Advertising Age has a hype-busting story today, "Why '08 Isn't Mobile's Year -- Again." Alice Cuneo does a great job exploring five of the major issues for mobile marketing right now, including:
- Limited reach (relative to the web)
- Measurement hurdles
- Complexity of running campaigns, especially ensuring they work on all platforms and devices
- Mobile marketing being considered in a silo
- Lack of a "hallelujah moment" for mobile
All are valid, but some are more valid than others. Here's what I submitted as a comment:
This is a great piece to counter some of the hype out there. The problem is we need to stop calling it "the year for mobile" and instead call it "a year for mobile."
Look at search marketing, for example - which was THE year for it? 2002, when AdWords launched? 2005, when it went mainstream? What was SEM's hallelujah moment? We don't need perfect answers to all five of these issues for this to be a pivotal year for mobile marketing - not THE pivotal year, just an important time in its development.
2008 is a year for mobile. There are fantastic case studies out there of successful ways marketers are using the myriad mobile marketing vehicles: SMS, WAP display ads, search, custom landing pages, games, promotions, video, and voice ads (eg ads on FREE-411). Weather.com's mobile site reports 6MM unique visitors a month, which is more unique viewers than most cable TV programs and more readers than most magazines. Toward the end of the football season, there was a three-day period where ESPN reported more visitors to the NFL section of its mobile site than that section of its website.
All five of the obstacles outlined in Ad Age are being tackled. In 2009, they'll be less of a problem than they are today, and 2010 will be better than 2009. All of these years will be "a year for mobile," just as 2006 and 2007 were; we couldn't be where we are today - even if it's not as far as some would have hoped - without the steps that came before.