Industry-insights | 06 min read

Mobile Advertising Trends 2016

Mobile advertising is constantly changing and evolving, and has risen to a multi-billion dollar industry in a few short years. It can be difficult to keep track of where is best to spend your marketing budget, so we’ve made this list of the major mobile advertising trends to keep an eye on for the rest of 2016.

1. Microlocation Marketing will enhance the in store experience

This is something that has been around for a couple of years, but companies are just beginning to try and exploit the true potential now, as download speeds increase and connectivity improves. This combines the online and in-store experience, and can give the user highly targeted and contextualised content according to not only which store they are in, but where they are in a store.

This means stores could make specific offers, direct to a mobile device, depending on what the customer is looking at at that very moment. It could have a huge impact on the way we online vs in-store is seen, as companies begin to treat them as one entity, rather than two.

2. It will help VR, and VR advertising, become more accessible

VR is clearly going to be very popular, and is already selling well amongst the early adopters and tech enthusiasts. Marketers are already starting to create VR ads, which are amazing, memorable experiences, but the one barrier for VR at present is the cost of entry. If you’re looking at any of the major options, it’s an investment of hundreds of dollars.

This is where mobiles will really make a difference. Take the Samsung Galaxy. It’s one of the most popular smartphones available, and a big part of the marketing campaign for the latest model, the S7, was the VR capability. Samsung were bundling headsets with the phone, worth around a hundred dollars, which allow owners of the handset to experience full VR without the huge investment. For marketers, this means there are potentially millions more able to view their ads.

3. Spend will increase (again)

In 2015, the spend for desktop and mobile advertising was at around the same level, but this is only a small part of the whole picture. Ad spend on desktops has actually been decreasing slowly for a while, whereas mobile spend has been increasing drastically.

This is set to continue throughout 2016, with mobile ad spend exceeding desktop by quite some distance. People do most of their browsing on mobile devices, so it stands to reason the marketing budgets would reflect this.

4. Growth in programmatic mobile

Programmatic buying is used by a majority of marketers, even if it’s not fully understood yet. The fact that mobile ad budgets are increasing, coupled with the more detailed information gained from users browsing on smartphones means that programmatic buying is set to become even more useful, and valuable, on mobile platforms.

We wrote about this last year if you want to learn more.

5. Video maintains momentum

One format which sees constant growth and innovation is video. More and more brands experiment with it, and see it as a central part of their campaigns. Whether it’s video banner ads, full YouTube commercials, or hosting them on native platforms, they’re everywhere.

Recently, Facebook have implemented 360 videos into their feeds, too, and soon you’ll be able to make 360 banners with BannerFlow, which will ensure that more and more people choose to use videos to create memorable, engaging campaigns.

6. Social will continue to grow

No big surprises here, but advertising on social networks will continue to grow. The spend on Facebook alone is huge, and companies are investing more and more in it. The remainder of this year will likely see marketers tackle other, more niche social channels too, as well as spending more on the unstoppable Snapchat.

More visual apps like Pinterest and Instagram will continue to get love from marketers, as engagement remains high. The potential for highly targeted ads reaching interested audiences is massive on social platforms though, and for this reason alone it will continue to grow.

7. Mobile purchasing will increase

One area where mobile has really lagged behind desktop is with people’s willingness to purchase over the internet. It’s likely down to the fact that people trust their laptops and their own wi fi more than a handheld device over a telephone network, but that attitude is changing.

More and more consumers are using their smartphones to make purchases, so expect marketers to adjust their campaigns accordingly, in order to make the path to purchase as smooth as possible.

8. Move into messaging

Messaging apps are huge. They have literally billions of captive users, returning regularly to spend time in apps like Whatsapp or Facebook messenger. The retention rate is super high, as on average these programs are used nine times a day!

With that in mind, it’s incredible that there haven’t been more attempts at forging marketing opportunities already, but that is changing. Snapchat already sells ad space in their Live Stories, and you can bet that this is only the beginning.

9. App retargeting

Until relatively recently, the main goal of any app developer was, ultimately, the number of downloads. Now these companies are much more focussed on users that keep coming back, as they’re the ones that make the app worthwhile.

Enter App Retargeting. Whether through deep linking, direct messages or retarget campaigns around the web, companies are now reaching out to lapsed and new users more than ever, to make sure they keep using the program they downloaded. The ROI is higher on this than on advertising for the initial download, so it’s clear why this is a growing trend in mobile marketing.

10. Ad blocking increases, but apps win out

Already becoming the norm on desktop, use of ad blockers on mobile is rising at a steady rate. This is more of an issue indicating the quality of ads, which is constantly being addressed, but with mobile platforms, ad blockers are simply not as big a concern.

This is all because of Apps. So many mobile marketers use these to advertise, particularly with the rise of Freemium, and these aren’t affected by ad blocking software. With this in mind, ad blocker use may rise, but spending and app downloads will rise much quicker.

11. Silent Video

We’ve already established that video is huge, and continues to grow, but there is one slight issue that advertisers have now started to take into account. For a long time, all video ads required the user to have the sound enabled on their device to actually get the full message, but the fact is most people using mobile devices don’t tend to browse with the sound on, or are listening to music at the same time.

Marketing types have started to take this into account with silent video ads, which are exactly as they sound. Well, the point is that there’s no sound. They’re made specifically to express the entire message intended without the need for the user to listen, which is a very simple approach, but one that has previously been neglected. As advertisers try to adapt more to users, you can expect to see more of these.


Mobile Advertising is so vast, and so flexible, that each marketer will have different views and ideas on how to use it best. These trends are all worth looking into, so just see which fit your business best and, above all, be creative! If you stay on the cutting edge of mobile advertising, and wow your audience, your campaigns will convert like never before.

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