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Our Predictions for Mobile Advertising in 2020

Media Buying by Jessica Chappell

As mobile technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the best place for brands to connect with consumers is literally in the palms of their hands. Advertising on mobile platforms will undoubtedly continue to grow by leaps and bounds through 2020 and beyond. 

Investment in mobile advertising hasn’t just gone through the proverbial roof in recent years; it’s shattered it. WARC reports that mobile ad spend reached $137.9 billion worldwide in 2018. The incredible part is that nearly 80% of this value has been created in just the last five years. According to WARC’s latest Global Ad Trends, “The boom in mobile ad spend has reflected a surge in daily consumption, which has more than doubled since 2012. Daily time using mobile internet has risen to 3:14 (h:mm) during the last five years – an increase of almost two hours. Over 90% of this time is spent in-app, according to comScore data.” 

In fact, WARC’s data indicates that, for the first time ever, mobile will account for the majority of the time we spend online. Nearly every global population now lives within range of a 3G signal while only 60% of homes have broadband internet access and fewer than half own a PC. By 2025, WARC predicts that almost three-quarters of all internet users will be mobile-only.

This is good news for advertisers. The click-through rate for direct-to-consumer brands is three times higher on mobile than on desktop computers, and the conversion rate is 50% larger. Equally enticing is the price point, with mobile platforms’ cost-per-conversion coming in at a full 25% less than desktop.

To the casual observer, mobile innovation may seem to have slowed, but just under the surface are a bevy of exciting new technologies poised to change the way we work and interact with one another. 

The future of mobile advertising is super-personalized, experienced-focused advertising that seems to appear organically in a user’s feed, and mobile tech is rapidly advancing to get us there.

Hyper-Targeted Advertising

Many experts now believe that the value of data has surpassed that of oil. There’s no denying that connecting brands with the right audience is invaluable, and this is the promise of mobile. 

Combining data like browsing habits and interests with core sociodemographic and purchasing metrics enables marketers to build unprecedentedly powerful consumer profiles. Real-time buying leverages consumer data to serve the right ad that is seen by the right person. Targeting is everything when it comes to social media advertising and doing it properly will dramatically reduce your cost per click.

Right Place, Right Time

Joseph Jaffe, author of Built to Suck and co-founder of HMS Beagle, predicts that geofencing, geotargeting and other GPS based tools will “bring proximity marketing front and center,” taking “right place right time” advertising out of the realm of pipe dreams and making it a reality.  

Several companies have gotten in on the ground floor with this tech, alerting users to coupons or special deals when they’re near one of their retail locations. There’s a fine line to be walked here between convenient and creepy. How people perceive such services is largely based on their effectiveness and usefulness. 

Customer Experience Focus

As brands seek not only to identify the perfect customer but to reach those profiles at the perfect moment, the very nature of marketing is undergoing a quantum shift. Data has long shown that the most accurate targeting for mobile is user-centric rather than site-centric. We also know that when people encounter an ad in their social media feed, it will be far better received if it doesn’t look like an ad. 

The future of mobile advertising goes beyond where and how customers will see an ad; it extends to how they interact with a company as well. For instance, Burberry is partnering with Apple to create a highly personalized, invitation-only messaging service called “R Message” that will allow customers to book in-store appointments, receive personalized product advice, and make purchases. This kind of personalized messaging service is likely to become increasingly popular, allowing customers to communicate with store personnel via text formats directly.

Doing it Right

Increased data privacy regulations in both EMEA and the US may change the way targeting is conducted. It’s critical to make sure all targeting efforts are done in a way that is above board and with as much transparency as possible. As of this writing, many of these regulations are shaping up to be more of a help than a hindrance. In fact, following the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, “the reach of Google’s ad trackers actually rose by almost 1%.” Customers are usually willing to opt into privacy policies and have a higher valuation of brands that offer them the option.

Carefully guarding customer data, strictly adhering to regulations, and being as transparent as possible isn’t just important to keep companies in good standing with the governments of the world, it’s also critical to the customer/brand relationship. People are inherently wary of data mining and fiercely guard their privacy. Knowing that a brand takes their privacy as seriously as they do makes them far more likely to allow that brand into their world which, in turn, makes them exponentially more likely to become a loyal customer.

The Future is Mobile

A recent report by eMarketer predicts that “by 2020, 88.8% of native ads in the US will become more mobile, up 85.2% in 2018.” They also foresee more programmatic purchasing ahead. Surprisingly, social advertising, which accounted for 75% of native advertising spend in 2018 is forecast to go down slightly by 2020 but will still dominate the market.

Flourishing in the digital age means keeping up with trends and tech. As we fly into the next decade, that means mastering the art of targeting, investing in a solid social presence, and putting customer experience first. The more personalized your user experience, especially on mobile, the more likely those users will become customers. 

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We’ve helped some of the world’s top brands get more value out of their media buys and we can do the same for you. Ready to work with us? Still unsure? We’d love to hear from you.