ILM West Opening Keynote: IdeaLab’s Bill Gross

Mobile and local is in the middle of a “perfect storm” of opportunity that represents a “once in a generation opportunity,” noted Internet legend Bill Gross, CEO of IdealLab, who provided the opening keynote at ILM West today in Los Angeles. “There has never been a better time to be in mobile and local,” said Gross, one of the most prolific developers of new companies in Internet history, with four IPOs to his credit.

Gross said that new technologies typically take about a decade to become new paradigms. The movie camera, for instance, never become a hit until it was possible to edit movies. “Then a whole new story- telling capability came about. That is where we are with mobile and local.”

New technologies typically begin modestly. With mobile, “we’ve ported the billboard and the TV screen down to tiny proportions.” But so much more is possible. Mobile devices should be seen as “super computers on our bodies.” The operating paradigm is “Mobile = Local = Me.”

“Give me exactly what I want right now and what is relevant to me,” Gross said, about what consumers want. “Tell me exactly what I want.” Companies that provide these services are best suited to “conquest customers” with promotions and other lead generation tools. Small companies are especially well suited to compete because they are “more nimble. David slays Goliath.”

There is especially strong opportunity with mobile advertising, adds Gross. “Mobile advertising runs with the law of physics. ‘Nudging’ costs (of consumers) is magnitudes lower because their bodies are nearby,” he said. “Proximity equals probability.” Mobile ads performs 5-18 times better than banners.

Gross also notes dayparting is “super powerful” on mobile. All the attributes of mobile together suggest that mobile advertising will reach usage and expenditure parity with other advertising within five years, and could surpass other advertising within 10 years. Today, 13 percent of usage is mobile, but just one percent of ad spending is mobile.

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