Find yourself unable to keep your fingers off your phone while you watch TV? While you’re driving? (Stop it.) While there’s a debate in the backseat about who is singing “Hold Your Head Up”? Whoa—you’re not alone. (The band’s name is Argent, surname of keyboardist Rod, but you probably found that out already.) But here’s a question, or two: did you see an ad when you looked up the answer? Did you click on it? No you didn’t. That’s why Google shares lost almost $20 in sixty seconds on Friday–and 10% overall on surprisingly bad financials (3rd quarter profits off 20%).
Why aren’t you clicking? Could be because you’re on your phone or other mobile device. That’s the Silicon Valley suspicion. Temporary ineptitude in mobile is said to account for the Facebook nosedive, the Zynga plummet and now the Google sputter. Or it could be that you knew what you were after, you found it and were satisfied—and all the smart-targeting in the world wasn’t going to make you click the link for a cd by The Zombies, Rod Argent’s previous band. Google and its ilk hope it’s the former reason, because they’re convinced they can solve the mobile dilemma. It’s not as if mobile is a barren frontier: almost a million shoppers made their first-ever eBay purchase through a mobile device, according to a recent HuffPost article. Our fingers are busy as ever, but is our attention less easily wooed?