy to forget this because, as he puts it, the industry is caught in a trite -thought pattern: The new thing is like the old thing, only smaller or bigger.
This then translates to: Smartphones are just like desktops or laptops, only smaller. This is exactly why most mobile ads are simply “shrunk-to-fit” versions of PC advertising. He also opines that with mobile ads, it’s not only that they are smaller, they also lack expression, enticement and, if anything, all they do is annoy the smartphone user. He also points out that people who surf the web using their smartphones are always on the go. And if smartphone users are more inclined to have divided attentions, respectively speaking, how will these ads get noticed?
This is why, he says, the $20B projection by Meeker is a mirage – an imaginary vision, or in simple terms, wishful thinking.