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Paul Jacobs, takes a look at the mobile phenomenon and a recently released set of numbers that are truly impressive.  Let’s take a ride on the mobile juggernaut.  This post ties in to yesterday’s SoMo discussion.

In a recent presentation, the head of digital venture capital leader Kleiner Perkins, John Doerr, summed up the future of digital with three cryptic abbreviations:  So Lo Mo

Somolo Doerr was referring where all digital is unstoppably heading:  Social   Local   Mobile.

Now, data has come out that makes us sit up and take notice – the explosive growth of local/mobile ad spending.

According to a recent study released by BIA/Kelsey, mobile ad spending is going to explode from $790 million in 2010 to a projected $4 billion by 2015.  And what is going to fuel this growth?  It will be driven by local businesses who will account for a projected 70% of that total.

The issue isn’t that local advertisers aren’t spending money.  Not enough of them are spending money on radio.  But they will be spending it, and it’s goin’ mobile.

If you work at a radio station, check in with your traffic department and see how many businesses you have on the air this week.  It’s probably fewer than 100.  Now, how many businesses are there in your market?  Thousands?  Hundreds of thousands?  And how many are using radio?

Sadly, not enough… And it’s largely due to new digital options like Google AdWords, Groupon, and Living Social.  Too many advertisers are reasoning they don’t need a 12-time spot schedule to reach their target effectively.  Their focused on that bright, shiny object known as digital interactive.

Fortunately, radio has the ability to provide consumers and advertisers with great digital options and solutions, driven by trusted, familiar brands that they’ve known for years.  Our mobile division, jacAPPS, has built apps with significant sponsorships, and will soon announce a scalable digital platform for mobile that combines aspects of Groupon and AroundMe, baked into a station’s mobile app.

Verve_logo Our company is providing a local display advertising package with our partnership with Verve Wireless.  And of course, CBS and Clear Channel are creating competitors for Pandora, which will have sponsorship potential.  Many radio stations have created “perks” or other discount programs (although those haven’t fully gravitated to mobile devices yet).

The bottom line is that radio is moving toward digital, and there’s new momentum and data that suggest that speed and strategy are both of the essence.

Mobile is the ultimate game changer.  While many radio broadcasters have recognized the mobile opportunity by creating mobile applications, there is so much more opportunity to make mobile a bona fide revenue generator.

Stations can create apps for major station events and concerts.  Taking it further, they could create an app that is exclusively devoted to participating bars and restaurants in the area.  Or a local concert/event guide.  Ski reports.  Women’s issues, if you’re an AC station.

And on and on.

And what is radio’s advantage over Groupon and other digital competitors?  Radio has cume that can drive audiences to download these apps, giving them a real jumpstart in the mobile marketplace.  Stations also have the ability to promote them on multiple platforms, including websites, their email database, social media, etc.

Radio truly holds the cards.  So the question is whether it has the vision and “the stones” to aggressively play them?

Success is more than a competitive rank in this month’s Miller-Kaplan.  That’s a game where “winning” is getting smaller and smaller.

Digital can be the difference-maker.   These local mobile revenue projections signal opportunity with a capital “O.”

It’s time to focus on Lo Mo.


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