3 Takeaways for the Ad Industry, With Q1 a Wrap
The first quarter of the year is always interesting. It shapes what the next nine months might look like and sets the tone for advertisers and brands. This quarter was no different — it delivered a great deal of news and trends for marketers to unpack and comprehend. But with so many topics covered, what were some of the biggest takeaways?
Here’s a closer look at three.
Seize the GDPR Moment
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance was a key focus on the quarter — and understandably so. The EU’s GDPR is poised to spur an evolution in the way the digital media and advertising ecosystem delivers data rights to consumers on a global scale. Overall, GDPR facilitates a better experience for consumers by giving them greater control over what data is collected, stored and activated by businesses.
For marketers, GDPR will enable opportunities to turn consumers into members. More high-quality data means more personalized and effective content and ads across the board. It will also dramatically increase the quality and integrity of data available for marketers. While it’s still early days, in the long-term, GDPR could deliver real value.
We Need Mobile Ad Format Innovation
How can brands break through on mobile? This was a question I’d heard repeatedly during the past three months from both advertisers and partners. Mobile is the consumer’s first screen. People spend five hours on it, every single day. But there is an exploding competition for attention there. The key is ad format innovation.
I think video and AR are part of this next wave. We’ve recently rolled out new mobile ad formats for testing in select international markets, including an AR unit and a full-screen native ad unit. Our competitors also spent the quarter talking about innovation. Better data — like location, for example — to power and personalize these formats will also be key. The future of mobile advertising will be won with these types of experiences. The unprecedented level of interactivity and engagement they deliver is uniquely appealing to consumers and advertisers alike. Demand is surging. This will force even more innovation.
Mobile App Growth Is Slowing
Flurry recently looked at mobile app growth in EMEA. According to the data, mobile app session growth has slowed considerably worldwide. In 2017, the UK and France both saw year-over-year declines of 4 percent, while Germany saw 1 percent growth. This compares to the 6 percent year-over-year global growth for that same period. Consumers have almost maxed out the amount of time and energy they can devote to their smartphones, and we’re seeing them shift and prioritize their time on devices and across apps. This was a key theme in Q1 and it speaks to the need for more innovative distribution channels for app publishers. It also underscores the value of quality mobile ad inventory as app growth slows, overall. Quality has been a challenge, due to low-end mobile ad networks.
Still, the decline isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Mobile buying has ballooned. Shopping on mobile in the UK, France and Germany saw high double-digit growth last year. Consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases on their phones. The adoption of digital wallet services like Apple Pay have only helped accelerate that. This represents an enormous opportunity for mobile advertisers. As m-commerce has increased, ad experiences that captivate consumers and compel them to buy are more important than ever. Again, this ties back to innovation. The potential ROI is incredible as behavior shifts.
These topics drove the discussion this past quarter and will continue to be focus areas for marketers well beyond. Preparing for GDPR and delivering on mobile’s promise as the market evolves are critical. This summer should be interesting.