With Nokia’s purchase of enPocket, the great consolidation starts shaking things up
All of the coverage of Nokia’s planned acquisition of mobile ad network and marketing leader enPocket focused on how this move signaled the hardware’s maker’s shifting business model. But the news has important implications for the nascent field of mobile advertising. With AOL’s purchase of Third Screen Media earlier this year, this is the second major validation of the ad-support model for mobile content. Add to that CBS’s recent multi-network partnership to drive ads into its WAP and on-deck properties and some other deals in the works to launch next week, and we have ourselves a bona fide business model.
As is often the case, the mobile marketing industry met the news scrambling to differentiate themselves in an increasingly cluttered field. Ad networks that remain independent are quick to point out the possible dangers of advertising coalescing around too few players with conflicting interests. Exactly how open will Nokia be with its ad platform, some executives whispered in my ear after the deal was announced. Mike Baker, enPocket’s CEO insists this helps grow the ad market by helping the industry standardize in execution and metrics on a global basis.
How it shakes out is anyone’s guess until we see Nokia execute. What is for sure is that pressure on mobile carriers to embrace an ad-supported model aggressively is now coming at them from all quarters. Advertisers want measurable, target-able mobile marketing yesterday. Media companies see ad revenues as the real driver of mobile content innovation and profits. And now the world’s largest handset maker is building its own ad network.
Only two years ago industry pundits in all of those quarters doubted whether consumers would accept ads on phones. Today, it is clear to everyone, even the carriers, that mobile content cannot move forward without the ad model.