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Like cautious children learning to swim or ride a bicycle without training wheels, an astounding number of agencies have done little more than dip their collective toes into mobile waters.

Rather than develop ad campaigns tailored specifically for smartphone users, many are content or are resigned to posting staid print and broadcast copy on company websites when they should be creating dynamic and interactive copy targeted at savvy, often prosperous mobile app users.

Not only are these agencies failing to fully engage the exploding mobile market — that market’s exponential growth threatens to soon render ad industry laggards irrelevant. If you think my point of view is extreme, consider this: Manufacturers are already shipping more smartphones than PCs, and a Google study shows that in several of the world’s most significant markets, mobile phone usage currently outstrips PC usage.

And that’s not the only statistic that should give ad agencies good reason to shake things up:

  • Truthdive reports that 700,000 Android smartphones are activated daily;
  • Mobile searches, according to Google, increased by 400 percent in 2011;
  • digitalbuzz reports that half of all Internet searches are conducted on mobile devices;
  • Fifty-eight percent of mobile shoppers are between the ages of 18 and 34, according to a study from Millenial Media;
  • and, most amazingly, Spyder Trap shows that 70 percent of mobile searches result in action within one hour.

So why do agencies hesitate going after this low-hanging, golden fruit?

As with aspiring young swimmers and bicyclists, the simple answer is fear — not of drowning or falling, but fear of being stymied by technology and saddled with added expenses.

Such fears are unfounded. Mobile technology, while advancing, is actually becoming simpler, not only for smartphone users, but also more importantly (as it relates to this article) for agencies. Agencies should see the value in crafting ad strategies and campaigns geared specifically for this burgeoning market.

Also, agencies no longer need to create mobile campaigns in a vacuum.

A growing number of third-party developers have formulated customizable systems to enable creative firms to quickly and easily build both branded content for websites and specialized apps complete with such bells and whistles as buttons, fonts, headers, and video images, all from scratch. Much like enterprise data center operations, many of these companies assume full responsibility for managing back-end architecture allowing agencies to do what they do best: create copy and devise memorable campaigns.

Third-party vendors also perform such services as optimizing video for mobile screens, ensuring proper dimensions for optimal mobile viewing. Still other website consulting and marketing firms offer solutions that provide easy-to-use platforms that agencies can use to create their own in-house mobile ads without the need for complex technical or coding expertise.

As simple to use as a word processing program, these platforms feature self-editing features for fast text and image content changes for changing marketing or sales tactics virtually and in real time. Some also enable the integration of Twitter and Facebook feeds for social media campaigns as well as the importation of data from Google Analytics and APIs from similar programs and applications.

Given existing growth figures, which are guaranteed only to become even stronger for the foreseeable future, reticent agencies assuredly have not willfully resisted formulating campaigns specifically geared for the mobile market. Fear of the technology and added costs are the only factors that have so far kept them on the sidelines.

The emergence of third-party developers and inexpensive, easy-to-use platforms should effectively topple these final remaining hindering dominoes.

Alex Kutsishin is a co-founder and the “chief excitement officer” of fiddlefly, a platform for creating mobile web apps.


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