IAB unveils mobile initiatives including research, events, reports and dedicated mobile marketing website
Research finds that mobile advertising “not ready” and marketers fearful of committing too early to the platform

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 come of age until at least 2010 and 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 poor 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 marketing 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).

This 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. MMA’s advertising standards are also included as part of IAB’s drive to help their adoption across the industry.

The Mobile Council is the cornerstone of IAB’s 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.

The IAB Mobile Council features representatives from mobile operators, major portals, creative, media and dedicated mobile agencies and will meet in early December.

The IAB’s mobile events programme kicks off on 29 November with “Engage for Mobile”, the UK’s first dedicated mobile marketing conference.

To support all initiatives the IAB is recruiting dedicated staff and launching a mobile website, http://mobile.iabuk.net/, a resource for marketers.

Guy Phillipson, chief executive of the IAB, said: “As the trade body for internet advertising the move into mobile is a natural progression. The IAB has spent the past year researching the mobile advertising industry and finding out first hand from marketers what they want to know so that we can educate the market on the merits of what is set to be a more engaging advertising medium than the internet.

“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.”

Jonathan Bass, chairman of MMA UK, said: “Mobile advertising is the Holy Grail for advertisers seeking pinpoint audience targeting and rich consumer engagement. We're delighted to build a partnership with the IAB to bring the mobile message to its advertisers and agencies."

The IAB mobile research was carried out in November 2007 with results from 40 senior marketers from a mix of brand owners, media owners, digital and creative agencies.

For more information, journalists should contact:
• Amy Kean at IAB UK on 07739 372 042 or amy@iabuk.net
• Mark Terry-Lush at IAB UK on 07740 432 112 or mark@renegademedia.net

About the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the trade association for online advertising. With over 375 members, it's run for the leading media owners and agencies in the UK internet industry. Online is an exciting and fast-growing medium and our job at the IAB is to work with members to ensure marketers can identify the best role for online, helping them engage their customers and build their brands. Through the dissemination of research and the organisation of regular events, we aim
to put online on the agenda of every marketer in the UK, acting as an authoritative and objective source for all internet advertising issues.

Published on: 12:00AM on 29th November 2007