On the back of a market which is crystallising increasingly between two companies, with Google on one side and Apple on the other, the use of smartphones for web access overtook that of computers. Mobiles are becoming more and more involved in our everyday habits and are no longer a channel of communication, but rather a way of life. They are transforming usage and influence purchasing behaviour in a powerful way.
The major brands have understood that this way of life requires adjustments and investments. 2016 has been a pivotal year for mobile advertising, a year which highlights how those involved need to be even quicker to respond to technical developments as well as changes in consumer habits or behaviour. Here is a short list of aspects covering these key changes which will strongly influence how we operate in 2017.
Adblocks, I no longer love you
Still at the centre of discussion, the success of adblock software in 2016 cannot be denied, despite numerous attempts by publishers to reduce their impact in limiting or prohibiting access to their content for mobile and computer users. With over 50% of young people in certain counties using them, their success can be explained by a deep irritation caused by past mistakes committed by the advertising industry.
Whether on a mobile or tablet, the findings are the same: ranging from sites not adapted for mobile browsing, intrusive advertisements, incentives to click by mistake, poorly adapted call to action buttons or automatic redirections, the user experience has been largely abused.
However, despite this picture, which appears bleak for advertisers and publishers, a wind of change continues to blow within mobile advertising.
The overwhelming majority of mobile users are now using applications to access their preferred content. On these media, not only are advertising blockers inefficient, but new innovative formats have also appeared which are better targeted, more innovative, respect the user’s experience and browsing as well as the editorial content of sites.
These new advertisements are better integrated, more efficient and guarantee a return on investment for the advertisers.
Nothing can be done against adblockers on their own territory – they have their reasons for existing and hold a good image amongst an ever-warier general public. It is better for us to reinvent and rethink our current methods which we know generate attention, engagement and brand recognition.
Google, the algorithm that makes things change
Google’s impact on mobile browsing is significant. When Google decides to change its algorithms, the whole mobile ecosystem anxiously looks out for the impacts.
However, if on paper these changes are positive for the client and the user experience, they must be reacted to quickly and an effective strategy for the future put in place.
Since 2015 Google has favoured sites which are fully adapted for mobile use, especially with the addition of its “mobile friendly” label. In return, they penalise intrusive interruptions such as pop ups and sites which prompt visitors to leave contact details or share posts on social media which interrupt browsing. Beyond Google, these new paradigms are studied carefully by operators to ensure that their range of tools evolves sufficiently rapidly. In addition, flexibility and adaptability are essential for adapting to the demanding mobile market
Innovation and creativity for more responsible advertising
The omnipresence of mobile devices in our everyday and professional lives must be seen by advertisers and brands in general as a new space for creative freedom. To generate engagement and attention, creativity must be at the centre of their advertising strategies.
It is therefore time to review practices in advertising. If video is a widely-used format in classic web advertising and engages well on desktops, it must be rethought for mobiles – for example, providing vertical videos with no sound which are clearly understood. Buzz sites or Snapchat are excellent for spreading content of this type. The message will be memorised within ten seconds and can then be more easily shared.
The IAB has moved in this direction and has just published a guide in the USA defining new protocol concerning advertising formats. The objective remains the same: to provide a better experience for the user.
This approach allows the same format for all devices. HTML 5 will be the technical standard and will allow a greater degree of flexibility.
Even if the adoption curve for these new demands takes time, their awareness from the IAB is in itself a great step forward.
Targeting is also becoming increasingly fine along with creation services. Audience groups receive adverts in line with their expectations, their client status or their prospects. Maximum message exposure, regardless of the aim, is over. It is now easier than ever to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. It is more efficient, more relevant, but also easier to generate advertising pressure.
Responsible mobile advertising passes through awareness of all the players on the market, from advertiser to agency while also touching marketing and design. This essential collaboration enables created synergies to pass on and share good practice in order to better communicate on mobile projects.
This is an absolute priority to avoid repeating the errors of the past inherited from the desktop. Tomorrow’s web will be mobile. And if certain operators take the lead, it will be the whole industry that changes to optimise its presence in this area.
Mobile advertising in 2017 will be qualitative, relevant, non-intrusive, targeted and adapted. All you need to do is launch. So, are you ready?