Mobile advertising has ‘a case of the sniffles’ as brands figure out relevance: Pubmatic boss

Kirk McDonaldBrands are struggling to find the right “recipe of relevance” in their mobile advertising, the president of Pubmatic, a programmatic trading firm, has said.

Kirk McDonald, the former digital president of Time and now the New York-based global president of Pubmatic, said in conversation with Mumbrella yesterday that the travails of mobile advertising to win over consumers is “just a cycle we’re going through” as an emerging industry.

Mobile advertising, he said, “has not found the right recipe of relevance required by advertisers to engage in a conversation about the intelligent use of data or location ID to make ads as relevant as they need to be.”

“It’s just cycle we’re going through as we learn. It’s been test and learn from the start, and innovation comes through that,” he said, commenting on the way the mobile industry has evolved.

The consumer has a played a key role in shaping marketers’ approach to mobile, he added.

“People get fatigued by the overuse of formats, and ask for something new. We’re seeing that with mobile right now.”

His comments came in response to a question about a study that found that almost half of Southeast Asians surveyed who said they had clicked on a mobile ad in the last month had done so by mistake.

However, McDonald said the mobile opportunity for marketers is “as robust as ever”, particularly in Asia where its potential is probably greater than anywhere. The question for marketers is, will the opportunity be mobile web-based or in-app, he proposed.

Even the advent of ad blocking, which is gaining popularity in Europe and the US, presents the industry with a “catalyst for innovation”, he suggested.

“Mobile itself is not in any trouble,” he said. “Mobile advertising has a small case of the sniffles as it works out how to create the right relevance.”

Pubmatic, a publisher-side automated ad firm, has APAC operations in Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore and Delhi.

China will mostly likely be the next market where the company will launch, McDonald said. Indonesia, because of its size, population and opportunity around mobile, is also on the radar.


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