IAB Unveils Research, Launches Mobile Council

David Murphy

Mobile advertising is not ready and is being treated with caution by marketers, agencies and online publishers, according to new research by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). A survey of 40 senior-level marketers suggests that mobile advertising will not become mainstream until at least 2010 and that the next two years are critical to the success of the medium. 
The study found that mobile is viewed in much the same way as online was at the turn of the century: lacking standards, measurements, evidence and creative, coupled with a slow user experience. All respondents acknowledged that the personal and interactive nature of mobile handsets makes the medium appealing to advertisers and agencies but the industry is hamstrung by fundamental shortcomings and fear.
The qualitative research, among UK brands, agencies and media owners, coincides with the IAB formally announcing its commitment to mobile advertising with the launch of a dedicated Mobile Council and a raft of initiatives. These include the first joint industry report: Mobile Advertising: the Emerging UK Market, produced in partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). 
The IAB says the report is an all-encompassing guide to the mobile advertising industry and the formats available for use right now, such as search, display and video. It also sheds some light on the current UK mobile Internet audience and market situation in a realistic and pragmatic manner. MMAs advertising standards are also included as part of the IABs drive to help their adoption across the industry.
The Mobile Council is the cornerstone of the IABs plans to educate the industry and raise the profile of mobile advertising. Its mandate is to grow the mobile medium by educating marketers about available tools, contributing to and recommending advertising standards, and commissioning research to aid measurement and planning.
IAB Mobile Council members include representatives from mobile operators, major portals, creative, media and dedicated mobile agencies and will meet for the first time in early December.   
The IABs mobile events programme kicked off on yesterday with Engage for Mobile, the UK trade bodys first dedicated mobile advertising conference.
To support its mobile initiatives the IAB is also launching a mobile website, as a resource for marketers.
As the trade body for Internet advertising, the move into mobile is a natural progression, says IAB Chief Executive, Guy Phillipson. The IAB has spent the past year researching the mobile advertising industry and finding out first hand from marketers what they want to know. As mobile Internet technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and consumers become more comfortable with the mobile experience, brands will have a wealth of opportunities to reach audiences with highly-targeted and relevant campaigns. It is the job of the IAB to show them how.
The IAB mobile research was carried out earlier this month among 40 senior marketers from a mix of brand owners, media owners, digital and creative agencies.