Ask any CMO or marketing professional about their advertising spend and priorities in 2018 and, for most, ‘mobile’ will come top of the list.
Whether it’s via mobile web or in-app, mobile advertising has become the dominant medium for advertisers and global brands with data from eMarketer showing a 33.6% rise in mobile advertising spend in 2017 to $142.78bn – a figure which is set to continue climbing in 2018.
This is being driven by both the amount of time mobile users spend on their phones and the number of mobile phone users around the world. Indeed, the volume of smartphones worldwide continues to increase, especially in important markets like China which, according to figures in a recent report, is home to more than 724 million smartphones. With all these factors combined, it’s not difficult to see why mobile continues to dominate the advertising landscape and stays firmly at the top of marketers and advertisers spending priorities in 2018.
In terms of the mobile advertising market for the year ahead, we’ve already seen a few predictions, as well as some exciting announcements from mobile operators at the recent Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona. In-app adverts will reportedly take precedence over mobile web adverts, for example. And the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other global regulation designed to scrutinise the way organizations use personal data, will come into play creating a significant challenge for the industry.
The speed of change will also continue to accelerate with more industry consolidation but also the rise of smaller, innovative providers with a unique offering to the market. Similarly, increased adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will provide a powerful incentive and wider opportunities for mobile advertisers in 2018. There’s a lot to consider but it all confirms one universal truth – mobile advertising, in whatever form it might take – will dominate within advertisers’ budgets.
Making the most of untapped screens
With brands and marketers continually looking to take advantage of the increasing amount of time individuals spend looking at their mobile phones and devices, the question has moved from ‘how important is mobile advertising in the marketing mix’ to ‘which mobile screens are going to give us the best return and what sort of content should we be delivering’. Despite the maturation of mobile as an advertising medium, and the huge amount of investment in mobile advertising as individuals become more mobile and transient in their personal and professional lives, there are still relatively untapped screens just waiting to be discovered.
Take the humble SMS screen, for example. Person to Person (P2P) SMS continues to be a popular medium with mobile phone users aided by the increased use of Application to Person (A2P) messaging used by enterprises and organizations. We know it provides a secure and reliable communications channel – how many of us now get text messages to remind us about appointment times or deliveries which are on their way? We also know it is trusted, that individuals are more likely to open a marketing message via text than other mediums and that it is ubiquitous unlike the various IM Chat platforms which vary according the users’ personal preferences and use. Despite this, many marketers, advertisers and global brands have not considered the possibilities of utilising this space although text marketing has been adopted and used to varying success over many years.
Advertisers should be thinking beyond simply message delivery – what about fixed banners within a messaging or app screen which the user opts into and are tailored to their personal profile and preferences?
The role of Mobile Operators
Monetising mobile messaging, apps and phones has, up to now, been a significant challenge for mobile operators. They’ve struggled to generate additional revenue per user, maintain customer loyalty, have experienced increasingly high churn rate and, as a consequence of these things, falling revenues. We believe both new technology and greater participation by mobile operators could hold the key to unlocking opportunities for advertisers, app/vertical providers, OEM/manufacturers and users in 2018.
Some mobile operators in mature markets have a significant amount of insight and data on their users so could hold huge value to global brands and advertisers looking to deliver hyper-personalised advertising content to mobile users’ phones combined with user and preference-driven technology. It is encouraging to see more focus from mobile operators on enhancing the experience they offer mobile users. We’ve seen, for example, a number of mobile operators announcing the launch of advanced technology by partnering with technology providers like Cloudbanter, giving their users a more experiential, multimedia experience from their messaging platforms. This, however, is just the first step in what mobile operators could potentially offer customers using an intelligent touch point user front-end and engine.
Mobile adverts within mobile messaging, apps and phones
Mobile users already accept the addition of digital advertising, be it in the form of banner ads, sponsored content, pop-ups, mobile videos, branded surveys and more, provided they feel either the mobile experience is one which they really enjoy, or there is a financial or material advantage to them of accepting the advertisements on a particular platform – often it is a mix of both. Additionally, it almost goes without saying that data is driving increasingly acute personalisation and relevancy of adverts to a level which has never been seen before, from alerting someone when there is a sale on in their favourite shop to remembering important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, so the addition of in-app advertisements has benefits beyond financial for many.
In 2018, we expect to see greater collaboration between marketers and mobile operators. Our own technology offers an opportunity for advertisers to understand their target customer and deliver highly relevant adverts, whilst also enabling mobile operators to boost customer loyalty and regain much needed revenues so they can enhance the service they can provide to users. With new and exciting opportunities available for mobile advertising, we hope marketers will be looking for new and innovative ways to reach their target customers.