Mobile model provides unique content opportunities

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New smartphones and tablets are released to market every month, and traveling along that same, soaring trajectory is the mobile model for content.

The rich media opportunities for content and the engagement level of consumers in the mobile market are extremely appealing said, Matt Jones, vice president of mobile strategy and operations at Gannett, while speaking at a Jan. 28 event.

Click-through rates on mobile devices are higher than they are on the web--especially for Android devices, explained Paul Palmieri, president and chief executive officer of Millennial Media. And the engagement levels should only increase as geolocation enables content to be delivered and targeted in more personalized ways. However, Jones said, customization and privacy policies for geolocation features have a long way to go.

In fact, the opportunities for mobile content depend largely on the issue of privacy, because data collection can provide insight which, in turn, drives content. As Daniel Odio, co-founder and chief operations officer of PointAbout, described it: Data set extraction is in the "first half, of the first inning" and utilization of that data will take the mobile model to the next level.

While Palmieri said his mobile advertising company is nearly split in content delivery channels--52 percent of Millenial Media's business is delivered through apps and 48 percent is through mobile browsing--most of the panelists indicated that major innovation is happening at the app level.

Mobile browsers meet most users' needs, especially for search, but apps have a distinct advantage in that APIs can impact device functionality, by tapping into the camera, global positioning system or gyroscope, for example. It's difficult to formulate a content strategy across devices and formats at scale, said Jones, but apps may provide a more systematic approach.

Whether businesses enhance their content for mobile browsing or create apps, companies need to prepare their content for what Palmieri said will become the "model for all electronic devices going forward."

"You're seeing newspapers failing. You're seeing old media companies struggling. And mobile is really the thing that's bringing old media, into new media like none other--and certainly unlike the PC," said Palmieri.

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