Commentary

2016: Mobile Will Show Its Value To Brands

As 2015 ends, mobile commerce is still in its infancy. True, it’s experienced incredible growth, but that growth is just the beginning.

Mobile commerce's share of the total ecommerce pie was about 22% in 2015, according to Statista, and that's expected to grow to 28% or more in a few years. But the truth is, mobile is still finding its way out of the Wild West and towards its rightful place as a tool of commerce.

In order for the technology to become ubiquitous in a commercial sense, we need to get to the point where mobile ads are more refined, the data that users generate is better understood and the KPIs used to run mobile businesses better established.

2016 will be a step on the path, and a time that will be remembered as transitional, when mobile commerce went from a "could be" to "cannot do without it." With that in mind, here are a few things that will happen in 2016 to drive mobile commerce forward.

Mobile will become an essential tool for brand engagement.

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Mobile is growing quickly, as are the tools at brands’ disposal to meaningfully engage and commercialize target customers. The industry is exploring new models, such as those based on attribution -- the measurement of mobile signals, including app installs and launches, level completions, in-app purchases and similar data that’s produced as a result of marketing activity. 

These evolving data sets and KPIs are of great interest to advertisers that know that leveraging the mobile user’s experience is the future of advertising. That said, the big promises of mobile, including ‘in-the-moment’ contextual commerce powered by location and behavioral data from predictive analytics, are still on the cusp. Expect the gap to be filled by brands savvy enough to understand that engagement, and the data that will eventually prove that engagement’s value, is happening right now.

Ad blocking will force mobile to the next level 

There’s been a lot of chatter about ad-blocking techs, with many pundits bemoaning its potentially crippling effects. Seen in its true light, ad-blocking is the catalyst that will bring mobile commerce to the next level. It’s a sign mobile is maturing and a clear indication as to the future of next-level native advertising formats, which will mix the ad experience with the things we use our mobiles for every day.

This perfect union of engagement, utility and commercial opportunity will be found exactly where we spend most of our mobile time: in apps. This evolving, superior engagement between brands and users will organically lend itself towards better, more targeted ads, lower Cost per Acquisition, and higher Lifetime Values of users.

In-app videos will explode and users will value it

Mobile user demand for app and video experiences has led to the creation of new forms of in-app experiences that advertisers are simultaneously using to engage, entertain and learn from users. One significant area of opportunity for video in m-commerce can be found by leveraging location-based data, via GPS, beacons or Wi-Fi, in combination with other mobile signals data, to provide native video ads that users derive clear value from.

During 2016, brands will deploy these targeted video ads with regularity based on location-based data and increasingly measurable ROI.

New data will create new opportunities

Behavior-based data – how you use an app, when, and to what outcomes – is the omnipresent natural resource that the promise of mobile commerce is based on. When advertisers, marketers and developers have the reliable tools and processes to verify that data and the ability to turn that raw fuel into the stuff that will power analytics technologies and feed native ad formats tailored to the user’s circumstances, mobile will have reached its tipping point.

We’ll stop thinking of mobile in terms of its potential, and instead understand it for the game-changing commercial force that it is.

2015 has taught us a lot about mobile and 2016 will continue to tell the story. As more brands move to capitalize on the opportunity, greater volumes of diverse mobile behaviors data will be produced that will create the basis for a not-too-distant future in which mobile is not just a means, but the means of global commerce.
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