As brands compete to grab customer attention in an increasingly crowded marketspace, the space of digital marketing is witnessing rapid evolution and path-breaking shifts. Increasing penetration of smartphones and mobile devices has entailed the need for multi-pronged advertising strategies that can attract consumers on the go. The Covid 19 pandemic has further accelerated the shift towards digital advertising while shrinking traditional ad spends on TV and print media. Media investment company Group M’s recent report on adex projected a 23.2 per cent growth in adspends in 2021, with digital spend forecasted to grow the most.

This ecosystem will grow exponentially in the time to come, we are already seeing this ecosystem grow from obscurity into delivering performance driven campaigns for advertisers. This ecosystem delivers both the reach and frequency that the advertiser wants and also ensures transparent customer engagement.

Within the digital marketing space, it is mobile advertising that is increasingly garnering a lion’s worth of mindshare among marketers. Backed by growing penetration of smartphones and 4G data including the upcoming 5G ecosystem, mobile is emerging as the preferred mode of media consumption, making mobile outreach central to digital advertising strategy. As mobile increasingly assumes the space of a primary digital device for accessing the Internet, marketers are looking at mobile marketing as the primary driving factor.

Mobile ad spends will continue to increase

Interestingly, mobile ad spends globally is estimated to have overtaken desktop adspends for the first time as late as in 2018. As mobile marketing continues to take centrestage in the strategies of digital marketers, mobile ad spends are witnessing a continuing surge ever since. Media company dentsu’s 2021 forecast on Global Ad Spend predicted major growth for mobile ad spending across the world with the Indian market estimated to have almost doubled its mobile ad spend between 2019 and 2020. With over 500 million Indians using smartphones, an overwhelming majority of the consumer is today making their purchasing decisions through mobile devices. Mobile apps – from social media, to e-commerce to gaming — remain the space where an overwhelming majority of the consumer time is spent. Evidently, marketers are devising new creative and technology-backed strategies to upend their mobile advertising game. In app advertising, customer engagement through gamification, creatives that seamlessly fit into publisher content and increased use of automation are key trends driving mobile advertising into the future.

Automation will be key

Mobile marketing automation is increasingly helping brands customise and personalise their ad campaigns and enable them to achieve better customer segmentation and targeting. Robust marketing automation platforms are therefore a key to an effective app marketing future.

While traditional marketing automation platforms used on desktops are effective in gathering elementary customer information such as browsing habits, purchase preferences etc, mobile marketing automation platforms go a step ahead and enable marketers to automate communication with consumers. So, once aligned with your requirements, an automated mobile marketing platform will continue to collect user information, complete its identification and consumer segmentation and follow it up with continued notifications, emails, product recommendations and in app messages.

As brands aim to generate mobile-specific content and engagement strategies, mobile marketing automation allows them to optimise consumer campaigns, communicate in real time, improve their ROI and ensure effective consumer engagement and retention.

Mobile native advertising to take centrestage

With banner and display ads increasingly having lesser effect on consumers and ad blocking becoming a common phenomenon, native advertising has emerged as a more reliable and effective way of consumer outreach. Much like desktop native advertising, mobile native advertising is also becoming a preferred choice for marketers.

Native advertising helps create a communication campaign that blends seamlessly into the publisher’s content. The in-feed and organic nature of native ads makes them appear more trustworthy for consumers. Moreover, being as close to the app’s visual appearance, they neither disrupt nor jar the consumer eye. Native ads therefore inordinately lead to more leads, purchases and better ROI. The future of mobile advertising is therefore shifting towards native advertising trends.

‘Gamified’ mobile advertising the next ‘IT’ thing

There is no dearth of gaming fans online. So, when your mobile advertising strategy adopts features of gamification, it is bound to attract more eyeballs and clicks as compared to traditional ads. Gamification is essentially a strategy of incorporating features of game playing into advertising or marketing content. For example, a content promoting an educational tool may ask viewers to participate in a quiz to grab their attention, improve engagement and offer rewards.

This is a tacit strategy rather than an in-your-face ad campaign to engage consumers with your brand and increase brand recall and loyalty. As marketing strategies evolve, gamification of mobile advertising is fast catching up as a phenomenon.

In-app advertising to gain more traction

While mobile websites and mobile apps have many similarities, there are key differences that make in-app advertising more lucrative for brands. Firstly, dramatic growth of mobile apps means that an overwhelming majority of people are spending their time in-app while using mobile devices. A mobile app trends report by analytics platform Adjust reported a rise in app installs by 31% yoy in the first quarter of 2021. So, the average daily time spent on apps is much more than the time spent on mobile websites. Secondly, a number of features of mobile apps makes in-app advertising more effective. An in-app environment does not depend on cookies and is better at collecting user information and data, enabling advertisers to generate more personalised campaigns and achieve better consumer targeting. The ability to track location through apps further adds to the accuracy of marketing strategy. This tracking accuracy also allows programmatic buying to be more accurate and effective. Thirdly, in-app advertising invariably achieves a higher click-through rate. No wonder, the demand for in-app advertising is expected to grow dramatically. According to a market analysis by Grand View Research, the global in-app advertising market was projected to grow at a CAGR of 19.4% between 2019 and 2025.