Consumers are captivated by their smartphones, with the average US adult expected to spend more than three and a half hours a day on mobile devices this year.
So it’s little wonder brands are ramping up smartphone spend, with mobile – which already accounts for almost 70% of digital advertising – expected to account for almost 50% of total US ad dollars by 2022.
With this escalation in mind, 2019 is likely to be a significant year in the mobile marketing sector. Here are just a handful of the developments we can expect over the coming months:
With over 2 million apps in both Google Play and the Apple App store, it could be assumed the mobile app landscape is reaching saturation but this is far from the case.
Businesses and developers are continually finding new and innovative uses for mobile apps, such as J.P. Morgan’s online banking app that offers free or discounted trades in its digital investing service. They are also finding ways to improve services already provided by existing apps, with the phenomenal success of viral 15-second video app TikTok illustrating there is still room for video platforms, and the recent release of Facebook’s Lasso showing the social media giant believes the space is not yet full.
With apps accounting for over 90% of internet time on smartphones and 77% of internet time on tablets, there is still plenty of scope for the app market to expand and diversify and this continued development provides endless opportunity for marketers to reach users while they are immersed in-app.
We are likely to see particular development in AI-based apps, as well as a heavier emphasis on virtual and augmented reality over the coming months.
Mobile ad fraud is on the rise – doubling year-on-year during the first quarter of 2018. It is also becoming increasingly sophisticated, encompassing everything from SDK spoofing to click injection. When this escalation in mobile ad fraud is combined with growing concerns around brand safety, it stands to reason that supply chain transparency will be top of advertisers’ agenda as we head into 2019.
This demand for transparency will result in greater alignment between brands, tech providers, and app developers, and only vendors with an ad tech stack that can serve from demand to supply will be able to successfully support a wide variety of developers.
Specific anti-fraud metrics for mobile apps will become increasingly common across the industry, and advertisers will also explore engaging users directly via their mobile network operator rather than targeting them in-app as a way to avoid fraud and brand safety issues.
The coming year will see a strong focus on interaction-based mobile advertising and brand experiences to both acquire and re-engage consumers. Brands are already experimenting with interactive mobile experiences – for instance Ikea introduced an augmented reality app that allowed users to virtually place furniture in their homes to see how it looks – but 2019 will be the year this really takes off, blurring the line between mobile advertising and content.
Gamification will play a central role in interactive mobile experiences, even among non-gaming brands. Playable ads allow brands to communicate with users in a fun and entertaining way through mini games, creating a meaningful user experience that can drive phenomenal results. Playable will also be used to join the dots between the digital and physical worlds, for instance by rewarding players with prizes or discount vouchers that can be redeemed in store.
In 2019, with a continuing shift towards user-centric advertising, brands and app developers will need to understand how to track performance more effectively to make ad budgets work harder. Brands need to be able to analyze results in real time, understand how users are engaging with their ads, and optimize both media and creative in-flight to produce the best possible user experience.
Brands that can create continuous ad iterations by partnering with a vendor that produces mobile creative in-house will have a competitive edge and will be able to respond to real-time events more quickly and at a lower cost than those relying on creative agencies.
They will also have more scope to experiment with data-driven tactics such as geo-location targeting and dynamic creative optimization to achieve peak performance.
Mobile may already account for over two-thirds of digital ad spend but the format is still expanding and has a long way to go to reach maturity. With the mobile app market continuing to diversify, brands demanding greater supply chain transparency, an increased focus on interactive mobile experiences and gamification, and a rise in the use of data insights to optimize both media and creative, 2019 is already shaping up to be a momentous year for mobile marketing.
Luca Mastrorocco is VP of Global Sales at Glispa.
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