What do the roaring 20s have in store for mobile advertising?

Posted on: Wednesday 04 March 2020 | IAB UK Mobile Steering Group

The last decade brought the mass adoption of smartphones and with it internet access for billions. The IAB UK Mobile Steering Group give their predictions for what the next decade has in store for mobile

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The 2010s will go down as one of most influential decades in the current ‘digital revolution’. The emergence and mass-adoption of smartphones has provided billions of people around the globe with the ability to access the internet quickly and in any situation. 

This unparalleled uptake of a new technology signals the true beginning of the information era. Virtually limitless knowledge is available in almost everyone’s pocket or purse, leading to the birth of an entirely new category within the digital marketing landscape.

But as smartphones start to lose their novelty, and a generation of people begin to reach adolescence knowing nothing of the pre-mobile era, what does the future hold for mobile advertising? And how can we best prepare?

We spoke to the IAB’s Mobile In-App Steering Group to get their views.


The 2010s saw the use of smartphones develop from a rarity to a universal phenomenon. How do you see this trend of growth continuing into the next decade?
“I’m expecting to see more, if not all, brands put their app at the forefront of their relationship with customers. It makes sense: as the most personal and omnipresent channel, mobile gives marketers the easiest way to reach and understand consumers. We’re already seeing this approach take root, especially in the finance sector with mobile-first companies like Monzo or Starling Bank. As more and more verticals are disrupted by mobile-only players, apps will go from being a “nice to have” to the primary way to interact with customers.”
Andy Chandler, General Manager UK & Ireland, Adjust

“Over the last decade, a trusted digital economy emerged in which almost every aspect of one’s life has become mobile. Consumers trust sharing their most sensitive information online and the numbers show it: 2 billion people now use apps for personal banking. They are empowered by these choices and the control they have on mobile. Though when it comes to digital advertising, this is not the case. We must provide users with choice and control over their mobile advertising experiences. It's the only way to achieve a sustainable future and fuel continued growth into the next decade.”
Raphael Rodier, International Chief Revenue Officer, Ogury

“In the 2010s, the continuous development of mobile has made the evolution of computers look glacial in comparison. Mobile changed from third screen to first screen and from a luxury product to a necessary possession, in what felt like the blink of an eye. Globally, over 5.19 billion people use mobile phones. Each generation of technology opens new opportunities for consumers, and the next 10 years are no different. As the infrastructure for 5G grows, alongside the speed, quality and video on devices, consumers will spend even more time on mobile. Mobile advertisers will therefore reap the rewards as brands focus more on the value of this channel, shifting spend away from more traditional formats such as print and linear TV.”
Ashley Bateman, Sales Director, Unruly


As mobile advertising enters its adolescence, what are the potential problems the market faces and how can we adapt to these?
“Mobile technology was supposed to change the way that we advertise today. However, users still don’t trust the organisations that advertise on their mobile. We believe that 2020 will mark the start of a new era: The Era of Digital Integrity. Compared to the current era that celebrates personal freedoms yet simultaneously trades on them, this new model will put consumers in the position of power to consent and control their entire digital experience.”
Raphael Rodier, International Chief Revenue Officer, Ogury

“Advertisers are poised to invest a record-breaking $240 billion in mobile ad spend in 2020. But so goes the money, so goes bad actors trying to get money. Ad fraud remains a key challenge for marketers, with Adjust rejecting roughly 200 million fraudulent app installs throughout 2019. Fraud will continue to be an issue well into the next decade, unfairly draining user acquisition budgets and ruining data accuracy. And, as competition increases within the mobile space, so will ad spend - so marketers can’t afford to waste their budget on fraud. 

Fraud prevention solutions are the only sure way to eliminate fraud. These filters dramatically increase the workload for fraudsters seeking to steal brands’ ad budgets, making it financially unsustainable for them.”
Andy Chandler, General Manager UK & Ireland, Adjust

“In the past, many brands and agencies have mistakenly invested a lot of money to realise that audience targeting and engagement on mobile is very different to desktop. It has taken 10 years for buyers to hone their strategies appropriately, whilst many others are being forced to do this now that browsers begin to block third-party cookies. This is a challenge for advertisers - who need to understand that mobile is a completely separate entity to desktop, and must therefore focus on this channel through a new lens. As well as this, the 2020s will be the decade of the app. This year alone, in-app advertising is set to rise to $201 billion. Those that understand the app ecosystem will thrive against those still trying to manage attribution on a cookie free mWeb ecosystem.”
Ashley Bateman, Sales Director, Unruly


With the constant release of new tech such as smart watches and AI assistants, how can we be proactive rather than reactive to the emergence of the big trends of the 2020s? 
“The last few years have seen many changes in the AdTech sector, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the introduction of app-ads.txt and GDPR. It’s difficult to second guess trends, therefore we’ve found direct partner feedback is the best way to make informed decisions in order to capture trends, and allow us to build our features to support them.”

Ashley Bateman, Sales Director, Unruly

“The digital marketing industry is undergoing a fundamental change, with extraordinary advances in tech such as AI, targeting, and automation. Nevertheless, the true shift is being driven by consumers and more specifically by consumers’ trust. For this reason, the future of AdTech belongs to the organisations that will earn consumer trust and thrive in the trusted digital economy. The mechanism in which users give their consent, the way consent notices are displayed, and CPMPs will have to evolve accordingly. To be truly proactive, organisations must give choice back to consumers. All technological transformation is insignificant if consumers aren’t the ones in control.”  
Raphael Rodier, International Chief Revenue Officer, Ogury

“We should always remember that technology is a tool that is meant to improve our lives without having to think too much about how it works. When interacting with people, marketers need to take a customer-centric approach to their technology choices - that means making sure that the technology is serving a purpose and not just the next flashy headline. My advice would always be to start from a customer’s perspective and work out how the technology you employ can improve their lives.”
Andy Chandler, General Manager UK & Ireland, Adjust


This article was first published by Mobile Marketing Magazine.

Written by

IAB UK Mobile Steering Group

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