It is not unique to just the mobile industry that when a new product is announced both publishers and advertisers rush to support it as soon as possible. Every company wants to be able to announce that they are the first or one of the first to offer it. This can give them a leg up, but what often happens is that the industry is not yet ready to support it.
Most of the time these announcements are premature because either the publisher side or the advertiser side is not yet equipped to support it or the specifications for it have not been fully defined and circulated. Take for instance the new Apple Watch device. Some ad providers began announcing support for it but there were few advertisers who had ads available or that wanted to display them on this new device.
There is a whole list of items that have to be addressed prior to ad units being ready for displaying on this new device such as: what are the standard ad unit sizes, user privacy concerns and how will it be tracked. In the ad providers exuberance to bring it to market, many of these issues were overlooked or handled with a ‘we will deal with it once it gets to market’ approach. This attitude can lead to disappointing results for both advertisers and publishers and can stunt the advertising maturation process on the new product.
Many ad providers capitalized on the announcement of ad support for the new Apple Watch, but when you pulled back the covers you saw there was actually very little going on. Few advertisers had ads for it and the few that were running ads were displaying them at no cost until issues such as user privacy, tracking conversions and how best to display the ad could be further defined and resolved.
The projected ad spend (estimated 70 million by 2019 according to a report by Juniper Research) on the Apple Watch may come to fruition at some point, and there always needs to be a pioneering company to take the lead in ad display on new devices. The caution should be for advertisers and publishers to truly evaluate a new product before they jump in. They need to determine if there is sufficient demand for the product and that the industry has settled on identified policies surrounding display, privacy and tracking.
The mobile ad industry is charging ahead at a breakneck pace, but it is important for publisher and advertisers to determine where they stand in the space: are they going to be a pioneer and help set the standards for new products, realizing all the potential headaches that come with that, or are they going to stick with the more defined and mature products. Regardless of where they stand, the industry needs companies willing to stand in both spaces.