The following is a guest contributed post by Rachel Lawrence, Social Media Planner/Buyer at R2integrated.
2017 may be a turning point for mobile marketing. According to a study conducted by PwC and sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), mobile formats accounted for 47 percent of the $32.7 billion U.S. organizations spent on advertising in the first half of 2016. That’s up from 30 percent in the first half of 2015. At the current growth rate, mobile ad spending will overtake desktop soon (if it hasn’t already). That shift will fuel four significant changes in mobile marketing:
- Mobile-First Will Become the Norm
Facebook and a long list of other publishers have declared themselves “mobile-first” companies. In 2017, a majority of digital advertisers will follow suit.
In practical terms, that means marketers will move away from incorporating standard mobile ads (320×500) into a single, packaged media buy. Instead, they will make a separate media buy for mobile and create ad units that are unique to the channel. These new ads may personalize content by user location and behaviors gleaned from multiple data sources. Local geography, weather, and events will inform ad content to make it more relevant.
- Marketers Will Go Beyond App Installs
Conventional mobile ads try to get users to download apps. In 2017, we’ll see mobile marketers test out more calls to action that leverage all the known data about users. The more marketers can learn about which ads are most effective, the more they can optimize for customer relevance. New ad units may drive ecommerce purchases, email list signups, information requests, text messages, and other actions that don’t depend on a mobile app.
- Expect Mobile Ads for Wearables
A PwC survey conducted in March 2016 found that 49 percent of U.S. respondents owned at least one wearable device. Fitness bands were far and away the most popular wearable followed by smart watches and smart glasses. The surging popularity of wearables means that wearable device makers and app developers can monetize this audience on a mass scale.
Given the diversity of devices, wearable ads will have to adapt to more screen sizes and formats than any other ad type. The data from wearables also could improve targeting for all mobile ad formats. A step tracker, for instance, could calculate when a user is likely to need new running shoes and deliver footwear ads at the proper time. Similarly, a tracker with GPS and heart rate might be able to differentiate among gym rats, cyclists, yogis, and other athletic communities and personalize ads accordingly.
- Mobile Video Will Rule Social Media
Multiple studies – including those from Salesforce, RythmOne, and Millennial Media – find significantly higher engagement rates with video and mobile video versus other ad formats. Social networks are well aware of this trend. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and even LinkedIn will promote mobile video to increase the value and impact of their ad space in 2017. Marketing organizations that can produce a high volume of short, creative videos will capitalize on this shift.
A Mobile Game Plan
Combined, these four predictions provide an outline for mobile marketing in 2017. Go mobile-first, test new personalized ad formats, think beyond app installs, and use video to win on social media.