@ IAB Mobile: Marketing To Smartphones Or Feature Phones?It's Not The Medium, It's The Strategy

David Kaplan
Monday, July 21, 2008; 3:00 PM

If only there were more smartphones in use, there would be a lot more dollars going to mobile advertising, a group of panelists readily agreed on a morning panel at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mobile Leadership Forum in Manhattan. Click-through rates and pageviews are all higher on smartphones. Although those devices are in the minority, Jeff Arbour, VP, Mobile Integration for The Hyperfactory, points out that smartphone web usage is over-indexed. And a few tweaks to a site aimed at smartphone users can make a big difference, Arbour added. For example, he claimed that a minor site redesign to a client's mobile destination led to 2 million more users a week. Asked whether he feels mobile campaigns should be targeted more directly to a distinct demographic of young, early-adopter types, Arbour said while it makes sense to keep in mind who's using devices like smartphones, it makes more sense to consider the products target and use the most relevant medium. "But it's not about the medium, it's the strategy," he said.

-- In defense of WAP: Other panelists concurred, emphasizing that feature phones shouldn't be overlooked. In general, 40 percent of traffic is driven by smartphones. Erin Wilson, director of mobile advertising for Weatherbug, thinks that the WAP audience is becoming more stable, so she doesn't feel the need to cater specifically to smartphone users. Eric Bader, managing partner for Brand In Hand, thinks the important thing is knowing when to say no to a client. The real challenge, said Vladimir Edelman, CEO of Ansible Mobile, is trying to make text messages relevant to emerging markets.

-- The $50,000 question: Half of major marketers told Jupiter that they spend less than $50,000 on a mobile campaign. The big question: how do you get marketers to spend more money on mobile? Eric Bader, managing partner for Brand In Hand, said that he "beats up" on under-performing channels like e-mail and aims to show how he can get higher responses.

-- Android vs. Apple: Both Arbor and Bader said that there's no reason to choose which one will be better for the industry. "They'll both be great." Edelman and Wilson argued for the iPhone as more likely to offer better opportunities for marketers over the next year. Wilson: "The iPhone is already here."

-- CPMs: Edelman: There're a lot of inflated CPMs?anywhere from $25 to $125, which is "completely unsustainable." In general, Bader sees CPMs ranging from around $7 or $8 to $35. You're not seeing the $70 CPMs you were seeing a few years ago."

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