Mobile advertising has long been the toughest nut to crack for some of the country's most significant media companies. Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all, in their own ways, wrestled with the challenge of effectively implementing -- let alone monetizing -- advertising on mobile devices, with mixed results at best. As media consumers have migrated increasingly toward the consumption of content via their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, every industry with a stake in online publishing has been striving to untangle the thorny issue of how to effectively generate advertising dollars when readers consume content on-the-go. Business-to-business publishers have been awaiting their piece of the mobile advertising pie as much as any industry, and the wait has often been frustrating. The tide, however, may very well be turning.
In mid-December, American Business Media (ABM), the association of business information companies and a division of the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), which in turn is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, announced the release of its Business Information Network (BIN) Report, an ongoing research project that calculates the size of the industry, considers revenue from trade events, print advertising, digital (online) advertising, and business information products and database services.
The report found that digital advertising surged 24.8% in the first half of 2013, driven in part by the fact marketers are pushing ad dollars into mobile platforms; mobile ad revenues, the report found, rose a startling 145% over the first half of 2013. The report also found that the growth rate of is accelerating -- considering the second quarter of 2013 only, mobile advertising rose 149% compared with the second quarter of 2012.
"What you're seeing is that the ability to serve mobile advertising is catching up with the demand," says Matt Kinsman, the VP of content and programming at ABM.
In a poll of 74 B2B advertisers conducted as part of ABM's research, director of research and content Michael Alterio found that 43% of advertisers were planning to increase their mobile expenditures and 41% were planning to increase their e-newsletter advertising dollars (which is de facto mobile advertising, as consumption of e-newsletters has migrated increasingly to mobile devices).
ABM's Kinsman points to the increasingly simple process of publishing across multiple platforms. "It's possible now to create content once and publish it across all of your channels. This used to be a much more expensive proposition, and the increased ease and relatively low cost of publishing across platforms is one factor driving the growth of mobile advertising for B2B publishers."
Kinsman says that a well-balanced mobile advertising strategy for B2B publishers includes a mix of sponsorships, lead generation, and CPM (clicks per impression). He points to the Farm Journal, a publication that serves the U.S. agriculture industry, as an example of a B2B publisher with a mobile advertising strategy that takes its readerships' mobile habits into consideration. In addition to mobile apps and e-newsletter advertising, Farm Journal utilizes SMS texting -- pushing polls and updates to its readership -- as an additional mobile channel, in large part because a significant number of the farmers who read the publication use mobile phones that don't have web-browsing capabilities.
The first step toward implementing a mobile advertising strategy, according to the folks at ABM, is recognizing that mobile advertising is itself not a standalone strategy; in other words, the mobile web presents the capability of integrating both an advertising strategy as well as the workflow to support it.
"By utilizing the mobile web," says Kinsman, "publishers have the capability of delivering content -- including advertising -- across all of their platforms simultaneously." In essence, the technology to integrate the same sort of web experience that consumers are accustomed to on a desktop into a mobile device has begun, at last, to allow the long-awaited promise of mobile advertising revenue to begin to bear fruit.
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)