Boycott graphical mobile ads

Just 1-2 months after both Google and Yahoo! introduced their text-based mobile ads, today Yahoo! moved a step forward and announced a graphical mobile ad service. Personally, I am against it — vigorously. The time is simply not right yet for graphical ads. And this is true not only because most mobile browsers can’t deal with javascript yet, but also because most users don’t have unlimited data plans.

But my main problem is the ignorance of both the advertisers and the webmasters rather the ads themselves. You see, there is nothing stopping an ad agency or marketing department hiring a designer who has no idea about the restrictions of the mobile industry. And here he goes, designing a nice-looking animated gif: 50 KBs. That’s $0.50 over GPRS! Even worse, there is nothing stopping a web master of a mobile site who doesn’t know his job well and he agrees to run these graphical ads for fun and for profit.

The sore loser here is the actual mobile user’s wallet. And I have my doubts that either of Yahoo!, advertiser or webmaster will actually get any significant profit out of the whole deal. The only entity who “wins” from the whole fiasco are the mobile carriers and their overpriced GPRS rates.

Graphical ads must be extremely optimized files (non-animated 16 color .gif for simple ads) and where possible the resolution of the handset must be autodetected in order to provide a well-optimized ad for the particular screen. Below is a suggestion for ad sizes for the 3 most prominent kinds of handset screen resolutions today:
low-end phone resolutions: 120×120 up to Palm’s 160×160
middle-end phone resolutions: 176×208 up to UIQ’s 208×320
high-end phone resolutions: PocketPC’s 240×240 and above
Of course this won’t work for all handsets, because not even WURFL supports screen resolution autodetection for all (and WURFL does not support non-phone embedded devices at all — which is why myself and its developer are not so much in agreement when we are emailing each other). So, here are the suggested ad sizes for the above 3 kinds of phone screen resolutions, with the first one being the recommended size as the most compatible of all in terms of size:

Best sizes for mobile advertisements

While running a text-based mobile ad that doesn’t use more than 200-400 bytes is actually somewhat acceptable, but running random graphical ads where you have no control over, is stupid. Boycott mobile graphical ads if you can’t review them one by one and authorize them beforehand to make sure they are compatible with your target handsets and no more than 3-5 KBs each. Don’t count on Yahoo!, or the advertisers to do the right thing. They won’t. The advertisers simply don’t have the right expertise and Yahoo! doesn’t have the time, cause time is money for them.

Comments are closed as this blog post is now archived.

Lines, paragraphs break automatically. HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The URI to TrackBack this blog entry is this. And here is the RSS 2.0 for comments on this post.