As we transition from 2015 into 2016, what can we expect in terms of mobile and m-advertising next year?

1. More devices: Wearables and all things that might be classed as “mobile” in this Internet of Things era will become more prevalent. We will start to expect “connected everything” – more of an experience, more creative, more personalised, and all in real time.

The GSMA mobile device tracker says the number of mobile handsets are expanding seven times faster than the human race itself (there are already more phones than humans: 7.5 billion versus 7.2 billion at the end 2014). Expectations are that 36% of revenue for Apple in 2016 will be attributed to the Apple Watch.

I think people will start to find that wearables make mobile easier in that they place technologies on you first (sensors, et. al.). Everything is hands free with no need to reach into your handbag or pocket.

2. Data: Next year, advertisers will need to prioritise data more than ever by developing their own first-party data (if they haven’t already). With an ever increasing number of programmatic advertising platforms, there will be more opportunity to gather data, better targeting across platforms, and much more creative experimentation with native and newer rich media ad units. All this gives unprecedented use to behavioural data/analysis.

3. Ad blocking: The Vegas magicians Penn & Teller got their careers launched on the back of exposing illusions that the magic fraternity had been doing for years. Uproar ensued.

However, their argument was that all they were doing is raising the bar and replacing old magic with newer, better “mind-bending” illusions that were appreciated more these days and more relevant. As such they were partly responsible for giving a degree of “cool” back to a dying art.

In publishing it is the same. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting acceptance especially in a new digital age where the environment changes constantly.

People today are looking for a better experience. Millennials are growing up with a bar raised much higher than their parents in terms of what they can expect from the world around us, including advertisers, agencies, and publishers.

We’re all in this together. So, how do we tackle the exponential times we now live in?

There is a need for everyone in the chain to enhance messaging and provide better quality creative that’s engaging and valued.

Speaking for the news media 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 has never been so important that they can’t (and won’t) just throw it all away now.

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, and, in essence, a better experience.

4. The holy grail of cross-device tracking and targeting: This is still an area that needs much focus. We’ve not got it right yet. The cross-device tracking market still seeks a leader.

This means that advertisers need to use first- and third-party data together to optimise their approach to cross-device tracking and/or targeting. Having partnerships with DMP ad tech companies helps shortcut the system between using multi-data sources and targeting ads to newer audiences.

5. Self-serve programmatic plartforms: Advertisers (and publishers) are looking for better transparency in programmatic advertising. Whilst advertisers want ROI and to see exactly what they are paying for, publishers want access to data for analysing the types of ads and brands that are getting “more bang for their buck” with their ad inventory.

In 2016, advertisers should look to share resources with programmatic partners who share data and offer better targeting and pricing options.

6. Ad units driving engagement levels: In 2016, ads will continue to become more creative and more engaging, as they will have to be. Expect much change. 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), which, in turn, results in better engaged users while minimising distraction. 

On their side, publishers 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.

7. ROI/viewability: ROI will become crucial next year but 100% guarantees of viewability are, frankly, impossible. You can almost never guarantee that a person will definitely see your ad. Fulfilment of 100% is a better option and more realistic measure. Clarity around mobile ROI will become important.

Mobile in 2016 becomes bigger than ever.

Compliments of the season and a happy new year to all INMA members.