United States: Mobile Is On The Move

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, it's clear that mobile advertising has hit a tipping point. That conclusion is inevitable from any number of facts. For one, Google has announced that more searches on its platform take place on mobile devices than computers in 10 different countries, including the United States. Second, 80% of Facebook's ad revenue now comes from mobile. If there was any remaining doubt, the research firm E-Marketer has said that 2016 will be the year in which mobile ad spending overtakes digital ad spending.

Amazingly, this tipping point feels like it has been a long time coming. It has been predicted for years, despite the fact that smartphones and other devices displaying mobile ads have been around for such a short period of time. Compared to the time that advertisers had to refine their craft in print, broadcast, and to a lesser extent digital advertising, the mobile advertising landscape has been in existence for just the blink of an eye. And yet, the talk now is about the move to "mobile-first" advertising strategies.

It came to mind in AT&T's recent decision to retain Omnicom (with BBDO handling creative), in one of the ad world's biggest recent reviews. Explaining the decision to Advertising Age Global Marketing Officer Lori Lee said that, "we have historically been broadcast-centric, and you're going to see advertising become much more digital, mobile and targeted." When AT&T, one of the country's biggest advertisers, is talking like that, you really know the tipping point has come.

How I See It

  • The shift to mobile can be stressful, but as participants in the advertising industry, we should also appreciate it. We are standing at a transformational period in advertising history—and that's something exciting to be a part of. It also presents plenty of opportunity.
  • Advertisers have to reach their customers where they are. In the mobile landscape, one place that many customers—particularly millennials—are going, is to messaging apps. Expect brands to get creative with digital stickers and other ways of interacting with users inside messaging apps.
  • The mobile environment places restrictions on advertisers: in terms of the space they can use and also how their ads affect viewers (the less interruptive the better on mobile). These are challenges, but in overcoming them, advertisers are likely to ultimately create more thoughtful and effective advertising.

How the Industry Sees It

I sat down with Michael Hunter, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for BBDO in Atlanta, to talk more about the future of mobile.

What's the biggest challenge in presenting advertising content on mobile devices?

Capturing a consumer's attention in the first five seconds. Whereas in a TV ad the last five seconds are often the most important, on mobile people are generally task-focused and may only have a few moments to spare. Small screen sizes amplify this challenge. Determining how intrusive to make the advertising is a question that applies to all advertising mediums, but it's more pronounced on mobile devices due to the small amount of screen real estate available. Consumers understand that no content is free. They pay for it with their eyeballs. But whether a digital ad should appear in the middle of an article, where it can be easily scrolled past, or as a pop-up that has to be Whack-A-Moled, is a key question.

What is the impact of differing screen sizes, social media platforms, and publishers on telling your clients' stories?

These things don't change the need to tell compelling stories about our clients' brands, but they do impact how. For ads that we know will be viewed on mobile devices within a social media platform, we oftentimes shoot video vertically so as to fit the shape of the device, unlike ads on TVs, laptops, and tablets which are usually horizontal. We try to ensure the ad conveys a message even without sound, knowing that social media users oftentimes won't hear it. And we sometimes put the end of the ad at the beginning, knowing that we'll have only those 5 short seconds for the video to capture a viewer's attention before she scrolls down.

How is your creative approach different for mobile advertising than digital?

A litmus test of a great creative idea is its ability to travel across mediums. While that idea might look and feel different depending on where it appears, it will have a center of gravity that prevents the brand message from zig-zagging all over the place in consumers' minds. The high level of personalization that mobile marketing allows for can also present challenges in staying on-message. We also keep in mind that social media is, by definition, social. It's about relationships. So we need to think in terms of engagement and conversation rather than just racking up the number of views. On a mobile device, you can drive a customer farther down the purchase funnel, where she's researching an item real-time in-store, or ordering it online while on the train home from work.

Where do you see the future of mobile going?

Up. In the same way that the term digital marketing is now synonymous with marketing, the term mobile marketing will soon also be redundant. The phone is the most prevalent device worldwide. Even in developing nations, a smartphone figures more prominently on one's hierarchy of needs than a TV. Sales of computers and tablets are in decline. We'll also see the continued development of non-traditional mobile devices such as watches and augmented reality goggles, though they'll be for niche audiences.

Is ad-blocking software a greater threat in the mobile environment than it is for desktop or other digital advertising?

Ad blocking reflects poorly on all of us in digital advertising. We're supposedly experts at crafting engaging stories that consumers will find helpful. We're supposed to be targeting people skillfully and presenting our ads in a friendly and non-intrusive way. Instead, more and more people are choosing to block our messages sight unseen. Whether on mobile or desktop, we need to revisit what we're doing and ask ourselves how we can remake the digital advertising experience. Unlike other mediums where consumers "lean back" and view content, oftentimes with others in the room, on a mobile device they "lean in" to a more personal experience. Interrupting either experience with an ad has consequences.

What's the most interesting object in your office?

The hockey posters. Because I'm a hockey fanatic who's trapped in a basketball player's body.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.