Mon­day (11÷9) at the annual Black­berry Dev Con, RIM announced a new ser­vice for app pub­lish­ers and adver­tis­ers—Black­Berry® Adver­tis­ing Ser­vice. The announce­ment marks a sig­nif­i­cant shift towards mea­sur­a­bil­ity and action-oriented adver­tis­ing in a chan­nel well suited to both—mobile. Using the ser­vice, devel­op­ers can eas­ily inte­grate high-value adver­tis­ing to mon­e­tize their apps, adver­tis­ers can spark action-oriented response to cam­paigns (add to cal­en­dar, add to con­tacts, down­load app, etc.), and the entire ecosys­tem has a sin­gle (unbi­ased) mea­sur­ing stick for suc­cess. Here’s a rel­e­vant excerpt from the release:

    “With the Black­Berry Adver­tis­ing Ser­vice, RIM plans to pro­vide devel­op­ers with access to a large pool of qual­ity and inno­v­a­tive ad units from trusted top tier and spe­cialty adver­tis­ing net­works such as Jump­tap, Lat49, Mil­len­nial Media, Navteq, 1020 Place­cast, Quat­tro Wire­less and Sym​pa​tico​.ca. The ser­vice will fea­ture ads com­pli­ant with the Mobile Mar­ket­ing Association’s (MMA) guide­lines as well as rich media ads that will be able to deeply inte­grate with Black­Berry appli­ca­tions. Exam­ples of this deep inte­gra­tion between ads and appli­ca­tions will include the abil­ity to eas­ily ini­ti­ate a call from an ad, add a cal­en­dar entry or con­tact entry from an ad, and directly link to an appli­ca­tion in Black­Berry App World™ from an ad. The ser­vice will also include real-time, detailed, con­sol­i­dated report­ing of adver­tis­ing across ad net­works, includ­ing ad impres­sions, clicks, con­ver­sions and earn­ings, as well as inte­gra­tion into the Omni­ture Online Mar­ket­ing Suite™ for more advanced analytics.”

Many chal­lenges adver­tis­ers and pub­lish­ers have faced with respect to mobile adver­tis­ing (low fill rates, low response, CPM/CPC rates mis­aligned with value, etc.) can be linked to treat­ing mobile as just another screen for mar­keters to serve the same web con­tent. Once the mobile chan­nel is treated as a medium with unique capa­bil­i­ties, some pretty amaz­ing things can hap­pen as noted in this blog post about emerg­ing mobile chan­nels. The new RIM ser­vice has strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance for pub­lish­ers and adver­tis­ers because it inte­grates deeply with capa­bil­i­ties unique to mobile while at the same time remov­ing fric­tion from devel­oper imple­men­ta­tion of adver­tis­ing and end-user engage­ment with adver­tis­ing. Here are four rea­sons the new RIM ser­vice makes sense:

Lever­ages action-oriented mobile envi­ron­ment
Nat­ural ori­en­ta­tion of mobile chan­nels towards action-driven inter­ac­tions (what’s the phone num­ber for my favorite restau­rant, when is the upcom­ing con­cert, how do I get from A to B) are rein­forced with the new “click-to-action” ad types.

Pro­vides high-value cam­paign response
Ulti­mately mar­keters want cam­paigns to pro­duce a mea­sur­able impact on their desired audi­ence. In a chan­nel where users are already primed for action, the new RIM ser­vice pro­vides ideal action-oriented ads. For exam­ple, event adver­tis­ers can deploy in-app ads which cre­ate a cal­en­dar event in the device’s cal­en­dar on ad click; or an ad for a local pizza com­pany can cre­ate a con­tact in the address book which loyal cus­tomers can refer back to. In both sce­nar­ios, the action taken has much higher value than a click to a website.

Removes bar­ri­ers gat­ing ad deploy­ment and user inter­ac­tion
As usage trends for mobile ser­vices show, usabil­ity is key—in order to repli­cate the “add to cal­en­dar” sce­nario above with­out the RIM ser­vice, a user would:

    click on in-app ad > be directed to web­site > copy event details > exit browser > launch cal­en­dar > paste event details > con­fig­ure cal­en­dar entry > close cal­en­dar > re-launch app

For adver­tise­ments using the new RIM ser­vice, those steps can now occur from a sin­gle click inside the appli­ca­tion, sig­nif­i­cantly reduc­ing fric­tion between the ini­tial ad inter­ac­tion and com­ple­tion of desired engage­ment.  On the developer/publisher side, sev­eral steps have been removed from the process of inte­grat­ing adver­tis­ing into black­berry apps.

Enables analytic-based cam­paign opti­miza­tion (pre and post “click”)
Finally, RIM has aligned ana­lyt­ics across the ser­vice so mar­keters can accu­rately assess effec­tive­ness of cam­paigns. If you’ve sat on calls as I have where the pub­lisher, plat­form provider, and advertiser/ adver­tis­ing net­work are attempt­ing to line up dis­parate motives and mea­sure­ment method­olo­gies, you under­stand how impor­tant hav­ing a sin­gle (unbi­ased) source of ana­lyt­ics is.

In sum­mery, the new ser­vice has the poten­tial to improve click-through rates, increase CPMs/CPCs, pro­vide higher value to adver­tis­ers, and cre­ate a vir­tu­ous analytic-driven opti­miza­tion cycle.

Ip Pbx
Ip Pbx

There is no doubt that the relationship between apps and ads is strong. I have to wonder when is it enough, and at what point will consumers rebuff the over saturation of advertisements. The good news is that companies create ads that are likely to pique the interest of the user. This makes it easier to distribute content that they may enjoy, and thus be able to use their apps to save the information received in the advert. Finally, there is little doubt that using the RIM service could be beneficial to those who use mobile advertising. In the long term, I'll be interested to see how the optimization of such practices proves to benefit those who embarked on this marketing route.

Ed Hewett
Ed Hewett

Advertising is one way to monetize content but it isn't the only way. It's also not always the best way (social games come to mind). The key point here is to allow users to respond to content (ads or otherwise) in a way that makes sense for the channel. An ad from a pizza joint delivered to a mobile device shouldn't push responding users to the company website. Allowing users to call in an order to the restaurant or add the number in their contacts in response to the ad ultimately delivers more value (and a better user experience).