Head of Mobile's best bits for 2018.
2017 has been a challenging year across the board as our industry makes a shift bigger than any of us would have witnessed before. Agencies have (on the whole) pivoted into data driven tech & content businesses, tech partners desperately try to remain relevant as the market evolves and publishers, well, as it appears currently, they may yet have their day again.
In a year of focus on measurement and efficiencies, creativity was challenged often and even the duopoly had their fair share - embroiled in both brand safety & measurement challenges.
Mobile continued to grow in terms of usage and revenue, it led the way in video consumption and became the lead channel in terms of time spent across the UK.
An eventful year saw Snapchat hit IPO valuing the company at $24BN. Apple launched a £1000 iPhone and Black Friday Week was the biggest mobile sales period on record in the UK reaching a hefty £2.55BN.
But what's ahead of us from a mobile marketing perspective, here's my view of what will impact the industry in the UK most in 2018 :
- LESS DATA, MORE PROBLEMS: With the compliance date set as the 25th May 2018, GDPR is set to give us the biggest data access shake up of recent times in a move which aims to give the control back to the consumer. We will likely see a regression from the intricacies & layers of data used today, at least from certain parts of the supply chain, potentially resulting in a shift back toward utilising publishers to deliver scaled audience buys. Retro. We see a number of businesses trying to pivot their offering or re-appraise their methodologies in order to stay scaled, relevant and compliant. We expect to see agencies hold their partners accountable and there will be casualties. If you aren't talking about it, I'd be very worried.
- MOBILE PROGRAMMATIC : There is no doubting that programmatic will continue to gather further pace in 2018 as most large agency groups head closer toward their 100% programmatic goals. Mobile is understandably less developed than its predecessor but areas such as creativity, which were previously a blocker, have now reached parity with the likes of Celtra making brilliant creative accessible to all. Taking into account the challenges we for see around data (via GDPR & Apple) - I would expect to see a bigger focus on more private direct publisher buys as well as app inventory (see pt.4)
- SHORTER, MORE OFTEN : From the data we see across our analytics platform (Flurry), we can see that consumers are accessing their devices more and more often each day, especially when looking at the future generations. The challenge for advertisers is the session times are getting shorter and more bitesize and as a result the opportunity to engage the user and own that 'mobile moment' are becoming more and more difficult. A much better understanding of usage trends and session times from both an activation and creative perspective are more key now than ever before.
- RETURN OF THE APP : the combination of the huge increase in mobile consumption and the change in cookie usage could see the DeviceID become the main anchor to identifying users & their behaviour at scale. This could spell a resurgence in fortune for the app economy, and as the largest source of inventory available across the market is a great opportunity for the channel to grow further. That said, focus & investment will need to come to allay advertiser concerns around brand safety, UX and inventory quality.