Mobile and digital insight from OMMA keynote

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Today's keynote address at the OMMA Conference and Expo came from Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine and Josh Quittner, editor at large at Time Inc. They discussed challenges facing publishers and advertisers in the mobile space, Google-phobia and the proliferation of social networks.

When discussing mobile advertising, Anderson said there is obviously less real estate. “So it's not about taking the same practices from online and super-imposing them onto a smaller screen,” he said. The question many advertisers raise is how exactly to monetize on those mobile sites.

Often there's only space for a single advertiser on a WAP site. Anderson said that this isn't a bad model for publishers to use as it creates scarcity. Quittner said, “But I think it's scary that a single advertiser can cover an entire editorial endeavor.” Anderson quipped, “I'm over it.”

Moving on to Google, the two speakers asked whether the search giant is the “grim reaper” of the online space or the best thing to ever happen to it. “Google is driven by math,” Quittner said. He continued to say that Google doesn't monetize on every single one of its endeavors, but that's OK because they continue to build the company's overall strength.

Then on the topic of social networks Anderson opined that the definition of social networking is evolving. He said that users don't necessarily need to have a network of “friends,” as long as each user has their own identity (i.e. the ability to respond to or comment on content and interact with other users).

The conversation then focused around niche social networking sites and how advertisers would be wise to leverage them. Anderson said, “When you get these hyper focused, granular social networks, you can monetize on a common theme.” Quittner added, “And then it doesn't feel like advertising, it feels like a service.”

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