The Google-Apple War Over Mobile Ad Space: Ultimately Pointless?


At Adotas, Peter Koeppel writes on how the Apple-Google war over mobile advertising space could ultimately prove to be an exercise in futility as that particular advertising niche could very well amount to nothing more than a dud.

With smartphones becoming the new industry standard among most consumers, companies are eyeing a new channel to reach potential customers: Mobile. Currently, the two most-noted titans duking it out for profits in this emerging niche are Apple and Google (as they also have the buzzworthiest smartphones–the iPhone and the Android.)

Whereas television and internet had no problem becoming useful vehicles for companies to reach consumers, mobile might prove to be a little more difficult. The limitations of mobile are pretty tangible: Small screens, split-second attention spans of prospective customers, limited technology. But a fundamental question is whether users of smartphones will tolerate any advertisements on a medium that’s not provided to them free of charge, but that they have to pay to keep working.

The commercial viability of mobile ad space appears limited. Unless offers are easy to pursue, inexpensive, or somehow complimentary to the brand of smartphone already in use–like an app from the Apple Store for an iPhone–they’ll be regarded as a multimedia nuisance, alienating the customers from the brand altogether. But more than that, advertisers will have to think intuitively–creating applications useful enough to reinforce the brand. And even then, most of these apps will have little lasting value, apart from a novelty effect.

Otherwise, how do you fashion an effective advertisement for a screen that measures under four inches diagonally?