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What to Expect in Mobile Advertising in 2020

Posted Jan 8, 2020

The power of mobile advertising innovations of recent years will continue to come into focus in 2020. The massive mobile gaming audience and the demand for privacy regulation will affect brands’ decision making when it comes to where they place their digital advertising. We’ve gathered insights from thought leaders on what we can expect to see in mobile advertising as we kick off a new decade.

Brands Warm Up to Advertising in Mobile Games
Currently, the majority of ads within mobile games are for other games. eMarketer reports that 80% to 90% of in-game ad revenue is from ads promoting other games. The market research company predicts that brands will capitalize on the valuable opportunities of in-game advertising in a big way this year. The convenience of free-to-play mobile games has fostered a diverse and widespread audience. While many still believe gamers are mostly comprised of adolescent males, most research says women make up the majority of mobile gamers. With such a vast audience, mobile games present great opportunities for contextual advertising because any type of user can be reached.

Furthermore, in-app advertising is increasingly being transacted programmatically, as many large game publishers are offering more advanced solutions with a brand-safe environment. Brands will also be attracted to mobile games as more developers adopt transparency features like app-ads.txt and Open Measurement.

Playable Ads in Non-Gaming Apps
For the past few years, playable ads have been a mobile favorite with marketers and brands alike. Playables’ interactivity can enhance the user experience rather than disrupt it leading to increased engagement, retention, and conversion. Playables will definitely be seen in apps this year but we could be seeing them used in a different way. Brian Janelli, Sr. Director, Global Creative at AdColony believes the format will shift away from the demo style and will move toward guided tours of the game being advertised. In his article for MarTech Series, Brian says this type of playable has delivered better results because “a generation of young mobile game players who [have become] accustomed to making decisions in microseconds.”

Brian also predicts that in 2020 playables will take off in non-gaming apps. Non-gaming app developers will have the opportunity to let users get a feel for an app’s functionality in an ad, which will then lead to higher installs. Because the demand for playables is still growing, brands may need to reconsider building these ads in-house and look to an ad network for their expertise and technology.

Privacy Regulations Will Cause Brands to Reconsider Social Media Ads
The global reach on social media is not expected to change anytime soon. Users are still logging in and actively engaging in social media apps daily. However, regulations on data collection will result in limitations on how marketers build audiences for social ads. With these restrictions, brands may have to rely on first-party data for targeting. Our Head of Business Development and Strategy, Matt Barash spoke to ExchangeWire about the importance of leveraging first-party data. He said, “Incumbent retailers with their own mobile app will be able to take advantage of first-party data and leverage that to build audiences, target and retarget, with both ads and savings.”

5G Makes its Way Through North America
5G has been a hot topic for years but it will finally make a significant impact in North America in 2020. Smartphone adoption will start in Asia-Pacific and will make its way into the North American and European markets before becoming a worldwide trend in 2021. As stated on Statista, Ericsson has forecasted that smartphone adoption will reach 220 million by the end of 2021.

Upgraded phones and networks don’t just mean faster and more reliable connections for consumers, but also for companies and their digital efforts. Both advertisers and app publishers can take advantage of 5G’s greater capabilities, low latency, and fast download speeds.

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