I spent the last two days at the Sprint Open Solutions Conference as a guest of Sprint which is the third largest US mobile operator. The event, which used to be called the Sprint Developer Conference, has been broadened to include more business related content but there are still many technical sessions targeted at consumer and enterprise mobile app developers.
There were a couple of interesting presentations on mobile advertising. It's no secret that the revenue per click or impression from ads on mobile apps and mobile websites is about a tenth of what desktop ads deliver. The main reason for that is that advertisers and agencies are not sold on mobile advertising. Although mobile advertising spend is growing at a rate of 50% per year, it's still miniscule when compared with advertising as a whole. 23% of all US media consumption is on mobile devices, but only 1% of ad budgets go toward mobile advertising! As a result, there are too few ads to go around making mobile advertising a buyers market. What will it take to increase mobile spending? I think three things are holding mobile advertising back; poor targeting, lousy metrics and a lack of mobile friendly payment methods.
Sprint recently launched a mobile ad network called Pinsight Media+ which aims to improve both mobile ad targeting and metrics for both in-app ads and banner ads on mobile websites. Pinsight has partnered with ad technology company Amobee, mega-agency Digitas and major ad networks including Jumptap and the Nokia Media Network to create an ad delivery platform that it claims offers superior targeting and analytics and delivers better than industry average click through rates and CPM. They also say that they respect users privacy and have made interest based ad targeting opt-in, althoug I think the opt-in requirement may only apply to Sprint subscribers.
Pinsight Media+ operates as an ad aggregator serving ads from its partner ad networks as well as Sprint house ads. App developers and "large" mobile web publishers are encouraged to apply at pinsightmedia.com or developer.sprint.com/dynamicContent/pinsightmedia/ for Sprint developer program members. I couldn't get a definitive answer as to how large a mobile web publisher needed to be to be accepted. For what it's worth, when I identified myself as a publisher serving 600K monthly impressions I was encouraged to apply. Pinsight Media+ can serve ads globally, but according to Pinsight director Dan Polk its most effective with US based traffic, and especially Sprint traffic.
Gallery: Sprint Open Solutions Conference. Click for larger view and description.