With 2016 nearly upon us, we're running daily pieces from industry experts on the trends they expect to see in the coming year. Today, it's the turn of Mark Challinor, CEO of Media Futures and president of the INMA.
The GSMA mobile device tracker says that numbers of mobile handsets are expanding seven times faster than the human race itself, and there are already more phones than humans (7.5bn versus 7.2bn at end 2014).
With 36 per cent of Apple's revenue in 2016 expected to be attributed to the Apple Watch, according to Evercore, wearables – and all manner of devices that might be classed as 'mobile – will only become more prevalent.
I think people will start to find that wearables can make life easier by placing mobile technologies on directly your person, making everything hands-free with no need to reach into your handbag or pocket. As result, we will start to expect 'connected everything' – all more creative, more personalised, more of an experience, and all in real time.
The magicians Penn & Teller launched their careers on the back of exposing illusions that the magic fraternity had been doing for years. Naturally, uproar ensued. However, their argument was that all they were doing is raising the bar and replacing old magic with newer, better illusions. And, as such, they were partly responsible for giving a degree of cool back to a dying art.
It’s the same in publishing. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting acceptance, especially in a new digital age where the environment changes constantly. Millennials are growing up with a much higher bar than their parents in terms of what they can expect from the world around us, including advertisers, agencies and publishers. So, how do we tackle the exponential times we're living in?
Speaking for the newspaper industry – as well as looking inwardly at what we create ourselves – I think advertisers also need to produce more engaging, quality creative that is interesting for the consumer. If they don’t, they may find it will be publishers blocking ads too, as the relationship with their readers is too important to throw away.
If we all want consumers to see and value our ads, we need to show some respect for what they require from us and give them better ads, that are relevant, creative, interesting, not intrusive – in essence, a better experience all round.
The holy grail of cross-device tracking and targeting
This is still an area that needs a lot of focus. We’ve not got it right yet, and the cross-device tracking market still seeks a leader.
Advertisers need to use first- and third-party data together to optimise their approach to cross-device tracking and targeting. Having partnerships with DMP ad tech companies helps shortcut the system between using multi-data sources and targeting ads to newer audiences.
Ad units driving engagement levels
With an increasing focus on user experience, publishers and advertisers alike will push for more native ad placements that are less disruptive and more engaging to brand consumers.
Advertisers will start moving client budgets into ad environments that better fit the purpose or medium, instead of a one size-fits-all approach. In turn, this gives better engaged users, while minimising distraction.
On the publisher side, companies will start leveraging publisher platforms to test and scale new native or video ad units that have already been proven to drive higher engagement levels and yield to boost their revenue. Native ads offer much more engaging levels of immersion for consumers – expect rapid expansion.
In short: mobile in 2016 will become bigger than ever.
Mark Challinor is CEO of consulting firm Media Futures and president of the INMA.