3 Mobile Changes That Will Affect Marketers in 2017

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Mobile continues to evolve each year. In 2017, the total number of worldwide mobile users is expected to surpass 6 billion across 11 billion mobile devices. And since mobile has become such an integral part of daily life, there are now countless ways for marketers to reap the benefits — especially when it comes to collecting and using consumer data.

So, what does the future of mobile look like for marketers? More specifically, what data-related trends will dominate in 2017? Here are three mobile data predictions for the coming year.

Mobile programmatic will drive programmatic spend.
The programmatic landscape has seen a lot of change over the last year. The shift towards mobile programmatic has been one of the biggest developments. For years, mobile programmatic had been slow to scale. In 2016, it finally hit its stride as spend grew by 69% — well above the rate for desktop. Advertisers are finally shifting away from desktop as buys have reached critical mass, focusing efforts more on mobile.

It’s an exciting time. From a data perspective, mobile programmatic offers massive potential. Mobile devices rarely leave our side, and therefore rank among our most personal. As a result, marketers have access to a wealth of intelligence about users to facilitate the targeting and optimization of messaging, offers, creative, and more. One-to-one marketing is all about reaching the right consumer at the right time in the right context and with the right message — mobile programmatic supports this like no other medium.

Next year expect mobile programmatic growth to exceed desktop growth at an even higher clip. It will be the key driver for programmatic overall. Mobile video will also push that forward, as more inventory becomes available to programmatic platforms.  

Geo-location will continue to be a focus in the New Year.
This year, everyone was focused on geo-location data, especially in the context of mobile. The same will happen in 2017 – and for good reason. Remember – the consumer’s interaction with mobile – across content and devices – is unlike any prior medium. For marketers, understanding the customer journey through mobile means understanding location and proximity-based patterns. If they have this information, they can deliver more relevant, direct ad experiences.

While many are connecting the bigger focus on geo-location intelligence to fads like Pokémon Go, this kind of (permission-based) data has always been central to effective ad experiences. It’s one thing to know what someone is doing, but knowing where they do it offers a clearer view of the target audience for the advertiser. And tying digital exposure to real world experience using location, and creating insights, measurement and outcomes to better inform advertiser investment, is uniquely enabled by the mobile environment. This is why location data has been top-of-mind in 2016 and will continue to be critical next year.

The in-app attribution myth will course correct.
One of the biggest myths in mobile advertising is the perceived lack of data around in-app measurement. This is a misperception, but a growing number of marketers cite attribution transparency as mobile’s biggest challenge. The misunderstanding is born out of the industry’s reliance on cookies. Obviously, mobile is a cookie-less channel. But mobile’s measurement capabilities are as good, and possibly even better than those for desktop.

It all comes down to data. Mobile is rich in first and third-party data. As a channel, it features many persistent identifiers, like publisher first-party data or Device IDs, which are rarely deleted. For comparison, cookie deletion rates are sky-high. Among desktop users, each month, 28% delete first-party cookies and 37% delete third-party cookies. This limits audience tracking, targeting and engagement.

In 2017, the misperception is likely to correct itself. Marketers will educate themselves on mobile data opportunities as spend ramps up in the channel, and multi-touch attribution platforms will see greater adoption as campaigns become more multi-channel and cross-device. These services provide better intelligence and a more accurate and real-time picture of mobile performance.  

There are many new opportunities for marketers to utilize what mobile has to offer. So as mobile continues to grow, expect these data trends – programmatic, geo-spatial and in-app attribution – to be top-of-mind for marketing strategies in 2017.

mark-connonAs Chief Mobile Officer for AOL Platforms and Advertising, Mark Connon leads the company’s progressive mobile strategy to ignite innovation and grow revenue for the company’s global mobile offerings.