2nd Pacific NW conf on Mobile

2nd Pacific NW conf on Mobile

The 2nd pacific NW conf on mobile was held in Seattle today. It had a good and focused audience including our friends from Vancouver who came down for the event. The event has grown well from last year (i gave the keynote address last year)

Tom Huseby, a well-known VC in the area gave the keynote and gave quite an upbeat assessment of the mobile industry in stark contrast to the death and gloom sentiment of Sequoia.

I participated on the Mobile Advertising panel moderated by Gary Roshak, former VP of Advertising at Yahoo! Other panelists included my co-author and friend Victor Melfi, SVP Voicebox, Ivan Braiker, CEO of HipCricket, Ken Wilner, CEO of Zumobi, and Barry Chu, GM of Advertising at Medio Systems. As always time is short to discuss the complexity of the mobile advertising opportunity but we covered quite a bit of ground. Tricia of Moconews did a good job of capturing the details.

On the infancy of mobile advertising: Chetan Sharma, president of Chetan Sharma Consulting, said mobile advertising this year will be a $700 to 800 million industry, and today, 20 percent of that goes to carriers. When compared to the other advertising mediums, such as TV, radio and print, mobile makes up a tiny percentage at .4 percent. Even in Japan, which can be considered the most advanced mobile advertising market, it’s about 1 percent. But with the uncertainty in the economy, advertisers will be reducing their budgets in radio and print, and focusing on the Internet and mobile. He said there’s two camps: some advertisers will stick with what they know, but others will make the determination that print and radio won’t work, and although mobile is new and more difficult to understand, they’ll be drawn to it by the promise of better ROIs. Last year mobile advertising revenues doubled, and it probably will again this year, with revenues estimated to hit $1.5 billion in the U.S.

On types of mobile advertising: Sharma said 50 percent of mobile advertising is coming from SMS, which is more like mobile marketing than it is mobile advertising. After SMS, 25 percent comes to display and 10 percent to mobile search. The remainder is going to mobile TV, audio and couponing in US, “and that will stay the same for the next 4 to 5 years.”

Minor clarification, I think for the next 4-5 years, the channels of SMS/Display/Search will continue to dominate amongst all the channels available. Their internal share will of course change each year.

David Adams, Brian Esler, and David Rice did a good job of putting the conference together and they are already planning the 2009 event. Thanks Zumobi for sponsoring the event and helping the local community. Seattle – the epicenter of mobile in Americas should do host such events more and often.

Next, I am starting to prepare for my keynote in Vienna next week. I have the luxury of 90 minutes to go deep into the subject.