“We’re Approaching A Tipping Point For Mobile Advertising”: IAB CEO Vijay Solanki

“We’re Approaching A Tipping Point For Mobile Advertising”: IAB CEO Vijay Solanki

In this opinion piece by Vijay Solanki, IAB Australia’s CEO, he explores the evolution of mobile, advertising on the platform and why the industry must be ‘simple but complex’.

Karen Terranova
Posted by Karen Terranova

I’m at the front end of my ‘First50’ tour where I’ve set myself the challenge of meeting with 50 key organisations and stakeholders to listen and understand what the priorities of the IAB should be.  As these pages noted my First50 tour is all about listening but I’ve decided to momentarily break my self-imposed silence (in my third week!) to address a topic that we need to start talking about.

I recently attended my first official event as CEO of the IAB.  Organised by our Mobile Council, the event focused on mobile creativity and it highlighted three things that are worthy of comment.

Firstly the incredible advances in mobile advertising that were showcased by the speakers.  It’s all a far cry from where we were as an industry even two years ago, let alone when I cut my mobile teeth at Shazam in 2003 and the height of mobile creativity was a service that sent you a text message in response to pre-recorded music via a ‘dumb’ phone.

The evolution of mobile UX has spawned a whole new discipline of proposition development, user requirements; agile methodology, MVP definition, UX design, graphic design, enabling tech (architecture/software/testing) and data.

Secondly it is clear we have all of the elements in place to suggest we are approaching a tipping point for mobile advertising. Mobile now represents 65 per cent of all time spent online and I think we are all in agreement (or should be) with Mary Meeker’s 2016 deck which identifies a US$22 billion dollar mobile advertising opportunity and her belief that advertisers aren’t using mobile as much as they should.

But for me, my third observation is the critical one.  Whilst the room was packed it was predominantly adtech, agencies and mobile specialists – all the people that know this topic quite well already.  Marketers were seriously under represented.

Now perhaps their absence was an anomaly of that particular day, but I’m inclined to think it’s actually representative of one of the biggest barriers to the evolution of mobile advertising:  a lack of understanding by marketers themselves on how to execute an effective mobile advertising campaign – and a lack of understanding of why it’s so important for them to understand.

Maybe it’s because mobile advertising is still somewhat tainted by the mistakes of the past and often put into the ‘too hard’ basket, but if ever there was a time to take mobile out of the hard basket it is now.

This is at the heart of the simple but complex paradoxsomething that our industry has to start dealing with.

Senior executives and those in the C-Suite who are less knowledgeable about digital want a simple explanation about everything.  Once agencies start talking tech stacks, Hadoop databases and HTML considerations, they switch off.

And yet – technology is the new armoury of the modern marketer, so every marketer no matter how senior, needs to go out of their way to understand mobile, the most ubiquitous of consumer platforms.

It’s a classic example of opposing forces needing to meet in the middle. Survival in the mobile advertising world demands it.

Specialist agencies and mobile technology companies need to start to simplify the language they use to describe their mobile technology considerations and start providing evidence based show and tell.  Senior marketers and their corresponding agency staff are going to need to make a commitment to learn.

This is something I know the IAB can help with and I’m looking forward to speaking with many of you about these and other challenges in the coming months during my First50 tour.

What other digital challenges do you face in your business?  I’d love to hear from marketers so please take a moment and send me your thoughts at CEO@IABAustralia.com.au.