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Forbes: Here’s What’s On The Horizon For Mobile In 2018

Elite CIOs, CTOs & execs offer firsthand insights on tech & business. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

 

Ofer Garnett
Ofer Garnett Forbes Councils
CTO and Co-founder of mobile growth marketing platform YouAppi, bringing nearly 20 years of R&D experience to make mobile engaging.

 

The mobile channel has become the central source of engagement for all consumer-based businesses. For companies that wish to compete in our now digital-first world, their mobile strategy must explore the very edges of capability. Consumers have displayed an insatiable appetite for new experiences via the mobile channel, and the evolution of mobile technologies has allowed for innovation at a breakneck pace.

So what is ahead for 2018, and how can mobile marketers and app developers prepare now to deliver memorable experiences for their customers in the coming year?

Video Vanquishes All

Video was one of the fastest-growing areas of digital in 2017. In fact, according to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report, online video now accounts for 74% of all online traffic. Clearly, video has distinguished itself as more than just a medium for television. As mobile platforms grow more sophisticated, video-based mobile content has increased in dominance, and video is now well-primed to be the preferred and most effective ad format.

The prominence of video opens the door to a wide range of creativity, as brands explore how best to incorporate mobile video ads to engage users. Emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality or 360 video will be prime targets for innovative brands, as will live video and rewarded video.

We saw some amazing ways that developers incorporated video into their mobile apps in 2017, and that trend will continue as brands raise the bar and compete for customer attention and engagement.

New Platforms Level The Playing Field

Mobile technologies continue to evolve at a blistering pace. The rise of new platforms, coupled with a particularly low barrier to entry and growing customer demand, will fuel a natural evolution for companies of all shapes and sizes to incorporate highly sophisticated technology into mobile advertising and marketing.

Technology such as voice-enabled artificial intelligence, AR, VR and advanced video capabilities will manifest themselves in many surprising ways over the next 12 months, even from smaller companies with limited resources.

A host of new platforms, everything from marketing automation to gaming platforms, will prove invaluable resources for the sophisticated and novice developer alike, as businesses create engaging mobile experiences that feel fresh, personal and highly relevant.

Brands Drop The Push In Favor Of The Pull

Consumers are far less accepting of intrusive ads on their mobile device than any other medium. The small space doesn’t lend itself well to pop-ups or banner ads, and any overt marketing message feels jarring and obtrusive.

The prominence of mobile will require advertisers and marketers to transition toward service-oriented engagement that delivers value and utility to the end user rather than solely blasting out self-serving messages designed to funnel the customer through a sales process. Many brands will forego overt selling altogether in favor of altruistic methods of customer engagement that include providing information, educating their audiences or connecting on an emotional level.

In addition, we’ll see brands actively taking part in value causes such as the environment, health or education and running high-profile campaigns that help link their name to the causes they support. For millennials, who are often seen as the most service-oriented audience, these messages will particularly resonate and brands may see a surge in customer loyalty with this most sought-after demographic.

Late Adopters Will Have Their Day In The Sun

Mobile advertising may just be one of the areas where it pays to be late to the party. Early adopters of mobile ad and marketing technology — including industries like gaming and retail — found themselves burned by a Wild West experience of inept technology and too much fraud.

Other industries such as automotive, food and enterprise held back, worried about mobile and unsure of whether it would become a stable source of customer engagement. That delay may have paid off, as these brands are now primed to lead in the mobile space just as they are getting their feet wet. As mentioned earlier, technology offerings have matured to allow even smaller brands the ability to be innovative, and the industry continues to develop sophisticated measures for exposing and eliminating fraud.

Without question, mobile will be the dominant channel for businesses of all shapes and sizes in 2018. What remains to be seen is how marketers will choose to engage their mobile audience, which brands will best use the resources available to create compelling campaigns and, ultimately, who will win market share and brand dominance in the hotly contested mobile race.

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