2011 was a year of rapid growth and change in the mobile advertising industry. It was the year that saw smartphones, Tablets and the mobile internet become mainstream among consumers, and that saw marketers and advertisers increase spend and begin prioritising mobile. 2012 looks set to be even more of a critical year in the development of the industry. From Adfonic’s own data and knowledge of the industry we predict that the following developments will become hot topics over the next 12 months.
With the iPad being one of 2011’s most popular Christmas presents, and with the new Kindle Fire making tablets more affordable and accessible, we can expect to see tablet devices replacing lower-end laptops and notebooks over the course of 2012. It is not unrealistic to expect that Tablet ownership will more than double.
Rich media going mass market
Rich media is already emerging as a game-changer for the mobile advertising industry, as it offers the consumer a more engaging and interactive experience and facilitates superior branding opportunities for advertisers. Until now, rich media advertisements for mobile have, for the most part, been offered as a premium or niche service across a small number of high end mobile publishers. In 2012, mobile ad networks will be offering rich media on a global scale, giving advertisers access to millions of consumers and challenging budgets across other media channels.
Advertising spend shifting towards mobile
As smartphone penetration booms, consumer mobile usage will continue to increase and extend across new times of the day. For example, one of the most quoted use cases in 2011 has been consumer use of tablet or smartphone devices during TV commercials. Consumers are browsing mobile sites and using apps on their tablets and smartphones in place of TV commercial consumption, which suggests that the perception of mobile as primarily an extension of the PC internet will finally disappear. It is becoming increasingly clear that mobile operates as an alternative to the “fixed internet” for many people and this can no longer be ignored. Advertising budgets will increasingly follow the consumer over to mobile.
Phasing out of feature phones
Smartphones are now becoming more economically accessible to all consumer segments as a result of the large range of Android devices coupled with Apple’s pricing strategy for older phones. As the number of services and options begin to concentrate on tablet and smartphone platforms, advertisers and agencies will slowly phase out features phones from their plans.
Apple and UDIDs
During 2010 and 2011, much investment poured into app tracked campaigns enabling advertisers to deliver installed apps at low cost. A new common approach, superseding UDIDs, will become mainstream across agencies, advertisers, ad networks and other players in the ecosystem, as Apple plans to phase out access to the UDID on its mobile devices.
Mobile web versus applications
During 2011, there were hints (driven predominantly by large industry players opting for HTML5 over a multi-app approach) of the mobile web challenging applications as the way forward for mobile internet usage. During 2012, we are likely to see this debate evolve with the potential for some major decisions by digital players to impact the market and force some rethinking.
There is likely to be more integration across marketing channels, platforms and other parties that will enable geo-location services and advertising to ramp up during 2012. Driven predominantly out of the US (where most geo-location business is currently concentrated) we are likely to see more demand for campaigns targeted to smaller areas (ring-fencing) with a view to driving footfall into retail stores, restaurants and other outlets.
Increasing use of mobile payments
While this may not be the year that mobile payments become mainstream, many players will come together to make significant progress in piecing together the mobile commerce ecosystem. The success of Google Wallet last year will drive industry players forward in 2012, with major advertising events like the Olympics providing a springboard for new, exciting innovations around mobile commerce.
Facebook and mobile advertising
Facebook has been holding back on pushing mobile advertising aggressively. With close to 1bn users online, and over 300m users now accessing Facebook via their mobile, it provides a significant game-changer and possible milestone for the mobile advertising industry. However Facebook decides to execute on mobile advertising will, without a doubt, have a big impact on the digital industry in general.
Further progress on standards and privacy
With mobile advertising moving at such a fast pace in terms of innovation and market demand, there will be increasing requirements for further standardisation (ad formats, for example, including rich media) and frameworks and policies driven by the trade bodies on privacy and data.
Paul Childs is chief marketing officer at Adfonic