SXSW: Mobile display advertising is dead

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 15 March 2016
The "Lead, Not Follow: The Consumer's Mobile Journey” panel at SXSW.

Mobile display advertising is dead or dying according to SessionM’s chief revenue officer, Bill Clifford, with advertisers needing to think about native solutions on mobile, as well as real-time segmentation.

When asked if there was a particular area in mobile where money is being wasted right now by brand marketers, Clifford was quick to jump on display.

“If you’re buying CPM based banners, you’re wasting your money,” he says. “Mobile display is dead or dying, and networks out there who are selling comodotised banners and trading them at a cash rate or less than that… I would be not be spending money there,” he added.

Clifford explained the network model is good if an advertiser wants scale, but brands needs to work with networks who have the ability to deliver more native experiences in a scalable way.

Clifford was speaking on a panel at South by Southwest (SXSW), titled: “Lead, Not Follow: The Consumer's Mobile Journey”, alongside technology editor for AdWeek, Christopher Heine, executive vice president of marketing for Cricket Wireless, Keith Schumann and president of digital for MEC Global, Shenan Reed.

Reed disagreed with Clifford, saying that she wouldn’t be so harsh, she did add however that it comes back to creative and what brands are doing with the banner.

“What are you doing with that space that you have?” She asked. “Do something that provides me with value. Advertising should be a service at the end of the day, and brands should be giving me something that is a shortcut to something that I want…Make sure you’re putting the right message infront of me at the right time, in the right place.”

The panel also discussed that high on every brands to-do list on mobile is real-time segmentation, where brands are able to communicate with their consumers in real time.

“There isn’t a brand that we’re working with that doesn’t want faster segmentation and the ability to reach a consumer in real time,” Reed says. “Everyone wants to crack that nut and some are doing it really well. Where I see it being done well at the moment is in advertising segmentation and less on-site segmentation, there’s enormous room for growth there.”

From a marketing perspective Schumann explained that the struggle lies in with that real-time communication, what platform is it being driven off, or driven too.

“From a marketer perspective, how do you activate on that?” He asked. “That’s the challenge and I don’t think any of us have figured out how to do that well.

“That’s why I’m very focused on building the platform, that way we can scale, so once we have those insights I have the way to activate it with the consumer.”

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