Almost a year ago I posted about mobile discovery and the challenges of measuring conversions. With the recent (and really good) news about advertising on iPhone applications (going from contextual on a mobile site to behavioral on an application) and GeoTweeting adoption growing, I’ve been thinking about the other side of conduit marketing; the business. I think it will be hard to convince businesses to adopt location based services to interact with people’s mobile devices, fearing that it may bother them or push them away if they haven’t opted in. (Not to mention the simple educational curve that many face.)

I also recently heard that mobile search has experienced an increase (sorry; can’t find the article) and now believe that the best interim step to get this service off of the ground would be to enable an ad search feature on mobile devices. Users are definitely familiar with the concept of search and the results for this type of service could show up on a map to contextualize and make the experience more intuitive.¬† I see the service working this way:

I’m going to go out for dinner and am not really sure what I’m in the mood for. I conduct a search on fusion cuisine in Denver (since I have no idea what fusion cuisine is and Anthony Bourdain keeps talking about it) and it brings me back a list of restaurants. I recognize a few pleases but would like to try something new. I select the show me ads option and the system displays ads for the places that were originally listed. These ads are mish-mash of videos, ratings¬† coupons. I select one that looks good and watch the video. At the end of the video it gives me the option to make reservations and I do that.

This is of course a paradigm shift in how people view ads with the majority of consumers having “ad-eye”. This is also, to a lesser extent, a version of something I’ve mentioned before called destination advertising. An ad that a user seeks.

Once this pool of localized ads were collected (much footwork), it would be easier to transition businesses and users to location based services interacting with geo-targeting functionality. This could also remain as a stand alone service.

If advertising is going to survive online, users are going to have to start looking at them as opportunities.

Mobile Ad Search