The mobile ad industry is currently witnessing never been seen momentum. Here are top five predictions for what would help drive much greater industry growth in 2014.
n Programmatic with punch:
Programmatic buying and selling has been one of the biggest growth areas for mobile advertising in 2013. With greater growth in mobile internet consumption and, thus, significantly greater inventory availability, publishers would continue to see this as a significant driver to enhance yield. However, the knock-out punch for programmatic would come in through integration of third party DMP type data, social graph data, carrier data and context data to make programmatically procured mobile inventory much richer and targeted versus how mobile display advertising is today.
n Paid social marries display: The consumer time spent on social media continues to grow with increasing options like Instagram, Path, Pinterest, Snapchat and more beyond the old war horses - Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Also social is growing to become a completely mobile phenomenon. With social networks embracing advertising successfully, the amount of mobile advertising options available to an advertisers are growing manifold. However, watch out for two key developments, which should make this business much larger and help create a singular paid social and mobile display marketplace.
a) Launch of Facebook exchange for mobile and Twitter launching its own programmatic platform after the Mopub acquisition integration. These would be big game changers for mobile ads as with these moves significantly larger volumes of super targeted mobile ad inventory would become available to advertisers.
b) Rich media on social: This would provide for a big boost for brand advertisers to better leverage social and mobile. We have seen signs of this becoming an industry growth driver in 2013 and expect this to be a significant contributor in industry growth in 2014.
n Rich media gets richer: Rich media has been a big driver to get top brands to adopt mobile advertising in 2013. Rich media capabilities have also grown significantly, helped by growing smartphones functionalities and easier availability of public content and context APIs, which make rich media ads have a greater real time context.
However, the biggest growth for rich media would come in through greater adoption and usage of rich media authoring platforms which make building of these ad units much more scalable and cost efficient.
n From premium publishers to premium data: We have long lived in an era where media teams and advertisers have felt more comfortable with publisher-led buying instead of audience buying on digital media. This has happened due to (a) publisher driven sales efforts (b) limited availability of audience data.
I expect this to change significantly with availability of much richer user data and adoption of programmatic helping shift ad dollars in favour of audience buying versus publisher buying. Given the stage of the digital ad market in India, this trend will start be felt in 2014 with much greater impact happening over a longer period.
n Ads become content: The lines between advertising and content when blurred make advertising more impactful. We have already seen it starting to happen on traditional media where advertisers are allocating greater budgets on branded content/in programme placements etc.
Mobile advertising till now has had defined boundaries between advertising and content. We expect these lines to blur thus creating a much larger marketplace for native ads. We need to look no further than the Facebook newsfeed ads to estimate how dramatically this could alter the industry and create ad opportunities with greater social context and much higher impact.