Mobile Warming - What's the hottest digital revenue opportunity?

  • According to the RAB, digital revenue increased 16% in the first quarter of 2014. A particularly bright spot on the digital landscape is mobile. You’ve probably seen the numbers. National mobile advertising is expected to increase 64% this year. Local mobile ad spending is on track to triple over the next five years. (Source: BIA/Kelsey)

    As broadcasters explore digital strategies, mobile can’t be ignored. The mobile sales platform recently emerged as an efficient, affordable revenue generator.

    When many broadcasters hear “mobile” they think “app.” What’s the difference? An app (or native application) is freestanding software that must be downloaded to the user’s device. A mobile sales platform is a website designed to be quickly and easily viewed on any smartphone or tablet.

    Apps are appropriate for streaming content, but the mobile sales platform has many advantages as a revenue generator:

    • Mobile platforms are turnkey services that stations administer in-house. They are completely separate from the station’s desktop site. A mobile platform includes a drag and drop editor where stations can publish mobile coupons, banner ads, loyalty programs and more. Apps require professional programming and can be expensive to create, customize and update. A mobile sales platform requires no IT support or technical expertise. 
    • Changes made on a mobile platform are instantly available for users. When an app is updated, the user must download and install the new version. Updating is an annoyance and contributes to the high rate of app abandonment. A 2013 study by Localytics revealed that 22% of apps are used only once.
    • Mobile platform sites can be found by search engines and tracked with Google Analytics.
    • A mobile sales platform works on any modern smartphone or tablet. Apps require separate versions for iPhone and Android.

    What are the best mobile revenue opportunities?

    • Coupons — Mobile coupon redemptions in the U.S. will exceed 53 million this year.The mobile coupon audience will post double-digit growth rates annually through 2016, driven by continued smartphone and tablet adoption. (Source: Business Insider 2014)
    •  Geo-Locators — Maps, navigation and “nearest me” features are used by over 80% of smartphone owners (Source: Mobile Marketer 2013).
    • Loyalty Programs — Consumers expect to be rewarded for brand loyalty, particularly Millennials. A 2014 poll by Bond Brand Loyalty indicates that 6 in 10 Millennial respondents would switch the brands they buy and two-thirds would change when and where they shop if it meant getting a better loyalty program.

    Coupons, Geo-Locators and Loyalty Programs can be offered, tracked and monetized with a mobile sales platform. Additional revenue opportunities include banner ads, sponsored RSS feeds, mobile directories and texting campaigns.


    Leveraging your desktop website traffic


    One of the benefits of a mobile sales platform is its ability to integrate seamlessly with an existing digital strategy. Here’s a typical sales scenario:

    • An advertiser buys a mobile coupon campaign along with a spot schedule or sponsorship package.
    • A trackable coupon is published with the mobile sales platform’s drag and drop editor. The platform generates all the interactivity, barcodes, redemption dates and store locations. Graphics and photos may be imported into the platform. The coupon is immediately available.
    • The station puts a simple HTML link to the coupon on their desktop site. Listeners are invited to: “Visit our site on a mobile device and click the advertiser’s link.”
    • The listener can then save the coupon to their phone, email it to a friend or share it on Twitter and Facebook.
    • The platform tracks coupon redemptions in real time. Salespeople can update advertisers on coupon performance and export redemption data to a spreadsheet at the end of the campaign.


    Media outlets are quickly discovering the benefits of the mobile sales platform: Low cost of entry, quick ROI, ease of use, fast implementation and, most important, advertiser demand for mobile marketing options.

    With local mobile ad spending tripling over the next five years, stations have a clear path to dramatically increase their digital revenue. But, as with all opportunities, the first to market will claim the territory.



    Andrea Bergero is the co-founder of I To Eye Advertising, developer of Mobile for Media and ScoreboardMobile. 678-932-8698