April 09, 2009

Weblogs Inc's iPhone Ads Show Focused Content Delivery

By Daniel J. Pritchett of Sharing at Work (FriendFeed /Twitter)

The AOL-owned blog network Weblogs, Inc. is running ads on their properties that are tailored to viewers with iPhones.  Poke around on WoW Insider's iPhone portal at i.wowinsider.com and you'll likely be greeted with an ad pointed straight into the App Store.  Look at Engadget's i.engadget.com and you might see an ad for Land Rovers or other luxury goods.

This is the first time I've seen an ad that specifically identifies me as an iPhone-browsing consumer and supplies ads relevant to that context.  There are plenty of demographic iPhones (or in my case, an iPod touch) on a site about gadgets using an iPhone.  WoW Insider's preponderance of streaming video links make the Babelgum video app a good bet for direct-to-iPhone advertising.  

The integrated nature of the App store means that any iPhone user who clicks through on the ad pictured at left is likely to be able to buy the ad with one click more thanks to Apple's foresight in saving credit card information to iTunes accounts.  This is a dead-simple impulse purchase lined up and ready for consumers to pull the trigger.  

What else can we do with targeted mobile advertising?
We've previously seen the release of iPhone-specific ads in the form of entertaining apps like this Dockers app depicting a man who dances when the iPhone is shaken.  A recently released ad trading network facilitates the creation of a "webring"-style collection of affiliated apps that advertise for one another.  One thing I've noticed about these neat Weblogs, Inc. ads is that they aren't automatically pushed to iPhone users.  When I surf to WoW Insider on my iPhone I'm not immediately redirected to the mobile site.  I didn't even realize the iPhone site existed for quite a long time.

Maybe Weblogs is simply testing this particular advertising channel without wanting to roll it out to all mobile users yet?  It seems prudent to connect these targeted mobile ads with every possible mobile user that comes through their virtual doors.  Simple blog plugins like MobilePress already demonstrate the ease with which mobile-optimized sites can be used without requiring users to find a separate URL.  Why not auto-detect all mobile viewers and give them links to the App Store or whatever other e-commerce engine is most applicable to their handset?  I'm going to keep an eye on these integrated iPhone / App Store ads - it should be very interesting to see if they can live up to the standards for targeted advertising Louis hoped for in his recent post "I Wish Ad Companies Would Truly Leverage Social Profiles".

Read more by Daniel J. Pritchett at Sharing at Work .