The Future of Advertising As We Know It

Lon-Otremba-headshotBy Lon Otremba, CEO, Bidtellect

Few people in the advertising world today would reasonably dispute that mobile devices now represent greater than half of where consumers now occupy their time in front of a screen; the real question has been how to make advertising work given that reality. While we know that time spent on mobile devices continues to climb rapidly, the flow of ad dollars there has not kept pace.  Nor have consumers shown a widespread acceptance of mobile advertising, at least when compared to advertising in forms like TV and desktop. At best, consumers tolerate mobile advertising’s presence on their devices, but heaven forbid they would actually click on a mobile ad intentionally.

There are several reasons for this, but chief among them is the simple fact that if you’re an advertiser, moving standard display ads from a desktop to mobile screen is not something consumers like very much.  The ad industry itself is rapidly innovating to bring new advertising approaches to the table that will be better received by consumers, because all the players know that in the not too distant future, mobile won’t merely be a majority, but will dominate how consumers access information, consume media, and transact commerce.  So a successful advertising model has to be in there somewhere.  Here are three big trends to look for in a mobile-dominated advertising future:

  1. Effective mobile advertising must find a way to take advantage of what’s unique about a mobile device. In much the same way effective and engaging mobile content does, advertising should do the same.  What does that mean exactly?  Location, portability, use of finger and hand gestures, haptic feedback, two-way communications – just a few examples of capabilities that are unique to mobile devices.  The advertising needs to take advantage of these capabilities, and it will.
  2. Websites need to use responsive design so that content accessed by consumers is well received on a mobile device. In short, content, which after all, is the wrapper for the advertising, must be easy to read and engage with on mobile.   And a screen that is 3 inches by 5 inches is simply too different from my desktop’s 27 inch to accommodate the same ads.  Content creators have begun to embrace “the feed” as a great publishing paradigm on mobile.  So much so that we are now starting to see a feed approach on desktop as well.  And in 2015, ads will feed the feed.
  3. Native advertising – ads that follow the form and function of the content – will come to dominate mobile advertising. Already some of the best mobile advertising that appears within mobile games, for example, is so natively embedded that the ads themselves are a natural – and very effective – advertising medium.  But that’s just the start, as you’ll see in-feed ads that feel native to the page running everywhere, as consumers have shown acceptance of them and the advertisers will continue to shift more dollars to advertising approaches that actually work.

Is the industry truly prepared for a future where mobile is dominant?  As the illustrious and quotable Yogi Berra once said, it’s tough making predictions, especially about the future.  But we’re getting there for sure.

About the Author: In January 2014, Bidtellect welcomed Lon Otremba as its Chief Executive Officer. With over 20 years of experience in media, Lon is a veteran operating executive and adviser in the internet publishing, mobile, and broadcast music industries and a well-known pioneer in interactive media. As CEO, Lon is responsible for overseeing the overall strategy and growth of the company. Prior to joining Bidtellect, Lon was CEO, North America of Beintoo SpA, a mobile engagement technology company based in Milan, Italy. He joined after selling them a portfolio of mobile ad technology products he helped develop and patent while he was CEO of Tylted, a social gaming community on the mobile web. During his time there, Tylted’s games grew into communities where millions gathered and connected on their mobile devices. Tylted attracted more than 10 million unique monthly visitors, and more than half a billion page views, each month. Tylted was sold to investors in early in 2013. Before joining Tylted, Lon served as Chairman and CEO of Access 360 Media, expanding its digital TV network to stadiums and entertainment venues worldwide. Prior to Access 360, he served as CEO of Muzak, guiding the company’s transformation into the world’s largest provider of commercial music services. Before that, he served as Executive Vice President of AOL’s Interactive Marketing Group, shaping the media giant’s online advertising strategies and successfully directing a comprehensive, aggressive evaluation and re-build that helped to re-establish AOL as a leader in interactive media, create alignment in their sales and operations teams, and re-start revenue growth. Lon was also the founding COO and President of, and before that the founding EVP of CNET Networks.  Over the course of his career he has served on a number of corporate and industry boards, including the Executive Committee of the IAB.  He is a frequent commentator on interactive marketing and operating strategies.