By Daniel Hunter

Advertising agency attitudes to mobile ads are inhibiting revenue growth for publishers, according to the Association of Online Publishers' (AOP) Content and Trends Census 2012.

The latest AOP Census found that while more people than ever are consuming content on their smartphones and tablets, ad revenues are not migrating to those devices at the same rate. According to the Census, publishers rank ad agency attitude as the greatest inhibitor to revenue growth for the mobile model.

Nearly twice as many respondents to the Census said agency attitude rather than audience size would hold back mobile revenue growth next year, cited by 55% and 31% respectively. Dependency on low-yield ad networks would also hamper growth, according to 52%.

For tablets, the two biggest inhibitors to growth will be ad agencies’ dependency on low-yield ad networks and size of audience, both on 52%.
Mobile still has a long way to go to fulfil its revenue potential. The Census found that 87% of publishers get at least 11% of their digital traffic from mobile users, but only 29% generate 6% or more of their revenues from this traffic.

However, AOP found that publishers remain very positive about the opportunities offered by mobile content consumption, with 91% of respondents identifying tablets and 85% mobiles as offering the greatest opportunities for revenue growth next year. As a result, 62% said the majority of their portfolio would be optimised for mobile over the next 12 months.

“We are going to see some fundamental changes to the mobile ad market over the coming year as ad agency attitudes catch up with publisher investment and mobile audience size,” Lee Baker, director of AOP, said.

These changes include:-

- Ad revenues will experience massive growth, doubling within 12 months of agencies recognising the opportunity in the mobile market.

- Publishers will stop creating content according to platform and will increasingly use technology that automatically adapts content to format to distribute it as widely as possible. One CMS will “disseminate” to all platforms, which will allow publishers to align content and pricing strategies.

- Content snacking, via 3rd party distribution partnerships such as Flipboard and NYT, will grow as micro payment models become more sophisticated.

- Audiences will accept that they can only receive free quality content in return for personal data. This will massively increase the potential value of data assets, an area that will see much sharper publisher focus.

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