What a dynamic and exciting year 2014 proved to be for mobile.
If 2013 was the year to get on mobile, then 2014 was the year that marketers really began to understand the full potential of mobile advertising. Innovation, growth and growing pains all happened
Three important trends shaped the global mobile advertising sector in 2014 and will continue to play an integral role in mobile’s evolution next year. These trends add complexity to an already intricate mobile ad ecosystem, requiring marketers to find and work with smart marketing partners that can help make mobile advertising simple.
Here’s a review of the biggest mobile ad trends of 2014 and what to watch for next year.
Native is no longer a buzz word
As consumers continue to embrace and demand technology that makes their lives more enriching and efficient, advertisers need to adapt to these behaviors and provide more sophisticated mobile ad campaigns. This year native advertising, which is more engaging and less intrusive than banner ads, started to make mobile inroads.
While ad spend on mobile native remains relatively small, overall native spend was projected to rise 46.7 per cent to $3.2bn in 2014, according to eMarketer.
Native advertising isn’t a new concept, but the exact nature of this ad format and the ability to scale it within the mobile app environment has been a hot topic of discussion.
It’s a no brainer, for publishers, as native commands higher eCPM rates (on average three times higher than standard banner ads) and leads to a more lucrative in-app advertising solution. Advertisers are willing to place higher bids on an ad unit that mimics the publishers’ site, therefore leading to more clicks.
This increase in demand and supply for native has pushed the best in the industry to innovate their platforms and offer a scalable mobile native ad solution.
No surprise: app discovery is still a challenge
While 2014 was exciting for a number of reasons, it was not without its challenges.
Getting your app discovered and acquiring users in a market of close to three million apps within the two major app stores (Google Play and Apple’s App Store) proves to be a constant battle for most app developers. When app stores first launched, numerous start-ups emerged to try to remedy publishers’ discovery issues. While many of those app discovery start-ups have gone out of business, a more effective user acquisition solution emerged in 2014: in-app advertising.
As ad budgets shift from brand awareness to performance, the ability to identify your target users while they’re in-app and do the discovery for them has proven to be powerful.
Despite this important progress, many small and independent app developers struggle to get their app found amid the deluge of new apps.
In 2015, look for some key innovations and tech solutions to come to market to help solve this persistent challenge.
Programmatic begins to mature
Innovators in the programmatic ad space have been working towards the Holy Grail: providing a valuable, scalable solution for advertisers to best reach their audience. We are just about there; mobile programmatic ad spend in the US is set to hit $8.4bn next year, surpassing online for the first time, according to eMarketer.
Improvements in the use of first- and third-party data will allow marketers to optimize and buy mobile ad inventory at an incredibly efficient rate, proving to advertisers that more dollars should be spent programmatically.
This trend is expected to continue to grow, especially as we see rich ad formats, such as video and native, being bought through an automated process in 2015.
Mobile advertising won the hearts and budgets of many marketers in 2014 but what can we expect from the sector in 2015? We anticipate seeing a big uptick in both demand and supply for engaging mobile ad units, such as mobile native. Buying native will no longer be a buzzword; we’re seeing a huge increase in performance for brands.
Concerns about how to scale premium mobile ad formats will be a thing of the past. With mobile adoption hitting its peak, the need to effectively reach these users, not just at scale but to provide rich, engaging experiences, has never been more important, and buying native programmatically is the solution.
As mobile advertising continues to evolve and mature in 2015, performance will increase, commanding more dollars from traditional ad budgets.
Mobile advertising in 2015 will be a balance between impressive innovations that solve publishers’ app discovery challenges and bring higher performance to advertisers, as well as some continuing growing pains due to the industry’s rapid growth.
Assaf Suprasky, executive vice-president of media, Matomy Media Group
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