Innovation in mobile

Mobile is the most used of all digital devices, making up 75 per cent of time spent online. Mobile has therefore become an extremely valuable advertising medium for major brands and top publishers, many of whom are beginning to recognise it as the key to digital success.

The IAB UK’s Mobile Steering Group – in particular Celtra and the7stars – have collaborated here to discuss innovation within mobile, the next key trends and how mobile technology is changing the way consumers and brands interact.

IAB UK Mobile Steering Group

Has innovation in mobile reached its limits?
It can be argued that mobile technology is still in its infancy and the potential for innovation and exploration is enormous. As mobile became a channel in its own right, the industry attempted to do everything; shoehorning in ads that had been created for TV, overusing the gyroscope, not to mention shrinking desktop display assets – all of which made for a poor user experience. As mobile devices become increasingly embedded in our lives, it is crucial for advertisers to stop force fitting innovations into old ways of working just because it’s easier; advertisers must not only use the channel more effectively, but also better understand how consumers are using devices.

Perhaps a more pertinent question is when mobile advertising will catch up with innovation in mobile devices. As an industry we’ve been a little obsessed with optimising banners for clicks and installs for some time but as we start to focus on real-world brand and customer needs rather than just proxies of ‘performance’, we can start to break the mould and create some really interesting brand experiences.

What are the next key trends that will drive innovation in mobile?
Its important to distinguish between buzzwords and real, habit changing innovations that transform our lives. Spotting the next big one is what we all are trying to do, but its easier said than done; AI, IoT, wearables, AR, VR, blockchain, bots, personalisation – make your bet. Right now, perhaps the greatest innovation is the collective industry movement away from viewing people as ‘clicks’ and towards respecting mobile users and the ad experience that give brands a better platform to communicate.

Using data correctly and combining it to serve engaging creative is a growing trend that has a huge significance for the future of mobile advertising. The IAB UK Gold Standard is leading the way in getting the industry to rethink how we use mobile as an advertising platform, helping advertisers realise that the future must be built around better understanding and empathy of how consumers use their devices.

How can innovation in mobile further change how brands and consumers interact?
It is still far too easy to find large brands that are looking for consumers to engage easily and naturally, but don’t take advantage of things such as Accelerated Mobile Pages or even an effective mobile site. Within advertising, formats are still being used that shout, interrupt or confuse users, rather than excite, inspire or engage.

The value exchange is becoming clearer for consumers. There’s never been a better time for brands to engage consumers on mobile, as usage is continuing to increase year on year. Creatively, the landscape is also rife with opportunity. Mobile has the potential to fulfil the promise of personalised, relevant advertising that can entertain, impress and bring real value to people. We already have the technology to do this but innovation in both technology and in our approach will continue driving improvements.