Monetizing Mobile in 2013

Jan 30

Smart phones now account for more than 50% of internet browsing. The latest figures say that smart phones are due to reach sales of 1bn this year – for the first time ever. It’s estimated that this will bring the total smartphones active in the world to 2bn.

The smart phone is no longer a luxury device in the developed world. It’s estimated that 500m of the total operational devices were sold for less than $100. There are already ideas circulating regarding creating $50 devices for developing markets to sell mobile phone internet cheaply there.

However, websites are not maximising the amount of profit that could be potentially brought in from their mobile visitors. One problem is the lack of creativity in mobile advertising, which is mostly made up of ugly little pixelated ads that squat on the bottom of the app screen and mobile pages. Facebook has recently shown that it places increasing faith in mobile advertising by increasing its Facebook ad spend to 20%.

It’s thought apps will pave the way for greater mobile advertising revenues, with advertisers using app data to understand the users and tailor their advertisements specially. In-app purchases are another way for developers to make money from mobile games such as Playmobil Pirates and Racing Penguins (indeed, the Guardian UK recently carried a story about irate parents being charged hundreds of pounds for their children’s gaming purchases).

However, for all the bumps in the road, mobile advertising has far more potential than PC advertising. It’s a personal device, with an unrivalled set of information about a user’s preferences. It also has geo location and the ability to scan a barcode, and the buying experience can be made much quicker and exploit the impulsive tendencies of the regular smartphone user.


Raquel Finch is a tech writer from Shoreditch, London. She is once quoted as saying, “I would sell my iPhone for a decent portion of chips”.