After many false starts, mobile advertising is finally ready for primetime, promising important benefits to every critical player in the wireless value chain:
- new revenue streams for carriers
- an appealing new way for advertisers to connect with their target audiences
- another delivery channel for content providers.
Also propelling mobile advertising forward is its ability to precisely target customers and track campaign effectiveness.
That's not to say there aren't short-term barriers. Privacy, screen size, and customer mistrust of advertising on a previously ad-free device will all pose significant challenges.
Another challenge is the lack of an efficient marketplace for mobile ad buyers and sellers. To succeed in creating a viable advertising market, the wireless industry will need its own efficient marketplace and vibrant network of technology, support and service providers.
The good news for the industry is that these needs present enormous opportunity for startups and venture investors looking to focus on the mobile space. Without effective marketmakers and a thriving ecosystem driven by the innovation of new companies, mobile advertising will never match the growth the wired web has achieved.
Ken Elefant, General Partner at Opus Capital, is a founding partner focusing primarily on Internet, wireless and software investments.