A Happy New Year to all our readers. In the last of our series of predictions pieces running between Christmas and the New Year, Noam Neumann, COO of Glispa, looks at how mobile will build on its dominant position in 2019.
Mobile is no longer a rising medium; it’s the leading force in cross-channel marketing. Now accounting for 62 per cent of digital advertising spend budgets, according to Dentsu Aegis Network – equal to $187bn (£148bn) and 19 per cent up since last year – it has already surpassed desktop and Zenith forecasts that it is due to overtake TV expenditure by 2021. And with campaigns taking a mobile-first focus, formats such as video and in-app have become the interaction mode of choice for brands targeting on-the-go audiences.
So now that mobile has comfortably settled into its position of dominance, what’s next?
The year ahead will bring evolution across the mobile space as marketers move to protect investments and keep campaigns fresh. In particular, this will mean a stronger emphasis on fraud prevention, performance optimisation, and more engaging playable ads.
Stepping up the anti-fraud fight
With market vitality comes fraudsters keen to claim a piece of the action, so it’s no surprise mobile fraud is growing – costing marketers $2.5bn annually, according to Juniper research. In 2019, we can expect closer alignment between brands and tech vendors on defensive measures, including robust traffic analysis and the use of anti-fraud metrics within apps to halt practices such as SDK spoofing (where real devices are used to produce fake installs). Indeed, there may also be a swing away from acquiring new customers through in-app activities and towards direct mobile device engagement in a bid to reduce the risk of falsified interactions.
At the same time, brand safety and transparency will become greater mobile priorities, with brand marketers taking a more discerning approach to programmatic trading, and only choosing partners that offer deep performance insight and straight dealing with trusted suppliers.
Achieving cut through with interactivity
Marketers must constantly innovate if they want to stay relevant and outshine competitors vying for user attention. Throughout 2019, we will see the adoption of interactive ads gain pace as more brands seek to offer impactful yet non-intrusive experiences.
Formats that have proved their value in the gaming sector, such as playables, will start filtering into the mobile advertising mainstream, allowing brands to promote multiple offerings – be they apps, news sites or products – through fun interactions where consumers can try services before buying, or win rewards and discounts. Plus, the optional nature of such ads will also help to allay concerns about limited data access following stricter digital privacy legislation. Mobile users can choose ‘play’ and share data or not, and the prospect of an entertaining mini game gives them a compelling reason to opt in.
Expanding avenues of advertising
A major change is on the horizon for 2019 that could diminish the prevalence of the duopoly and boost industry diversity: the rise of mobile network operators (MNOs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as advertising players. At present, increasing demand for inventory and limited data availability outside walled gardens means that many brands are working from a limited pool of supply, and insight. Yet MNOs and OEMs are beginning to recognise the value of their first-party data, and launching value-added services. When united with smart vendors that can use high quality data to serve personalised ads, the reach and insight of these giants makes for a powerful advertising combination.
As a result, marketers are gaining access to a broad, alternative store of advertising choices. Moreover, the fact audiences haven’t yet been exposed to digital advertising means there is a higher chance they will respond positively, providing creative is personalised and unobtrusive, not delivered in the tired form of generic in-banner ads.
Maximising in-app impact
Apps are king on mobile, absorbing 83 per cent of all time spent, according to comScore, but with 2m apps available across Android and Apple stores, optimising downloads and usage is challenging. This is why areas such as app retargeting have come to the fore in the last 12 months, with developers, publishers, and retailers alike striving to reignite audience interest using customised ads. Yet even this tactic can miss the mark if marketers don’t have a clear view of performance with which to fine-tune messaging, frequency, and delivery. Consequently, demand for effective retargeting KPIs will grow in 2019, and so will the sophistication of campaign measurement.
Specifically, there will be increased emphasis on tracking tangible performance metrics – from installs and in-app purchases to positive ratings – that not only provide assurance of advertising returns, but also identify which tactics and creatives drive the best results.
As billions of dollars are continually poured into mobile advertising, marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to safeguard their budgets and ensure they are spent wisely. In 2019, sights will be set on minimising fraud losses while enhancing gains by directing spend at independent new giants, interactive ads, and formats with proven value.