Changing the world one ad at a time
Marketing is increasingly going mobile, and much of this momentum has to do with Eric Morris, Artsci’99. As head of mobile advertising for Google Canada, Eric is playing a major role in shaping how businesses promote themselves and how we interact with ads on our wireless devices. And with more and more of us browsing and buying goods and services on our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, he says it’s increasingly critical for companies to connect with potential customers in the mobile arena.
“We don’t live in a one- or two-screen world anymore. We don’t just watch TV or use our desktop computer. Now people always have a persistent high-speed Internet connection in their pocket, and forward-thinking companies are adopting this marketing channel,” Eric says.
Most do so through Google; digital-commerce research firm eMarketer reported this month that the company controls 54 per cent of the U.S. mobile ad market, which last year was worth $1.45 billion. Eric and his small team, who work out of the company’s Toronto office, help companies, marketers, and ad agencies figure out which mobile advertising vehicle works best for them – Google’s search engine website, content sites, or applications.
It’s a role that’s a natural fit for someone who says he was fascinated by the web ever since he got his first email address during his student days at Queen’s. At the same time, he was keenly into media, and served as editor-in-chief and business manager of The Queen’s Journal. “I discovered the Internet in my formative years, and I was just mesmerized – the first time I saw it, it just changed my life,” Eric recalls. “I was also very interested in the business and editorial side of the paper. When I graduated, I decided I wanted to focus on an area where media, technology and business intersect – online advertising.”
Eric began his Internet career at digital advertising firm Double Click Inc. (now owned by Google). He joined Google as a senior account executive in 2002 just as the company was setting up shop in Canada, becoming its second employee. As the company has grown here – it now has more than 100 employees in Toronto and locations in Montreal and Waterloo – so has Eric’s career within it. He was promoted in 2009 to head of industry, which involved managing online advertising, analytics, and research solutions for the automotive sector, before beginning his current role in July 2011.
Eric is always looking ahead to the ideas and trends that will influence the mobile marketing space, even as he himself influences those forces with the new services he pioneers for Google. He expects mobile ads to become increasingly customized and relevant to consumers’ interests, with geo-targeted advertising – store promos geared around someone’s real-time location – becoming more popular.
As for his prediction about his career at Google, Eric is optimistic. “I’m working for a company that is changing the world, where people almost universally love our product, and where I have a lot of latitude to try new things and create my career path, so I’m proud to work here,” he says.