Mobile advertising platforms broaden e-retailer horizons, connect iPhone users

Following the iPhone’s entrance onto the Canadian market this summer, online advertisers have an additional platform upon which to market their wares. The mobile ad-serving technology and network, Third Screen Media, offered by AOL-owned Platform-A will serve ads on iPhones browsing the Internet.

Basically, users who are browsing sites within this network, or any of those owned by AOL’s media businesses like, can view ads optimized for the iPhone, as well as be redirected to special sites made specifically for the device.

With the ubiquity of different platforms (like the iPhone) to surf information, businesses today are having to extend a presence across all of them. And while consumerism, for instance, was confined to a physical store, the shopping experience has now turned virtual through Web sites, and moreover with the increased ubiquity of handhelds, has turned mobile.

A Canadian e-commerce expert told me that retailers who hadn’t caught on to the equal importance of an e-commerce component to their physical business would certainly miss out. The same is likely for those who have yet to realize the importance of a mobile component.

The advertising world is probably a reflection of today’s shopper. And accompanying this shifting advertising world is the ample activity in this space with moves like Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo, earlier this year, in an attempt to catch up to Google’s advertising search success. A sales executive with Canada told me casually in late spring that he expected Yahoo would sell to Microsoft before summer arrived. Although that didn’t happen, Microsoft has said it will continue to build that part of its empire through other approaches, and just in August bought European comparison shopping site Ciao for US$486 million to improve its Web search capabilities for consumers, particularly shoppers.

Perhaps user behaviour around these new platforms is changing faster than e-retailers can keep up. But with the broader distribution of the iPhone, it’s nice to see companies like AOL/ embrace the platforms and better help e-retailers to connect with the users.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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