Just Because the Inventory’s There, Should It Be Taken?

Throughout the recent iMedia Video Summit, there were many mentions about penetration, reach, targeting, disruption and scale, but the discussions about actual audience experiences or emotional connections were limited. The question  pertaining to what the user would get out of the impressions was usually answered with a reading of stats, samplings and other tidbits, but nothing conveying the emotional connection – no matter how hard that is to quantify.  Even in the section with the creatives shown, there were some cool looking things and some stats. But many didn’t marry the the impressions/penetration numbers with the user experience to enable us to delve deeper into what the benefit of the perfect storm of good placement and good creative. Just yesterday, there were a couple of announcements that related to the same ideal for mobile – additional inventory available for reaching consumers with the question of the user’s experience.  Because of the user experience related to these platforms, should these mobile bits of ad inventory be leveraged?

Ipsos recently posed the questions to consumers whether they would prefer to receive SMS messages to their mobile or emails to the in-box.  75% said they would prefer the latter.  It used to be more of a legal issue as people had to pay for each SMS message they received or sent.  Therefore, companies could find themselves in trouble as users were effectively paying to receive their spam.  Now that many mobile providers offer unlimited packages for text and then cap their access to data before charging more, some might think its better to send SMS messages.  The thing is, that while there might be a cost difference for the consumer in the free text/limited data model above, the real question comes down to user experience and preferences.  SMS is more intrusive and is the norm for getting communications from friends – not from businesses.

Courtesy of Conduit

Along the same lines, Conduit has announced their new product that allows for graphic – and even app – placements on mobile lock-screens.  Currently, they are just touting the availability for Android phones through a downloadable App.  The future could see opportunities to provide free phones in exchange for this type of inventory being locked to the phone.  Other than that, I would be hard-pressed to see there being a demand to download these just so one could have ads pushed to them whenever they go to unlock their screen.  The exception might be if the user can select something like a sports app that shows their team’s scores at the onset. Currently, the only thing similar for most people is when they see SMS messages easily.  That functionality is generally seen as a benefit to the user – will ads be felt in the same way?

In both, the consideration clearly needs to be focused on the end-user.  There may be situations that are perfect for serving out advertising using this type of inventory. It could just depend on what you’re pushing out. There might also be a high risk factor to turning people off.  Interestingly, in the Ipsos study, they found that there are some markets that would absolutely prefer to receive SMS messages rather than emails.

Ultimately, it’s not about how you put it out there.  It’s about your audience and how they would most want to accept the message. You might have the coolest or most beautiful execution ever, but if the audience perceives it as being too invasive, you’ve lost. Just because you’ve got some open space to tout some wares doesn’t mean that you should jump on it.

 

 

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