During today’s guest lecture regarding search engines, we touched upon the matter of advertising in cell phones. This article, concerning a patent from Apple about how to keep segments of a movie clip locked until an ad has been shown, made me interested in mobile TV ads. This post will therefore cover the topic of advertising for mobile TV.
As experienced by all readers of this post, TV ads interrupt programs as well as occur in-between programs. They are not interactive at all, all they can do is urge you to visit a website. They do however have a great reach and the potential to spark conversations through creative executions.
In Rubinson’s article “Empirical Evidence of TV Advertising Effectiveness” (Journal of Advertising Research, June 2009, pp 220-226), it is concluded that the effectiveness of TV advertising has not decreased since 1990. Rubinson discusses and implicitly dismisses previous findings indicating lower effectiveness. These include the fact that viewers now can control their ad exposure through DVRs; their dislike for ads; the rapid increase in ads; and the lack of attention paid to ads. The article finishes by stating that the main purpose of TV advertising should be to create brand awareness.
Mobile TV and Ads
Mobile TV is in essence a one-person experience, due to limited screen space and sound capabilities. The difference in attention paid to the viewed content is hard to determine: although it’s easier to disregard the small screen of a handheld device, it can be argued that it’s a more active choice to view content on the mobile, thus making the user less likely to focus on other things. This assumes that the viewer chooses what program or clip to watch, rather than live streaming from a TV channel.
How to Approach Mobile TV?
Mobile TV changes the game, so why not change the way we look at ads in this medium? I believe we’re in an early phase currently, with low adoption rate due to limited availability of capable devices. This leads me to recommend a different, more intimate approach during this phase. After that, provided that the popularity of mobile TV increases, the ads can be changed toward a more mass-market oriented one.
Move beyond TV; you’re on a mobile phone! Use the GPS; entice the user to enter your webpage; make the user tweet and share your message; connect with your outdoor advertising. I believe that the key to success is creative, integrated and smart campaigns. Be humorous, be relevant.
In more detail, I suggest that the ads are partially based on location. Imagine sitting on the train approaching Centralstationen in Stockholm and suddenly you’re exposed to an ad for a nice lunch restaurant. Is it unlikely that that will be your top-of-mind choice when you’re moving up Maslow’s steps? Furthermore, add links that the user can click, buy that extremely small banner space and connect it to your ad with a concise message. Let the user quickly share something to her social network (I’m thinking a commercial for a travel agency letting you take a picture of yourself, with the backdrop being an exotic island) and then get back to the show. We have to realize that we’re in the borderline between internet and TV.
I believe in mobile TV. With this post, I wanted to jot down a few of my thoughts regarding how to make it more attractive for advertisers as well as how they can view it. Much is overlooked, some is underdeveloped and there might even be parts that are horrendously wrong. Please feel free to add your comments. I wish to return to the topic and develop my thoughts and for that, all feedback is greatly appreciated.