Jumptap, Mobext, and Razorfish Talk Ad Strategy at Mobile Media Upfront

The rabbit-like spread of smartphones and tablets offers marketers a personal way to reach consumers, but the industry is still sorting out how best to harness this platform. Much like the rise of online advertising, caution and curiosity framed the early days of mobile advertising. Brands might push ads or apps on to smartphones, but that does not mean consumers will buy products, even if they click on the ads.

Paran Johar, the chief marketing officer of Cambridge, MA-based mobile advertising firm Jumptap, spoke with Xconomy recently about the heightened expectations for his industry as companies want to see tangible results from their investments. “Mobile is quickly becoming the first screen,” he said, citing a belief that smartphones and tablets may eventually trump televisions as the first point of contact that publishers and advertisers have with consumers.

Johar founded the daylong Mobile Media Upfront annual conference held on Tuesday in New York at the Helen Mills Center. The conference focuses on ways to commercialize mobile advertising and brought out some 500 attendees and speakers from companies such as Nokia, Condé Nast, and Razorfish. Johar points out that mobile technology is increasingly part of daily life, making it a crucial marketing platform for media, online, and other industries. “For not only [companies such as] ESPN, E! [Entertainment Television], and Facebook, over 50 percent of their traffic is coming from mobile devices,” he said.

Based on such broad adoption of mobile devices, Johar said, advertisers see the medium as a means to deliver more interactive marketing than television ads can offer. “With mobile, you are very actively engaged,” Johar said, which may help marketers combat indifference from the busy public. “A consumer’s appetite for irrelevant advertising is very diminished,” he said.

What’s more, measuring the effectiveness of mobile ads, he said, goes beyond the old barometer of reporting click-through rates when consumers see digital ads. Now companies increasingly want to monitor deeper layers of information such as customer acquisition costs, the cost per download, and post-click paid views. “All these brand metrics are becoming standardized across the mobile advertising ecosystem,” he said.

The growing attention on mobile advertising has led to new collaborations among advertisers and technology companies. During the conference, speaker B. Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement for Kraft Foods, said his company is working with Microsoft and Nokia in a mobile innovations lab. The goal of the partnership, announced in late February, is to help Kraft better take … Next Page »

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