Advertising is a vexed issue, we don't really like but it is the commerce that fuels the free aspect of the internet that we all do like. Google makes billions from tiny incremental search revenues, a few cents per click, they rule the current advertising revenue roost. However, in the last few years a big change has begun in how people access communication information: the smart phone really arrived with the iPhone, up until it's release smart phones were a minimal part of how we viewed the world.
Now with 25 million sold worldwide they have dragged smart phones into the mainstream and ushered in a fascinating new era in the development of advertising. Ads on phones are an undeveloped medium. They are very different to web ads which are mostly banners, small Google ads in boxes and the clickable Flash-based videos that are all over most pages you visit. Apple have announced their intention with iAds for the iPhone, iPod Touch and now the iPad. These look like not being copies of existing advertising types, but a new interactive, feature-rich experience, if the recent keynote for the iPhone OS 4.0 was anything to go by. Take a look at these extracts and you can see how they will be great fun as well as being targeted at you, the end-user, based on demographics being processed on the fly as you use your device. Imagine compelling ads appearing in front of you about your very own interests! Frightening… There are 5 clips on this page and the last concerns iAd but they're all worth a look. Click to view.
From Apple's point of view they will be controlled in the same way as the Apple Store controls iApps. This has the effect of keeping the quality pretty high and keeping dodgy software out but it also means that there will be an explosion of free stuff powered by ads. And these ads look like they will be great fun! While we have fun Apple will create a new market for smart phone advertising which they will hope to dominate and establish a lead with their 3 devices in much the same way they have dominated both MP3 players and smart phones, with the iPod and iPhone. At the same time creating a new type of device, the iPad which will either be a huge success and spawn an entire new field of applications and advertising, or will fail. My money is on the former if we take recent past performance as anything to go by.
For sure the trend is towards smaller and more portable devices than laptops and desktops, it's where the boom is happening and they're not just joining the boom they're creating a whole new medium. As the cliche goes: watch this space!