Coming Together: A Sneak Peek at IAB Mobile Rising Stars Judging
Peter Minnium did a great job of gathering about 50 ad industry professionals of various digital make-ups in the same room. He certainly had a good reason: voting for the new Mobile Ad Standards doesn’t happen very often. Consequences are long-lasting.
Mobile is an interesting area. Amount of time users spend on their smartphones and tablets is not proportional to the amount of knowledge that either marketers or agencies have about how to effectively reach via mobile those same consumers. We’ve seen a lot of formats during the course of the day. At the end, I was not sure anymore what a format means. It seems I was not the only one—my confusion has apparently shared by a lot of entrants, too. There were quite a few solutions that resembled a Content Management System (CMS) more than a mobile ad. Others looked (and were) very expensive solutions, more expensive than we are used to seeing spent for an ad. Some suffered from non-intuitiveness and usability challenges. There were very, very good ones, of course—but I can’t reveal those until the winners are announced soon!
Our task was to pick a half-dozen Mobile Ad Standards that will work across the mobile ecosystem so that any stakeholder can develop a creative concept for a single mobile ad unit. The idea was that, in the future, these standards would allow wide mobile ad buys, aligned in the scale and scope with the online ones. (I can see the clients already getting excited). All of this is new.
New things usually happen by experimentation, testing different hypotheses and learning from results. Trying to replicate the process in the course of six hours is difficult, but not impossible. Diverse group of people, from various backgrounds, specialties, and points of view create a robust discussion where different perspectives are challenged, questioned, or supported. All of us there knew that our opinions count, and furthermore, that we will be held accountable for what comes out of that room. It made us even more critical and bold in our feedback. That was hopefully a good thing.
My overall takeaway is that innovation is hard. Replacing 2D mobile banners into immersive and engaging new ad units that utilize the full potential of mobile behaviors will take time. The standards will be updated. Ads will hopefully become more integrated into the overall mobile user experience and more naturally aligned with the user navigation as they intuitively move through content, commerce and communities. It won’t be something that needs to be swiped in a specific way or, something that provides islands of peculiar experience separated from everything else. Companies creating fully interactive banners will think more about how to get users to their banners as much as they are thinking what happens in banners once users click, or swipe, or do whatever the vendor envisioned them to do to start the experience. Tech back-end development, production costs and platform and OS hurdles will be slowing the process down, too. So will the education of 25-year old media buyers used to repeating the same buying practices and relying on the proven sources of revenue.
We are clearly just at the beginning. But the best thing about the beginnings is that they give you something to start from.
About the Author
Ana works as Digital Strategist at Droga5 in New York. Before joining Droga, Ana worked at HUGE, Inc, Razorfish, The Barbarian Group, AKQA and Wunderman. Her work has been focused on digital branding, digital marketing, and digital content strategies for clients like Citibank, Nokia, Toyota, CNN, Target, Maybelline, and Burberry. Ana is a frequent contributor to AdAge, where she writes about digital marketing, and also shares her thoughts on her blog, I [love] marketing. Her presentations included Miami Ad School, Hyper Island Master Class, and Social Media Week. You can find her on Twitter @andjelicaaa.