Ad Trends from MWC 2018

The following is a guest contributed post by Ignasi Prat, CMO at Tappx

Mobile World Congress reached its conclusion last week and again proved to be the beating heart of imminent and future technology. As a Barcelona based company, we at Tappx are most definitely biased towards MWC being the major global show for all things mobile related, which these days is every kind of tech.

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, there were of course the usual smartphone launches, but this year’s show also went deeper into the two major technologies shaping our mobile future: 5G and Artificial Intelligence. Each of these technologies has its own incredible scope and likely impact, but when combined, they are set to superpower and transform industries; and one of these is the global ad industry.

5G – the fifth generation mobile wireless standard – is fast becoming a reality. 4G was a great improvement in terms of data speed download, which has delivered a sizeable and beneficial impact for users, and how they consume content across their smart devices. 5G is all about the user experience and is set to open up a whole new world of possibilities, as everything will be connected with an ever-growing flow of data, serving an exponentially growing number of connected devices – whether that’s connected cars, homes, or any other examples that people can’t imagine quite yet.

Why marketers should be excited by the focus at MWC on 5G is because it opens new doors for marketers, where new devices can provide new advertising opportunities and deliver new ways and channels to reach customers, where each one has their own idiosyncrasies and nuances.

5G is going to be faster, potentially much faster: compared to typical 4G download speeds of up to 150 megabytes per second, 5G promises up to an astonishing 20 gigabytes per second. But more exciting for mobile marketers is that 5G also promises a decrease in latency (ie the time between when an order is given and when it takes place). The drop is from 50 milliseconds for 4G, to between 1-5ms for 5G. This has a direct impact on the advertising industry, because faster data transmission and lower latency will permit new streaming capabilities, such as 4K video advertising, and immersive 360-degree videos or Virtual- (VR) and Augmented-Reality (AR) ads.

Prior to MWC, Apple unveiled its ARKit project that aims to boost the creation of AR content (at least for iPhone 8 and X users), Google has countered with ARCore. This ARms race will be a boon to mobile marketers as it opens up a new creative horizon for advertising and for creating 5G-enabled immersive experiences. It also gives content creators a new channel – with all the opportunities and challenges that go with it – to come up new types of content to appeal to audiences, but it’s up to mobile marketers to reach those audiences, to monetize the content and make it work for brands. We might not have all the answers, but we’re excited by the prospect of new message formats, acquisition metrics and creative fun we’ll have.

The other side of all the connected devices and content on display at MWC is data. It isn’t just the ‘new oil’ of the 21st century, but data is the fuel that powers technology. The days of marketing based solely on intuition or small data samples are history. Instead we have a wealth of data about consumers, telling us more than we could have ever dreamed of. But as the amount of data gathered grows exponentially, we need to ask the question – what’s the best method to identify data, build insights, and apply to our advantage? Enter AI.

It’s Artificial Intelligence that’s transforming the mobile advertising industry into the current mobile adtech industry, where smart machines trading ads in real-time are significantly more efficient than human ad operations. The increasing role of AI across the entire advertising industry, and its capability for solving challenges facing advertisers and publishers, can empower advertisers to serve relevant content, to hyper targeted audiences, in the correct context. Everything in real-time.

What Mobile World Congress tells us as mobile marketers is that the future of the ad industry is exciting and promising. The arrival of 5G and AI will open new opportunities to deepen and interrogate the relationships that advertising has with people and ways to use these technologies to move customers along the buying journey. Our challenge – as ever – is to get on top of these trends first.