Q&A: When Does Mobile Advertising Take Off?

Last Updated Aug 12, 2008 5:41 PM EDT

This week, I'll be asking some of the big questions I have about the advertising industry to people who have skin in the game.
BNET: What needs to happen to make the mobile advertising market more viable? Joshua Spanier, Director of Communication Strategy, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners: Every year since 2002 has been the year when mobile is going to go huge. I am positive that we are really close now. Three key factors are driving this. One, phone ownership saturation means that for the big carriers have to exploit their current customers to grow revenue, as just adding new customers is no longer an option. They have an incentive to educate and promote rich, data capable phones and services. That will benefit advertisers. Two, 3G or better technology. Make it fast, fun and worthwhile. The technology up till now has always lagged the potential for branding (or anything). Three, rate plans from the carriers, such as the current "SImply Everything Plan" from Sprint, that does not penalize unlimited date usage. Consumers are so scared of overages, and hidden fees that they shut down and reject using their phone's potential. The all you can eat plan gives people freedom to play.

Seb Maitra, Senior Vice President of Media, Analytics, Search, Hill Holliday: So far a lot of promises and not reality. But I feel that is about to change with iPhone and its downstream software developers. I think in next two years we are likely to see a significant increase in mobile marketing and advertising that are totally utility and relevance based. 3G will help too. On the negative side, the wireless service provider market is oligopolistic and that may stifle innovation by keeping prices still too high.
Zachary DeVine, Public Information Officer, County of Santa Clara: Smart phones will start to take the lion's share of the market, and we'll see huge and explosive growth in mobile advertising, especially with services like Yelp.com and other "local flavor" sites that can tailor messages and content to a persons location and tastes.