Asia-Pacific currently boasts more than1 billion smartphone users, and this number is expected to rise to more than 2 billion by 2020. This provides brands and marketers with the opportunity to harness a very powerful advertising medium, if they can keep abreast of consumer trends. We see seven key trends that will make the most impact in the mobile advertising space in the next year.
1. The new primetime
Publishers are going to wake up to the fact that consumers will no longer accept content pushed upon them. We are already seeing significant declines in viewership of primetime TV. We now live in choice-based, “pull” environment, where the consumer is in control.
Mobile is now an integral part of consumer lifestyle, with 45 percent of all screen time spent on mobile devices, making significant ground on traditional TV viewing. The migration of audience from TV to mobile will not only continue, but it will accelerate. There is still a clear need for high quality content and new distribution models. It remains to be seen whether traditional content producers will be able to make the shift to mobile and which existing streaming services will prevail. We could even be faced with a situation where an entirely new player will enter the market in the years to come and completely disrupt the industry.
2. Vertical video
With smartphones intuitively held straight up rather than sideways, it wasn’t so long ago that “vertical video syndrome” became a satirical but legitimate affliction. Yet, it is now the natural, default position for consumers to view content on most apps, and has forced the entire industry from app developers to advertisers to rethink their approach to video ad creative for mobile.
When users have to rotate or tilt their device to view content, the drop-off rate instantly goes up. Vertical video presents a more natural viewing experience, so it is no wonder that there is an increase in views, interaction and engagement when content is presented in a more user-friendly format. We will see more content moving to vertical format in 2017.
3. Performance, data science and machine learning
Mobile is the most measurable medium for advertising because it offers brands and marketers the opportunity to target very precise audiences, with very relevant content, at the most appropriate time. We’re going to continue to see brands become more performance-focused in 2017, caring more about results and outcomes than impressions and clicks.
The very definition of performance in user-acquisition marketing is evolving rapidly. For example, in the app world, it’s not just about app installs anymore. App marketers will be moving quickly toward post-install metrics like retention rates, registrations and in-app purchase behavior. Data science and machine-learning will play a pivotal role in the understanding of consumer behavior, and predictive algorithms will allow marketers to bid and execute media buys on real time basis to deliver highest ROI.
4. Mobile ad creativity and innovation
If you thought mobile video was hot in 2016, wait till you see what’s next in 2017. Video advertising is going to enter its next phase where its gets a whole lot more interactive, more responsive and custom-built for mobile experiences. Consumers will be able to engage with video during their app session, make choices on characters, products and participate in shaping the brand stories. They no longer have to wait for the end card to be served to engage in the video, and this opens up a world of possibilities.
The video creative is simply the base layer, the backdrop for features such as personalized text based on consumer’s demographic or geolocation, real-time voting or tapping to respond on Twitter, or even shaking your phone for a chance to be an instant winner. We can finally provide the kind of instant gratification that mobile users demand, which is memorable and therefore extremely effective.
5. Virtual reality
The age of consumer virtual reality (VR) is here. 2016 marked the commercial peak with new consumer products, putting users front and center for experiences. For marketers and advertisers, the challenge was understanding the new format of an immersive screen and its unique content.
This year, VR will not only continue to redefine how we experience things, but also create moments that we want to relive again and again. There are going to be massive implications for categories such as gaming, travel, shopping and many others. Marketers are going to be building bridges to VR, with a series of small steps that lead toward fully immersive advertising experiences – leveraging 360-degree video, and haptic effects to add dimensionality to the creative.
6. Mobile wallets
Digital payments and wallets are becoming mainstream in Asia Pacific. The rise of mobile-first business in a shared economy coupled with innovation in the payments space are causing massive disruption in the way people previously consumed products and services. Consumers will continue to become more accepting of conducting commerce on their devices in 2017.
So much is already trusted to a mobile device, that with improved experiences, there is no longer significant rationale for consumers to have reservations about making purchases on their phone. This will change the way how brands are built, distributed and consumed in the mobile-first world.
7. Voice-activiated AI
The promise of voice-activated artificial intelligence (AI) will finally be realized in 2017, propelled by innovation in smart-home technology. Voice-enabled, connected devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home are gaining popularity since jumping into the home assistant space, providing consumers with a more intuitive user experience to manage their homes.
However, outside of these devices, the potential of voice-activated AI has not been fully realized. People are not yet accustomed to talking to their computers or mobile devices, and there are still improvements that need to made within a mobile operating system to make your smartphone a true AI companion. Nonetheless, if the phone is a training device for all the new experiences that pervade into other electronic devices, voice is something that will be more deeply integrated into our lives this year.
Ready or not
Throughout the year, we will see media companies addressing these trends through their creative strategies. Mobile is clearly the channel that delivers consistent value for today’s consumers. It is companies that were born of mobile that are serving consumers in a way that no one else can. They're the ones who will continue to lead the charge.
Vikas Gulati is managing director for Asia at AdColony