2018 is set to be an exciting year for mobile advertising. It is, of course, now the undisputed leader of advertising platforms. According to data from eMarketer in October, global advertisers spent $142.78 billion on mobile adverts in 2017, a rise of 33.6% from 2016. This is anticipated to rise further in 2018 as brands look to take advantage of the increasing amount of time consumers spend looking at their mobile devices. Additionally the volume of smartphones worldwide continues to increase, especially in important markets like China which, according to figures in a recent report by Smaato, is home to more than 724 million smartphones, which is 28% of total users worldwide. With all these factors combined, it’s not difficult to see why mobile continues to dominate the advertising landscape and why 2018 presents an exciting opportunity for us at Cloudbanter to respond to this mobile-first market.

We’ve already seen a bit of crystal ball gazing when it comes to what will happen in the mobile advertising market this year. In-app adverts will reportedly take precedence over mobile web adverts. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other global regulation designed to scrutinise the way organisations use personal data will come into play creating a significant challenge for the industry. And the speed of change will continue to accelerate with more industry consolidation but also the rise of smaller, innovative providers with a unique offering to the market. Similarly, increased adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will provide a powerful incentive and wider market reach for usage to mobile advertisers in 2018. There’s a lot to consider but it all confirms one universal truth – mobile advertising, in whatever form it might take – will dominate within advertisers’ budgets.

The rise of mobile operators
Of course, big brands are constantly looking for ways to reach their targets and new audiences, both in terms of the content they put out there and the platforms they adopt. As consumers continue to spend more time on their devices for messaging, browsing the internet and in apps, brands need to find smarter ways of accessing the millions of untapped screens not currently utilized. Here at Cloudbanter, we believe both new technology and greater participation by mobile operators could hold the key to unlocking opportunities for advertisers, app providers and users in the coming year.
In 2017, there has been greater focus from mobile operators on enhancing the experience they offer mobile users. We’ve seen, for example, a number of mobile operators announcing the launch of advanced Rich Communication Services (RCS) designed to give their users a more experiential, multimedia experience from their messaging platforms. This, however, is just the first step in what mobile operators could potentially offer customers and RCS will take time to be adopted in the universal market.

The key challenge for mobile operators is one which has been prevalent for many years – that of monetizing services such as messaging platforms and apps. This will become a commercial imperative in 2018 and they will need to take some bold steps if they wish to regain lost revenue and customer loyalty. Combine this with the fact that the appetite for mobile from advertisers is only going to increase in the next 12 months, isn’t it time mobile operators seized the opportunity to integrate advertising into some of their core monetization services?

Mobile advertising in 2018
In 2018, innovation will be key to the survival of mobile operators. We have already seen some mobile operators looking to partner with OTT providers in a bid to win back market share but there are other avenues now available for the most forward thinking providers. In our view, a more exciting play will be in new technology deployments which enable mobile operators to regain the upper hand and win back that all important customer loyalty, as well as driving additional revenue and boosting profitability.

How will this happen? Mobile operators have arguably the best data on mobile usage available today but they need to grasp the opportunity to fully monetize this. Highly targeted, relevant and unobtrusive digital adverts within messaging conversations, along with monetization of apps including customer care, money such as wallets and payments, internet TV offered via mobile and IoT apps such as smart home, wearables and smart retail will, in our opinion, be the next great frontier of mobile advertising in 2018.

From the user’s perspective, their data is power, and they should make the most of the airtime they are willing to offer advertisers in the form of preferential mobile contracts, user incentives and better handsets in return for accepting this new wave of advertising content. In a world where the lines between desired content and advertising is well and truly blurred, why wouldn’t you monetize, in whatever form that might be, your precious data and have the added benefit of highly targeted and lifestyle enhancing content from brands you are already interested in.

So while the challenges ahead in terms of new regulation and the threat of competition will continue without any reduction in intensity, there are also opportunities for mobile operators, users, advertisers and app providers to take advantage of new technologies which will enhance the user experience and enable mobile operators to reinstate their place in the market via monetized messaging and apps for their customers. 2018 will separate those providers who are bold enough to take those opportunities, and those who fail to break free of the old ways of doing things, hence resulting in financial impact of performance and results.

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