Ad Age: ‘Digital dimes are turning into mobile pennies’

PEJ | Ad Age | IAB | Econsultancy
The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism released the results of a significant study today on the state of mobile news consumption in America. Pew found that some people consume more news after acquiring tablets and that getting news is the second most popular activity on tablets behind emailing. It also sheds light on the difference between people who use apps vs. the Web to get their news.

Poynter’s Rick Edmonds looks at the business implications: While tablet ownership doubled to 22 percent in the past year, those tablet owners don’t want to pay for content and they aren’t crazy about advertising either. That leads Rick to conclude that “bundled subscriptions are looking better than ever.”

Mobile ads don’t inspire hope

The state of mobile advertising is getting a lot of attention as well, as Advertising Week kicks off today in New York. Ad Age writer Jason Del Rey notes that desktop Web ads go for about $3.50 CPM on average, but mobile ads are fetching only 75 cents CPM.

If publishers once lamented that offline dollars turned into “digital dimes” as content and audiences moved to the Web, here’s what might be keeping them up at night: Digital dimes are turning into mobile pennies.

The "Pull" ad format is one of five "rising stars" the IAB is highlighting for the future of mobile ads.

There is some hope for the future of mobile ads. The industry-standard-setting Interactive Advertising Bureau is showcasing five innovative new mobile ad formats that leave Web banner ads in the dust. The ad formats are interactive and customized to suit mobile screens, and hopefully that premium quality could lead to higher revenue.

An analysis on the Econsultancy blog asks, can the mobile ad market “really overtake television, which still generates more than double the revenue produced by all Web advertising?” Patricio Robles points out four factors holding back mobile ads: Small screen sizes, questionable effectiveness, user annoyance and a glut of inventory.

Forbes Chief Product Officer Lewis DVorkin writes that the tricky transition to mobile is what keeps him up at night. He concludes “there is really no magic bullet for mobile success,” but there are helpful steps Forbes is taking now.

Politico Pro chooses Web over apps

One more notable development: Politico Pro has relaunched its website with a responsive design that adapts to smartphone and tablet screens. Editor-in-Chief Tim Grieve tells me Politico Pro plans to forgo native mobile or tablet apps, since its new adaptive website “seems to do about 95 percent of what an app would do, and it gives us the flexibility to innovate on the fly in a way that a series of apps wouldn’t.”

The new site loads quickly and adjusts fluidly, thanks to a concerted mobile-first design effort, CTO Ryan Mannion told me. Developers reduced the number of embedded images, limited external javascript calls for plugins and ads, prioritized the loading of content elements, and used a heavy dose of caching to make page loading “faster and cleaner,” he said. Worth a look.

Related: Nat Ives’ in-depth report on The Daily, and whether it has a future (Ad Age).

Correction: This post originally misspelled the name of Jason Del Rey.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • B Thomas

    Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t some enterprising tech designer come up with
    and set up a service (modeled loosely after TV News packages sold to
    local networks where they insert their logos, newscasters and follow
    certain scripts) of a customizable digital format which looks like a
    paper which works beautifully and has the bugs already worked out, which
    is more like the I-pad experience we all thought might be possible and
    was hinted at at the original hyped introduction to the i-pad. It should
    look like a news page with pictures which come alive after a click and
    ads that were animated. Other cool buttons and tabs could should be
    incorporated as well. Pages would turn like a newspaper. The
    architecture of the format could be sold to newspapers and customized
    appropriately. Then, when the cool-factor of a smoothly operating
    animated newspaper became available—That could be sold and then
    Newspapers could bundle together with New York Times & others (all
    using the new cool Newspaper format) and be sold as a package that I-pad
    service providers could provide, much the way cable packages premium
    channels. Same could be done for magazines (there are already several
    good formats for mags) but someone needs to market a good one as a
    standard but customizable format to publishing houses.
    No one wants
    to pay for information that looks merely like information and/or looks
    like these poorly designed news sites today. That’s where showmanship
    and pizazz (really cool design and superb architecture) could wow the
    reader without sacrificing much in the way of content and make it a
    desired experience to read a paper online.
    Sometimes it is all in the packaging.
    If it has merit, someone take this and run with it, please.

  • B Thomas

    Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t some enterprising tech designer come up with and set up a service (modeled loosely after TV News packages sold to local networks where they insert their logos, newscasters and follow certain scripts) of a customizable digital format which looks like a paper which works beautifully and has the bugs already worked out, which is more like the I-pad experience we all thought might be possible and was hinted at at the original hyped introduction to the i-pad. It should look like a news page with pictures which come alive after a click and ads that were animated. Other cool buttons and tabs could should be incorporated as well. Pages would turn like a newspaper. The architecture of the format could be sold to newspapers and customized appropriately. Then, when the cool-factor of a smoothly operating animated newspaper became available—That could be sold and then Newspapers could bundle together with New York Times & others (all using the new cool Newspaper format) and be sold as a package that I-pad service providers could provide, much the way cable packages premium channels. Same could be done for magazines (there are already several good formats for mags) but someone needs to market a good one as a standard but customizable format to publishing houses.
    No one wants to pay for information that looks merely like information and/or looks like these poorly designed news sites today. That’s where showmanship and pizazz (really cool design and superb architecture) could wow the reader without sacrificing much in the way of content and make it a desired experience to read a paper online.
    Sometimes it is all in the packaging.
    If it has merit, someone take this and run with it, please.