Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mobile Advertising – Offering the Right Ad

Some blogs back we covered the subject of getting the right ad to the mobile user and concluded that things will get better if ad query requests are tagged better and mobile ad networks improve as far as inventory and fill rates. The big if is that the right ads have to be there in the first place. In order for this to happen, advertisers need no only to offer the right ads but have the tools so that they can do it. Sounds obvious, but we are not quite there yet.

Mobile advertising has the potential to deliver more relevant ads than most other media. After all, a lot is known about the mobile user, their location and even in what application and where within each application the ad will be placed. The only thing missing is that this information is made available to the advertiser in real time. Why real time? It is all about context matching. In mobile, the context is continually changing not just based on the user moving around but also as the user switches between mobile web sites and applications.

Microsoft, as it is launching Windows Phone 7, is addressing this opportunity by rolling out the first bid based ad exchange. This finally moves mobile advertising to a stage where ad buyers are fully informed about the context in which the ad is shown. It also brings real-time bidding to mobile following the industry trend in web advertising. Several ad networks are on board the Microsoft effort and there is little doubt that real time bidding will migrate to the mass market of mobile advertising. At mJetz we are ready to integrate these capabilities when they are available. By using our superior context generated keyword approach we will be Offering the Right Ad to our users.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Save us from our mobile User Interface and User Experience!

Innovations in mobile user interfaces/user experiences (UI/UE) happen at a slow and somewhat unsteady pace. The iPhone UI with it’s effortless finger-navigation and screen expansion was certainly innovative. But other parts of the mobile phone UI/UE seem to be nearly immune from innovation. A good example of this is the icon matrix home page that has been with us for ten years. The iPhone simply added pages and pages of icons – which was duly copied by all other smart phone UIs. Another example is the phone browser that seems to be immune to innovation and has gone through little change since WAP days. The rendering is better and we can now zoom in and out on some browsers but cumbersome bookmarks and tabs remain. The iPhone again addressed the bookmark problem by turning bookmarks into apps and placing them on the icon matrix home page – thereby making the home page unwieldy and creating a different discovery probblem. This funny ad spoofs the typical user experience on current phones and poses the question as to whether things will remain the same.

From Microsoft 7 Mobile’s perspective the answer is of course no, but rather than describing the ins and outs of this new and slightly different user experience, let us take a look at some of the new underlying innovation that they bring to the table as they try to create a Glance and Go instead of a Stop and Stare user experience:

• Simple minimalistic design – fewer Tiles (icons)
• Active Application Tiles - glance to see changes
• Application Hubs – related apps in one hub for an integrated experience
• Hubs for integrated core services - social networking, messaging
• Personalize look and feel - your tiles - your way
• Dedicated Universal Search button (apps, sites, feeds)

While some things remain the same (like a home page with pages of icons/tiles) there is enough innovation to save us from our current User Interface and create an improved User Experience. At mJetz we already incorporate these concepts and will bring it to all phones - we even replace the static home page with an expanding user experience. More about this in a later blog!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mobile Advertising – Getting the Right Ad!

At a Mobile Monday last week in Boston, representatives from the advertising industry discussed what brands are doing in mobile today. The panel discussion was sobering. Despite a lot of hype, mobile advertising has yet to become an established part of the media marketing mix. In mobile there is still a void in ‘standardized’ reporting that big advertisers and media buyers want to see. This contrasts to web advertising where the types of measurement and response systems advertisers are used to have been implemented. Advertisers want to know who will be seeing their ads and what the associated response metrics are. Is this so hard to satisfy?

Right now the answer seems to be yes. The current state of most mobile ad networks is that an advertiser is able to create ads without supplying targeting keyword tags beyond the most rudimentary of subject, language and country – even those are not enforced or available much of the time. This lack of keyword tags means that ad queries, even if they have keywords closely associated with the type of user (age, sex, interest) and context (time, place), are either not served ads at all or are served generic ads that only meet one or two keywords. The result is irrelevant ads or no ads.

The good news is that things will change for the better as mobile advertising is just where web advertising was 10-15 years ago. This was the era before industry accepted keyword target matching mechanisms and reporting systems appeared. Today, the web advertiser is able to effectively target the audience they want and directly track results. So how long do we have to wait?

At mJetz we have the ability to generate very sophisticated keywords directly associated with the user and the context of the ad. In order to make sure that the right ad is served, we are building logic that allows us to select ad networks in real time based on the relevance of the ads that they serve. This logic will monitor which ads are being served thereby continually improving the quality and relevance of the ads the user sees. We are also able to measure the direct results of ads based on user type, context and placement within the mJetz application. Together with the ongoing improvement of ad networks, ad application logic will over time ensure that the right ad gets delivered to the user.