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5 trends in mobile advertising

By Marco Rigon

Mobile World Congress 2016 has been an inspiring event for those involved in mobile advertising.

The Barcelona, Spain-based conference provided a great forum for catching up with the latest developments, including programmatic mobile, location-based targeting and, crucially, the need for creativity to justify interrupting consumers’ very personal mobile experiences.

Remember, mobile users average 3 hours and 40 minutes each day on their phones, longer than we probably devote to eating, cycling or intimacy.

So here are my top takeaways for marketers to stay relevant for mobile users.

1. Think user-centric, not site-centric, advertising on mobile
The programmatic trend has hit mobile. This year, a huge number of players from the programmatic world came to MWC, including Sizmek and its mobile platform StrikeAd, Rubicon Project and AOL.

Audience planning and accurate targeting are clearly moving center-stage in mobile marketing, too.

Mobile programmatic is a new user-centric approach, combining data to activate true audience planning.

Until now, the mobile industry had a site-centric approach.

If you wanted to reach affluent people in Paris, you put something on Le Monde’s site.

Now we know that when this same affluent person is getting bored waiting for his plane, he is playing Candy Crush. So it is worth reaching out to him on Candy Crush because that is where he has time available and is more receptive to the message.

The beauty of programmatic is that none of this data is personally identifiable.

2. See where consumers go and find out who they are
Location-based marketing is a growing area of mobile advertising and one that no other media can replicate.

See where your consumers are going, understand who they are and how to speak to them.

For marketers, the ability to know at all times where users are located opens extraordinary opportunities.

In addition, not only does GPS data provides great insights about users, but this data can also be activated to create actionable audience segments based on real behavior.

By gathering location – life spaces – and immediate usage data, we know so much.

Every morning before 8 a.m., an average user logs on through an IP address in Brooklyn, New York. He must live there.

Between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m., he arrives in Midtown Manhattan, where he buys a bagel. This information interests Dunkin’ Donuts. He bought a Starbucks coffee through its application, and then worked all day on Park Avenue. He is a CSP+ category consumer.

We even know that every year in June, he visits Barcelona for a week. We know a lot about this person, but not his name. Imagine the marketing possibilities.

3. Mobile apps and experiences beat ad blocking
Ad blocking has been much discussed last week in Barcelona.

Of course, the best way to tackle ad blocking is to stop annoying people. This does not mean you need to stop advertising, but you have to be relevant and you have to give value to the user.

Remember, ad blocking affects sites but does not touch mobile apps at all. For brands, this means creating a new marketing paradigm.

Mobile creates considerable value by generating new and sustainable business models such as Nike + and Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay system.

Above all, we need to help marketers develop mobile experiences that create value and build long-term relationships with consumers.

4. A true cross-device approach starts with mobile
Mobile-first creativity is one of the keys to success.

You cannot go cross-channel and simply transfer a Web campaign to mobile. You must start from where people are spending the most time – mobile – and simplify for where they are spending less time – the Web.

Forget boring banners and things that make no sense for the user.

In addition, mobile allows you to capture sensors from gyroscope, camera, the pinch screen to zoom in and out and, soon, Virtual Reality and 360 video.

For example, an immersive car ad using the gyroscope puts you inside the vehicle looking round as it is driving along. Try doing that with a laptop.

5. The opportunity to seize is mobile video
The explosion of mobile video has transformed the way content is consumed and shared on mobile platforms.

Nowadays, social content is inherently mobile, allowing users to live instant experiences. Periscope and Meerkat come to mind.

YouTube and Facebook rack up millions of hours of views. Snapchat has realized that vertical video is the future, since most of us use mobile in the vertical orientation. This is preferable to landscape orientation, which leaves empty blocks on either side of the screen – which brands are paying for and people are not looking at.

The TEADS stand at MWC highlighted its native video offer. Pre-roll advertising is not the right way forward. Pre-roll on mobile is even more annoying than on the Web.

Instead, consider “inRead” formats, with video positioned in premium content and only launching when in view on the screen. Then consumers are led to a full mobile experience afterwards. This is much more user-friendly.

MWC GIVES ME hope that mobile advertising is moving in the right direction.

Marketers are putting the needs of the audience at the heart of their strategies.

A new focus on creativity as a way of engaging with consumers through mobile, combined with the use of data for better targeting, is just the boost that mobile advertising needs.

Having said all that, the truth is that mobile will probably be obsolete in 15 years’ time.

This inert object that we check 200 times per day will be forgotten because of mobility.

Mobility is itself on the move, becoming part of the cityscape through the Internet of Things and Smart Cities and, at the same time, becoming intimate with humans through wearables such as watches and shoes.

Tomorrow, mobile will become our second skin, fully connected. So now is the time for brands to truly get to grips with mobile as the future beckons.

Marco Rigon is Paris-based global head of Mobext, Havas’ mobile marketing agency. Reach him at [email protected].