Once upon a time, there were three main places to advertise products and services: radio, television, and print. Although each of these methods offered an effective way to reach consumers, none of them provided a tangible way to gauge whether there was any real return on its investment. Success was based mostly on trial and error—with a good deal of intuition thrown in for good measure.
When personal computers and the Internet entered the picture, the first accurate marketing and advertising metrics were born. Suddenly clicks and click-through rates became the order of the day. But just as marketers began to make sense of Web-based advertising, an entirely new scenario has unfolded: a post-PC era filled with iPhones, iPads and Android devices delivering data 24x7x365 across a variety of mobile form factors.
Following a four-year effort in the incredibly lucrative TV ad business, Google has decided to pull the plug. Traditional TV ads are out – going forward Google plans to focus exclusively on digital. Google has now tried and failed to disrupt the traditional advertising business in print, radio and television. In part, Google’s TV effort was slow to attract new advertisers and more partners to the platform.
“Video is increasingly going digital and users are now watching across numerous devices. So we’ve made the hard decision to close our TV Ads product over the next few months,” Shishir Mehrotra, VP of product at YouTube and video at Google, wrote in a blog post. “We’ll be doubling down on video solutions for our clients (like YouTube, AdWords for Video, and ad serving tools for web video publishers). We also see opportunities to help users access web content on their TV screens, through products like Google TV.”
“The [satellite] and cable operators have excess unsold inventory so it was partially an experiment,” said Derek Baine, senior analyst at SNL Kagan. But Google had a much bigger target than just TV ad sales – it wanted to compete with Nielsen on ratings.
Mobile media has become a critical part of the digital marketing landscape. This isn’t to say that it hasn’t been valuable up until this point – many media buyers will be quick to tell you they’ve had great success with mobile for years. Not until this year, however, does it feel as though mobile is something businesses can no longer afford to overlook.
Why now? In short, we’re running out of time. As with every new media channel mastering mobile isn’t without its share of challenges, but unlike other mediums, mobile doesn’t afford us the luxury of time to figure things out. Earlier this year location software company Yext released an infographic that went a long way toward describing the urgency marketers should be feeling.
• It took 38 years for radio to reach an audience of 50 million consumers, 13 years for television, four years for the Internet, and just two years for the Apple iPhone.
• There are now 5 billion mobile users worldwide – five times more than PC-based Internet users.
• As of last year consumers spend more time interacting with mobile apps than they do on the web, and the average consumer carries a smartphone 23 hours per day.
• Mobile advertising is expected to hit $3 billion by the end of this year.
In the heyday of print advertising, the rules seemed simpler. Competition from television, radio, and other forms advertising was a factor, but each medium was distinct—with its own attributes, value propositions, and measurements. The Web changed all that. Along with the suicidal dilemma of free editorial content, the Web brought in a whole new (and volatile) system of measuring success. Impressions, “eyeballs,” and other metrics became a science—more or less—while the value of traditional display ads seemed to founder.
If early indicators prove true, the rise of multi-function tablets is about to change all that. Although lacking the screen real estate to fully bring back the visual impact of a full color display ad, tablets bring a different level of engagement to advertising. Advertisers are only just beginning to realize this potential.
PCWorld news release
SAN FRANCISCO—Mobile internet service is a major monthly expense for most American consumers, and a very big business for U.S. wireless companies. The marketing machines of those companies are now in high gear, touting their services as the industry transitions from 3G service to the much faster 4G. Problem is, everybody’s service is “4G”, “most reliable”, “biggest”, “fastest” and “best,” if you believe all the names and claims flying about on TV, radio, print media and the Web.“We only hope that the competition eventually translates into better performance and better value for consumers.”
That’s why PCWorld has once again hit the road to measure the real-world performance of the four major wireless services on America’s streets and in its coffee shops. During February and March of this year, PCWorld measured the speeds of the major U.S. carriers’ 3G and 4G wireless services from 130 locations in 13 major U.S. cities.
The tricky thing about any sort of forecast for 2010 is that even though the recession appears, at least on paper, to be near an end, this was no ordinary recession for the media business.
“It’s difficult to separate what’s cyclical and what’s structural,” says eMarketer CEO Geoff Ramsey. That’s undoubtedly true for media like newspapers and radio, which have felt the earth shake beneath them this year. But it’s also true for a still-maturing medium like digital.