This morning’s post features guest blogger, Paul Jacobs, fresh from trips to Dallas for the Borrell Local Mobile Advertising Conference, PRPD in Denver, as well as “The Radio Show” in D.C. Here’s his perspective on monetizing mobile:
Last week I attended the Borrell Local Mobile Advertising Conference in Dallas, an event that no one could have imagined two years ago. Think about it: the iTunes App Store opened in July 2008, and here we are, just slightly more than two years later, and close to 200 media and advertising executives gathered to compare notes and learn about the trends in mobile revenue generation.
One of the key themes of the conference was the proliferation of mobile coupons. In session after session, we heard success stories and were able to peek at what’s around the corner. As our clients well know, the trendlines with digital coupon use are nearly vertical, and the mobile device is the perfect gadget to close the gap between hearing an advertisement and taking action.
I was there to share radio’s progress in the mobile revenue space, and it’s a promising story. Regardless of market size, ownership, or format, the radio industry has done a solid job jumping into mobile with “first generation” apps – apps that stream, provide various levels of connectivity to the audience, and in some cases, feature cool content beyond a stream.
Companies like Entercom are doing an impressive job of not only conceiving creative mobile apps, but also showing success in generating revenue in creative ways.
(Full disclosure – our jacAPPS division developed the Entercom apps).
Radio provides a variety of mobile advertising models, whether aggregated (iHeartRadio), or “stationalized,” like our jacAPPS program. Stations are utilizing banners, rotating panels, embedded logos, and more. Not too shabby, but there’s a bigger story to tell.
I was joined in my session by Doug Sterne, VP of Audio Sales for Pandora (pictured). A radio veteran, Doug is smart, solid, and knows the game well. And his talents are in-sync with the product he’s marketing. Along with 65 million users, Pandora is aggressively developing ad platforms that are leaping ahead of broadcast radio in the area of mobile monetization. They are combining video, audio, and other creative treatments and are providing compelling solutions for advertisers. In the process, they are developing a local advertising strategy that is going to make an impact.
For those of you who were at the NAB/RAB Radio Show and saw “Goin’ Mobile,” you witnessed how Pandora also has tapped into the emotions of radio listeners. Online – and in the hearts of growing legions of listeners – we are competing with Pandora every day for attention.
This is a two-front battle for radio, and it’s time to take action. On the content side, radio apps need to move to the second generation . . . . quickly. Providing a stream on a mobile device isn’t enough. Stations need to feature creative content that will motivate a guy at a bar to pull out his smartphone and show an app to his buddy on the next stool. Radio needs to design and build apps for local market and station events. Radio requires apps that target specific lifegroups – why shouldn’t a station create an app that provides local ski reports or an up-to-the-minute entertainment guide?
And on the sales side, radio needs to rapidly either re-train existing sellers or find/develop reps who understand mobile, know how to communicate with digital decision-makers, and can compete effectively with pros like Doug Sterne.
The digital world is changing – rapidly. Gone are the days where radio account executives needing training for prospecting or understanding the differences between cume and AQH.
The world of mobile is racing ahead and there will be consequences for lagging behind. Pandora is the real deal, and let’s not forget, advertisers – and listeners – have other options as well. Radio has dipped a big toe in the mobile waters, but more proactive strategies and tactics are necessary to ensure that the industry isn’t left in the digital dust.
We need to more than just develop apps that turn an iPhone into a Walkman.