2012 was a pretty eventful year in the world of mobile marketing. We saw the end of UDIDs, a boom in freemium gaming, cost-per-install taking hold, ballooning mobile ad budgets (but not much spend), mobile app promotion becoming essential, and much more. Of course, on the macro level, 2012 was the year both smartphones and – to a lesser extent – tablets became truly mainstream, with the US and UK smartphone markets inching closer to saturation point, while China and other developing nations pick up the ball and continue to run.
Although we’ve had similar predictions in the past, 2013 is certainly shaping-up to be the year the mobile ad spend flood gates burst open. So what can we expect over the next 12 months? What new mobile marketing trends should you be looking out for?
Instead of telling you what we think, mobyaffiliates has asked some of the leading companies and teams in the mobile ad industry for their mobile marketing predictions. Below you’ll find responses from a range of ad networks, app promotion companies, agencies, mobile journalists and researchers. We are lucky to have had input from some of the top mobile CEO’s, executives, developers and marketers working in the mobile app industry today. There’s a huge diversity of views but some common themes do seem to be coming though. Our top five trends are set out below – what’s your view?
1. Mobile Advertising Meets … Ad Tech – Mobile Real Time Bidding, Mobile DSPs and Exchanges transform the mobile ad industry <<Tweet this Trend>>
2. Data Drives Mobile Advertising ROI – Retargeting on mobile, cross-device fingerprinting and location targeting will all contribute to increasing mobile ad performance <<Tweet this Trend>>
3. Mobile Rich Media Grows Mobile App eCPMs – HTML 5 sites, rich media ads, video are all going to grow in size, increasing average mobile eCPMs in the process <<Tweet this Trend>>
4. Mobile App Promotion Eats Mobile Ads – CPI (cost-per-install) replaces CPC and CPM as the standard metric for mobile ads as brands learn from the successes of the mobile social games marketing machine <<Tweet this Trend>>
5. Alternative Mobile Media Formats – Responsive Design and Mobile Magazines: as the app market becomes saturated, other formats for mobile services offer profitable opportunities “beyond the app” <<Tweet this Trend>>
Top mobile marketing trends in 2013: Ask the experts
Thomas Sommer, Marketing Manager, Applift
Tracking convergence together with a focus on ROI
Increased budgets and fierce competition will shift the focus onto post-download event tracking and analysis, in particular for mobile games. CPI will continue to assert itself as the most relevant advertising standard, but will be impacted by post-install performance and ROI, as advertisers seek a higher quality of traffic.
As was the case with CPI replacing CPC, this shift will keep on moving the risk further away from advertisers while enabling payout optimization for publishers and increasing transparency in the market. There will be a growing requirement to efficiently match user acquisition needs with monetization potential, and that’s where performance affiliate marketing steps in.
In turn, this need for more complex event reporting is likely to drive more convergence and cross-platform standardization in tracking solutions, as it requires deeper integration.
Tablets become a marketing channel of their own
With lower prices and increased traffic, tablets will become a marketing category of their own. Beyond higher conversion rates, they offer a specific experience and are used in different time and space conditions than smartphones. The mindset of the user is different, too. This is especially true of games, where we expect to see more successful tablet-only titles in the future.
As budgets grow, developers, publishers and marketers must adapt and tailor their offers to these specificities, and not just copy paste what works on smaller screens. I wouldn’t be surprised to see companies, divisions, processes, practices, job titles etc. focus exclusively on tablet marketing in the near future to meet this demand.
Viki Zabala, vice president of marketing, Fiksu
Brands go big on mobile
We’ve seen that bigger brands are already making apps an integral part of their overall customer experience, but just having an app and promoting it through existing channels is no longer enough for big brands in 2013. Many automotive, beverage and retail brands have been experimenting with dedicated app marketing budgets during the last year and refining their tactics to ensure consumers engage and remain loyal to their brand. Smart brands will also leverage what has been learned by the game industry, taking these best practices to market with a more friendly app experience. We have also started to see unique partnerships develop between big brands and major game publishers in which branded app development is being outsourced to major game publishers.
Mobile RTB gets bigger
Real-time bidding (RTB) is poised to have a bigger impact for mobile marketers and holds the promise of extremely cost-effective advertising. However, the scale and velocity that mobile RTB operates at can tax servers and infrastructure, thus this presents a technical challenge for advertisers to directly build and access. Demand-side mobile RTB platforms will enable brands to access this valuable inventory through targeted, highly cost-efficient media buying. Technology advances in mobile RTB will also allow direct access to inventory without the need for UDIDs or identifiers.
App Store and Google Play Optimization becomes the biggest priority
The increasing sophistication of app marketers – and their growing budgets – will lead toward a wider understanding of the need to optimize mobile advertising traffic against performance metrics. Simple CPI and download volume metrics won’t be enough to satisfy marketers looking to attract long-term, loyal app users. Instead, they’ll increasingly make strategic decisions around how to optimize spend across several networks and select technology platforms to assist in solving the complexity in tracking, buying optimizing and reporting.
Julian Zehetmayr, founder and CEO, MobFox
Increased demand for more control & transparency by both Publishers and Advertisers
More and more Publishers will start seeing the benefit of using open mediation platforms like mAdserve or Google AdMob’s Mediation that allow them to balance their inventory across multiple demand sources versus being locked into a single ad network’s SDK.
Advertisers will increasingly demand full site-level transparency when running campaigns through mobile ad networks. Ad networks that do not have a lot of direct Publisher relationships and have been relying on aggregators as a source of their traffic in the past will try to re-position themselves as DSP’s to stay in the game.
As mobile traffic will keep skyrocketing and more Publishers will start turning to RTB platforms, mobile ad networks will need to analyze huge amounts of data and be able to make buying decisions within milliseconds. 2013’s winning networks will not only be the ones that have the largest amount of data available but also the most intelligent algorithms to get that data to work.
Rise of Rich Media and Mobile Video
Performance of static banner ad units will keep falling and advertisers will increasingly invest in richer mobile ad formats like IAB’s recently released MRAID 2 standard, as well as engaging full-screen mobile video advertising formats that allow the buyers to combine existing media assets with the interactivity of a smartphone.
Howie Schwartz, founder, Human Demand
Tracking will become less fragmented. The UDID confusion of the past has ended with the introduction of iOS6 and IDFA (Id for advertising). This is an important step in the mobile marketing industry as we need to demonstrate ROI on mobile and in a privacy friendly way. Privacy will also take center stage (Human Demand recently completed its TrustE certification).
Mobile Video will be big and more importantly available at scale. Online video (Desktop) has really scaled over the past year, there is lots of interest in mobile video, but not that much ‘action’. That will change in 2013 with mobile video inventory becoming more readily available for advertisers. Mobile video will also increase overall ECPM (earnings per thousand impressions) for publishers as it will be sold at 3x – 5x the CPM rates vs current display (banners).
Banners will not die in 2013. Standard old banners will still rule in 2013, while rich media and other ‘native’ ad formats will take more
attention. As we get into Q4 2013 – I think there will be more action around rich media and ‘beyond the banner’ but overall standard banners will still be king. New smartphone features, increased data speeds, etc will not add much to mobile marketing in 2013, but testing will lead the way to more innovative ad formats in 2014 (mobile is still early we are only in the 2nd inning of a long game . . .)
Location will be key. Hyper local is in much more demand today then just a quarter ago. The CPM rates are higher, which will interest publishers too. We will see more and more brands jump into mobile including local retail – which require hyper local targeting. Publisher adding location, rich media, and video in general will achieve higher returns and see more advertiser demand.
Audience on mobile is here. 2013 will be the year of “audience targeting” in mobile, but it needs to be handled in a privacy sensitive way. Living without cookies on mobile is leading to some interesting innovation and testing. Human Demand has been running audience targeted campaigns for the past month and we are really bullish about the demand for this at scale in 2013 – and we don’t need any cookies.
Mark-Anthony Baker, Innovations Director, Fetch
In 2013, we will start to see the importance of the mobile user’s journey as perception switches from mobile as a silo channel to one in which it is a communication entity that connects to everything.
We are already seeing touch points like QR, NFC and image recognition start the consumer conversation but static experiences, by their very definition, have failed. Every point on the consumer’s journey must be adaptable and measurable. Thankfully this is now possible via systems.
Currently, it is rare to see a well thought-out user journey that connects a user from one point straight through to a rewarding, engaging experience. In 2013 those who get it right will be well rewarded but a new form of planning must be adapted to. Many marketers are looking past the linear journey of a simple click to an end user goal and are now using data to create multi-touch point strategies that are multi-dimensional. This is exceptionally exciting.
Traditional strategies mature
Owned and earned strategies, such as basic apps, landing pages, services and social strategies, will also start to play a more predominate role beyond the early inceptions that we have seen so far . Most campaigns are still based predominately around paid media, but as above, owned experiences need to become adaptable. First iterations in 2013 will see the early combination of data from mobile (think location, handset capability and connection) factor in combination with user flow to produce new experiences. Furthermore, mobile will play a large engagement role in social across all touch points and should also start to deliver on its as of yet unseen promises. Both, however, require new thinking, clever content and social strategies with mobile at their core.
Buying of mobile media is also starting to become clearly dictated by the DSP and trading desk space. We are just seeing this now start to show the first signs of actually delivering on its promises through networks becoming DSP’s. Additionally, the learnings of the last few years are finally being adapted into programatic buying; intelligence layers are growing in complexity and good results are now starting to be seen.
Dale Carr, CEO, Leadbolt
Rich media and mainstream mobile computing
Mobile is going to become even more central to everyone’s life. The smart phone tipping point (adoption of smart phones) will become a global phenomena and the smart phone’s place as the primary interface will be confirmed. Consumption of richer media on smart phones will increase particularly as 4G networks roll out with video taking a greater role. For mobile marketing this is great news, Brands will increasing be directing significantly more of their marketing spend to smart phone based ad networks with a whole range of innovative opportunities to wow the consumer. Back this with the projected growth in app downloads to 200 Billion (4 x increase on this year’s stats) by 2015 and it’s going to be a very exciting year ahead.
Simon Wajcenberg, CEO, Clash Group
Taking advantage of new mobile affiliate networks dedicated to mobile
At last we have an affiliate network dedicated to mobile that will drive mobile marketing big time in 2013. We know that more people are browsing the web on mobile than on conventional digital devices – mobile browsing had already exceeded PC based browsing a couple of years ago and of course, it continues to grow – and this, despite there being up until now no mobile specific affiliate marketing platform.
In real terms, the advantages of using a mobile specific affiliate network are immense. Using a network like Clash Group’s Impact-Mobi that complies with all international privacy regulations, brands can reach mobile users in 220 countries, giving access to a potential 60 billion impressions. They can target and re-target rich media, expandable banner, animated and video ads to specific mobile users and, crucially, uphold their reputation by picking and choosing which sites their ad appears on. In 2013, advertisers are going to take full advantage of being able to drive incremental sales and leads via mobile without cannibalizing their existing audience, whilst being able to track and analyse the campaign in real-time.
Retargeting on mobile set to dramatically change mobile marketing results
The hurdles were high but now – for the first time – retargeting on mobile on a global scale has become a reality thanks to new technology developments which adhere to the highest privacy standards. This development is going to produce ground-breaking results for marketers and their brands in 2013.
We know retargeting on desktop is a highly successful marketing tool. 95% of users leave a site without making a transaction. Once retargeted, however, they are 70% more likely to complete a purchase. With 75% of the world’s population now having access to a mobile device, it’s clear that the opportunities offered by retargeting on mobile are immense.
Ariel Simis, COO, Revmob
ROI replacing CPI
Just like CPI became the word of the day, substituting the CPC, because the CPI represents a lot more than a simple click, now we see ROI as the new CPI in 2013. Since several clicks don’t convert to installs, we see the same trend happening with installs: several installs don’t convert to spend. This is making advertisers look for a deeper integration with ad networks in order to try to drive relevant installs. This is an attempt to acquire users likely to spend, or to use the app for an extended period of time.
Asher Delug, CEO, Airpush
Mobile RTB — While RTB has been a force on the web for years, we are in the very early stages of mobile RTB. We are observing new mobile DSP’s cropping up weekly, trying to solve the issue of inventory fragmentation by providing advertisers with a single purchase point.
Cross Device Targeting — Innovative companies are discovering ways to unlock the wealth of targeting data on the web by linking web users to mobile devices. We believe these technologies will help to materially improve mobile ad rates in 2013.
Morgan Coudray, business development manager, MobPartner
CPI model will become mainstream in mobile marketing. CPI offers great results for both advertisers and publishers. I feel that CPC and CPM prices have decreased a little in the past months and will continue to, because advertisers were not satisfied with the results offers. Hence many come to us to make up for it with CPA. I feel this will take a year of two to get back to higher level until each network can innovate enough to offer tangible results to their advertisers.
Deep analytics tools will see the light in 2013 to help advertisers better track and evaluate their ROI on affiliate campaigns. This will be especially true for CPI campaigns that will see many post-download actions such as in-app purchases successfully tracked. This is the last large step that will be taken by networks such as MobPartner to further reduce the risks for advertisers hence allowing them to better reward top publishers.
Overall performance levels for publishers will be dramatically improved. The is will likely result in more publishers migrating to affiliation as a main source of monetisation or a back-up source of monetisation.
Ronan Shields, reporter, Marketing Week
Tracking and regulation
Advertisers will try to develop cookies that can track users anonymously across devices and attempt to serve them with more targeted ads with companies like Drawbridge leading the charge out of the US market. Although I’d say this is likely to attract serious scrutiny from regulators across the globe.
On that front, the 27 member states of the EU will individually debate the centrally proposed data protection legislation which require advertisers to gain explicit permission to use consumers’ personal data for campaigns, which are set to come into force in 2014. With mobile internet usage already a mainstream behaviour in more developed markets, this will certainly have a bearing on the mobile advertising business.
We Love Mobile and BD Network (Jonathan Muggleton, Nick Holroyd-Doveton, Despina Tapaki, Mika Tasich, Allan McLaughlin and Darren Smith)
HTML5 Mobile Sites
2013 will see continued growth of HTML5 based mobile sites as a viable alternative to native applications. Native applications are ideally suited where the user will come back again and again to the application however one of the initial challenges to drive the consumer to the App Store and then to download the application. The advantage of HTML5 mobile and tablet sites is that the user can be one click, SMS or QR codes away from the site. In addition the site can include many “app like” features such as swipeable content and animations. Also it is possible to design and build a single site that will work across all smart phone and tablet rather that have to develop for each OS. There are still situations where native applications provide the optimum solution, however in some instances a HTML5 site is the better solution.
Tablet Market Sales
Tablet sales are currently taking place at a phenomenal rate with conservative estimates suggesting that by the end of 2013 25-30% of the UK population will have access to a tablet device. It is therefore essential that brands include tablets in addition to web and mobile devices as part of their digital strategy to ensure they offer an optimum experience to their consumers across all devices.
We are now starting to see businesses use tablets as an effective tools for their staff and sales teams rather than just as a entertainment gadget for the home, we have now built a number of Enterprise Applications where the purpose of the app is to aid and support staff in the field. We expect 2013 will see more and more corporate users of tablets and bespoke apps rather than just consumer facing applications.
Consumer behaviour is developing beyond traditional TV advertising, it is now common place for connected users to research products or investigate brands while watching TV. This gives brands a fantastic opportunity to use a traditional TV advertising as a spring board to a richer experience on the users tablet or mobile device. The user can be driven to a site or application where they can research additional information of the product, find a retailer or order the product online, or in the instance of a automotive brand request dealer information or book a test drive.
Multi Channel Digital & Social Campaigns
2013 will see more and more brands running multi channel digital campaigns incorporating multiple touch points for the consumer. WLM and BD Network recently ran a ground breaking camping for Uniqlo to promote the launch of their Heattech clothing range, this campaign allowed consumers to interact with the brand either in store, on mobile or in Facebook on their computer and rewarded them with free Heattech clothing redeemable in store. Social sharing elements can also be included in multi channel campaigns with consumers sharing their experience on Facebook or Twitter.
Steen Andersson, vice president, 5th Finger
Responsive Website Design
Responsive Design is changing the way brands look at their multi-channel strategy. Up until now, separate mobile sites were the standard for delivering a brand experience on mobile. Soon this will become an exception reserved for special promotional campaigns and mobile only information. Responsive Design’s impact will carry across mobile and tablet devices, giving company’s the advantage of building their website once and having that solution optimized for all screen sizes. But, don’t think testing on mobile devices will go out the window. Seeing how your Responsive site “responds” on mobile will be just as important.
Mobile optimized email is a trending topic that will only become more important. With the relatively low effort required to change email templates, the increase in mobile traffic is significant. Readability, functioning site links, social links and optimized content will all lead to greater click-throughs and thereby mobile traffic. Any brand who has not yet done this, is certainly looking into it, as they should be. We will see sharp increases in visitor traffic from mobile devices once the switch is made to mobile optimized email.
C.R. Venkatesh. CEO, Dot Com Infoway
Marketing with Mobile Apps
Associating your brand with a mobile app will help it gain more popularity. Mobile apps take up a greater part of users’ time when compared to desktop and mobile web usage. An app store presence has a huge impact on mobile marketing and will help you widen your business horizon.
Responsive Web Design
New devices are being introduced in the market every day and each desktop or mobile varies in its screen size. Responsive web design has the ability to adapt to various device sizes and hence it is the most significant marketing trend of 2013.
Developers can make use of avenues like Facebook Mobile App Install Ads and Google AdMob to improve their app’s visibility. Mobile advertising drives a larger number of visitors to the developer’s app on Google Play and Apple’s iTunes store. Developers can easily monetize and promote their brands with the help of these ads.
Neil Raj, VP new business initiatives, AdMobix
Matt Palmer, CEO, Marketing Your App
Freemium Dominates: Today in the App Store, most of the top apps are games and most of the top games are free. In fact, only 6% of apps cost more than $5. Since they can’t charge much upfront for an app, developers will increasingly look for more effective ways to make money. Advertising can work, but only if your app has a huge audience. So it will be offering paid upgrades that will gain even more traction in 2013 – for example, upgrades to full versions or smaller in–app purchases. To make this work, you’ll find many more apps that are free to try next year.
Rise of App Networks: It used to be that developers came to me with the next great app idea. Now, they’re thinking more and more about whole suites of apps. Not just one game, but taking that character across many adventures. Not just learning to play guitar, but enough apps to learn everything in the band. Development costs are decreasing and more people are starting with a base of code that they’re re-skinning and reusing to make many apps. Having a whole network of apps gives you so many ways to cross-promote and make each app a success (think of the Angry Birds franchise), making it the way to build a mobile empire in the coming year.
Digital Magazine Explosion: 100 million iPads have already been sold, and the iPad mini brings tablets to a whole new audience. With the App Store super-crowded, there’s still one area that is wide open: the Newsstand. Condé Nast, National Geographic, and The Economist have already taken the plunge into making iPad magazines. For the rest of us, the tools to create mobile magazines are getting better and more accessible, even without a degree in design. And, the numbers add up: subscribers pay you not just once but for every issue and Apple will even allow you to access their email address (with permission) for re-marketing. As more people cancel their paper magazines in 2013, digital magazines will continue to rise.
So that’s what some of the leading CEOs and Execs working in the industry think but what about you? Leave a comment below or get in touch with us here or on twitter @mobyaffiliates or on our facebook group.