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Ads on mobile phones

SmartCompany /

Want to know the next big thing in digital? Mobile phones, according to Jeffrey Cole, the director of the digital future at the University of Southern California. Mobiles will transform the advertising industry as consumers accept ad-supported services.

But marketers will have to overcome a number of challenges to connect with consumers, Cole will tell Australian audiences when he comes to Australia this week to deliver the key note speech at a digital marketing conference.

Cole says advertising was emerging as the support mechanism for virtually all digital media as consumers increasingly accepted marketing messages in return for free content. “As people are paying too much money per month for these digital services I think they’re beginning to finally look at advertising as a way of avoiding paying even more,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

He predicts the internet’s share of the global media ad spending would move from about 7% today to 15%-20% over the next five to eight years.

There are billions of dollars to be made from marketing online, but marketers will face several challenges in connecting with consumers of digital media.

He says that it will be increasingly difficult to get people’s attention, and even when you do, it could just be that you only have partial attention.

Companies will also need to develop more contextually relevant ads rather than intrusive messages to be successful online. He says what while members of online communities say they don’t want government or corporate advertising, it doesn’t mean they won’t accept them.

So the challenge will be to exist as members of the community and understand the communities in which they are advertising. Cole, who runs a global study on tracking the use and influence of the internet, says spending on ads delivered through mobiles would grow rapidly in the next few years.

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