When Will Mobile-Ad Spending Outpace Television?

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Advertisers for the first time this year will spend more on mobile-device ads than they spend on newspaper or radio, according to eMarketer.

The market research company expects mobile-ad spending to soar 83% in 2014 to nearly $18 billion. But BlueRun Ventures’ Operating Partner Cheryl Cheng says mobile advertising spend will not surpass television in the near future.

“Mobile advertising is a following indicator of where the market is,” Cheng told Fox Business Network’s Adam Shapiro. “The medium for mobile advertising still has a lot of catching up to do before it can even reach — or surpass — the levels of TV advertising.”

The reason, she says, comes down to infrastructure and not yet “being able to close the [analytics] loop between an ad unit, and purchasing a product.”

But some companies, like Verve Mobile, she says have leveraged the unique functions of a smartphone to provide highly targeted and relevant mobile advertising.

“Those types of advertising units do really well, the ones that leverage that aperture of mobile,” she says. “Outside of that, you are still seeing a lot of infrastructure being built out, so that advertisers can use that to validate their spend.”

Without that, she says, “it is going to be difficult for them to move from traditional TV.”
At BlueRun Ventures, Cheng has backed PayPal, Waze, Kabbage and Topsy.

Kabbage, a recent investment, provides extended credit to small businesses under a new business model that Cheng says is very different from the standard process.

Traditional bank loans can take at least 30 days to process, while the lender looks at the small business owner’s FICO score as a measurement of his or her credit worthiness.

Kabbage ignores this process and uses the small business’s different social signals to determine loan eligibility. These social signals include Yelp reviews, online ratings, FourSquare check-in’s, and more that stem primarily from consumers’ mobile devices. And, to receive the loan if approved, Kabbage leverages PayPal so small business owners can receive their almost instantly.

“All of this data … coming out of social networks … all of this is a picture into the health of a small business, but it wasn’t being used by traditional banks,” she says. “And Kabbage fills that gap by using that data to determine the credit worthiness of a company … which is an area that we feel was highly underinvested in, and hadn’t been disrupted in a long time.”

While BlueRun focuses on early-stage mobile investments, Cheng said that the adoption of the smartphone has “outpaced even [their] expectations.”

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