Mobile advertising - walk the talk
Many people are writing about mobile advertising- who's getting it right, who will win and what the forecasts for 20XX will be - but are these people also using mobile advertising? In this post, I want to highlight the difference in the mobile advertising industry between those who do and those who talk about doing.
Know your trade
Back in 1999, when I was working at Telstra in their ecommerce area (remember when we used to speak about "e commerce"...) I was one of the few evangelists in Telstra who really "got" the Internet, and was not only actively promoting it, but also using it. In order to have a total view on how to create and use websites, I asked the business website product manager at the time for a website package account - so I could set up my own domain name, website, email address etc and start playing with what has now become my personal website at www.andrewgrill.com.
It may seem strange in 2008 that I even talk about this, but today many of my contemporaries are still using Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail as personal email addresses (no issue with this - just making a point). Many blog sites I visit are hosted as subdomians of wordpress.com or blogger.com sites - meaning that few bloggers today, apart from those professional sites such as SMStextnews.com and mobhappy.com actually use their own domains.
If you are reading this and have not yet claimed your own domain (such as yourname.com or yourblogname.com) then you should do this, if nothing else to understand the process - but more importantly to claim your piece of cyberspace. Going further, why not host your email from this domain - meaning that no matter where you live or work, your personal address will stay the same. Organisations such as Fasthosts (and countless others worldwide) have simple email and domain packages for less than $50/year that will provide you the ability to have your own @mydomain.com type email address. I've been using my @ andrewgrill.com for personal email for 9 years (and have had a website for the last 14 years), and have not needed to change it as I moved employers, ISPs and even country.
So what's my point?
When it comes to mobile advertising, the number of mobile enabled blogs I come across can be counted on a few fingers. This speaks to the major point of this post. To truly understand the total mobile advertising experience, how can you do this unless you are both a mobile publisher and a mobile advertiser? Those of you still with me will by now be saying - but what is the point - I have nothing to sell. Well unless you know how hard or easy it is to set up and run mobile advertising campaigns (how targeting works, device support, CPM, landing pages etc etc) how can you possibly convince your customers to do the same?
Frankly, this issue has worried me for a while - I keep talking about mobile advertising (here on my blog, at conferences, in the media and to my peers), but even I wasn't walking the talk. To rectify this, I became a mobile publisher and advertiser overnight. The day .mobi domains were available in 2006, I grabbed andrewgrill.mobi. As a first phase, and very basic .mobi site, I used the dotmobi site builder to create a simple mobile friendly site. Next I used mippin.com to build a mobile version of my blog. While on mippin, I was offered the ability to "monetise" the site. At fist glance, I had no reason to put ads on the site - I hardly expect 1000's of people to visit my mobile site - but then a voice inside me said "walk the talk".
DIY Mobile advertising
With that, I followed the simple instructions to open an Admob account, get a siteID and enable ads on my mippin.com/andrewgrill mobile site. While signing up for the Admob publisher account, it seemed pretty easy to add the smarts to my own site, so I set about creating mobile ads on andrewgrill.mobi, It was all pretty painless and all I needed was a little knowledge of HTML and the ability to publish files on my website, which I can do via Microsoft Front Page. Having done this, I also set up some mobile ads (promoting the mobile version of my blog), and when running through this process, I was able to quite tightly target where my ads would appear by region, and even by device type. Only by going through this process as both a mobile publisher and now a mobile advertiser was I able to clearly understand not only what is involved, but also what is possible.
Now I feel more equipped to "walk the talk" about mobile advertising, and I now have a platform to experiment with. Next I will be looking at different keywords, banner ads, as well as mobile SEO.
I recently had a conversation along the same lines with fellow tweeter, Kim Dushinski who has just set up her own mobile site m.mobiletude.com. In a very simple way, Kim promoted the new site (she's in the US) saying "Happy to announce: MobileTude: A Mobile Magazine for Busy Women. If you are a busy woman and have mobile internet visit m.mobiletude.com". Kim is also using admob and has built her mobile site using MoFuse.
Some of you may be wondering why I have not mentioned Google AdSense for mobile. At about the same time I signed up for an Admob account (and had it automatically opened in seconds), I applied for a Google AdSense account (I have been an AdWords customer for about 8 years and have an active account). They said that they could not find my andrewgrill.mobi site - so could not open an account for me! Essentially Google said do not pass go, do not collect £200 - you're fired! Well - they won't get any of my business - perhaps I will try again so I can experience the AdSense for mobile experience.
So I would recommend that as a minimum, if your day job or your hobby involves trying to convince others that mobile advertising is alive and well and will work, you should experiment with mobile sites of your own, as well as become a mobile publisher and advertiser. I also recommend that you buy and read Chetan Sharma's excellent book "Mobile Advertising Supercharge Your Brand In The Exploding Wireless Market". It is simply excellent and is a must read for anyone in this space.