It’s was another busy year for mobile native advertising in 2015, as you may have already seen in our piece on the four stories that influenced the mobile native advertising space last year. But as anyone will tell you, being one step ahead of the competition is essential to success.
So to help you get a head start on the rest, here are four trends that we believe will shape mobile native advertising in 2016.
Mobile Advertising Blocking
Mobile advertising blocking within web browsers has not been much of a problem for advertisers in 2015.
A flurry of negative headlines followed Apple’s announcement that they’d allow ad blocking in iOS 9. A recent report revealed that only 2% of the mobile user base has installed blockers and their impact has been negligible to most businesses so far.
However, that is far from the end of the discussion when it comes to the impact of blockers in 2016 and beyond. First of all, blockers will still depress the effectiveness of traditional mobile web advertising – especially as 2% of an audience of billions is still a very big number. Second, rapid uptake of blockers may occur if the companies offering them switch from the currently favoured premium model to a freemium model that encourages more users to download.
But third, and most importantly of all, the perception of mobile advertising blocking as an issue won’t go away in 2016. Even though it has little effect in practical terms, the knowledge that there is a problem with mobile advertising blockers on the mobile web will cause advertisers to increasingly shun traditional routes.
VR and Smart Watch Advertising
Two new device categories have been spoken about a lot in 2015 as revolutionary for the mobile industry, but we’re only likely to begin seeing their value (or otherwise) for mobile native advertising in 2016 onwards.
The uptake of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets will increase in 2016 and are likely to offer a compelling, if commercially uncertain, set of native advertising options. The arrival of 360 video formats within Facebook, which allows users to turn their device to see content all around them, is an interesting format that will work well with Samsung’s mobile powered Gear VR headset.
As for smart watches, they are more likely to take off meaningfully next year. With Apple likely to launch an upgraded Apple Watch next year and soon to be the leading wearable on the market, advertisers will begin to see the value of native advertising content within the incredibly mobile context of a watch face in 2016 onwards.
The Social Platform Battle Will Intensify
Social platforms and mobile native advertising have gone together hand in hand due to their complementary strengths. With the latter providing huge amounts of personalised user data and the former encouraging personalised advertising, it’s no surprise to see the big social platforms like Facebook make mobile native advertising an essential part of their business success.
That, however, has meant that other social platforms have tried to get in on the act and rival Facebook. Twitter has developed its suite of advertising options to help target users at particular times and places (e.g. at a concert venue) Snapchat is developing its television style Snapchat Discover advertising options for brand advertisers; even Facebook itself has used its API to turn Instagram into an outpost of its mobile advertising frontline.
In short, the battle for advertiser dollars and user interest is only likely to become more ferocious in the social space in 2016. And with the likes of Twitter reportedly struggling to monetize in the face of Facebook’s dominance, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a big casualty in the forthcoming fight.
App Streaming To Redefine Native Apps
Finally, Google’s new App Streaming technology could potentially blur the lines between what is and isn’t a native app – challenging social networks and presenting advertisers with an interesting opportunity.
Though it is yet to be launched to all developers, App Streaming allows app developers to direct users on the mobile web to a fully functioning “streamed” version of their app. Removing the friction of the install and providing a better experience than a mobile website, App Streaming potentially removes a myriad of advertising problems including losing potential users due to slow loading times, lessening the attribution workload and simplifying the user experience.
But for mobile native advertisers in 2016, the challenge presented by App Streaming may relate more to its role in blurring the lines between “native app” and “mobile web”. As a counterpoint to the threat of ad blockers, App Streaming might offer certain app advertisers (particularly utility services which rely on standardised booking forms) a more natural way of advertising to a user, getting them to use a product and make money.
Essentially, Google’s play with App Streaming is to try and make the experience of advertising and using apps on the mobile more appealing than social channels that have to bounce the user to a store. If it works, it could be a big influence on the way mobile native advertising is conducted in 2016 and onwards.
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