First invented in 1973, mobile phones have evolved from the clunky devices of old into the sleek, do everything, design of today. Mobile phone owners can use them to do such things as pay bills, purchase books or order a Lyft. Life on the run is no longer a song, but a reality of 21st century living.

Brands are capitalizing on the world’s personal affinity for mobility, viewing the smartphone as the perfect platform for to engage in their favorite pastime—advertising. Defined as the "communication of products or services to mobile device and smartphone consumers," mobile advertising works by targeting users through a phone networks' database of specified demographics. Using practices similar to social media advertising, mobile networks identify consumer profiles based on things like preferences and usage, which they can then use to serve relevant ads to those users.

Globally, mobile ad spending surpassed $100 billion in 2016, with $40 billion spent on the digital ad market in the US alone. With such an upward momentum, what’s next for mobile advertising? Here are our top predictions based on the growing trends within the mobile space.


In-app mobile ads

As advertisers become more adept with mobile advertising, they have realized that a better way to reach their targets is to advertise in-app. Why? Because according to a survey of smartphone users, consumers spend some 84% of their time in app usage. Advertising via mobile app works effectively because of the availability of enhanced location data, plus the rich layers of information (weather, events, demographics) that can be utilized by advertisers. This enhanced information allows marketers to serve dynamic content that will hopefully resonate more strongly than other available content.


Dynamic ad units

Dynamic ads encourage customer engagement by serving real-time needs. For example, consider you’re outside on a very hot summer day. Next thing you know, an ad comes up suggesting a place close by where you can get some water. What’s at work here is advertisers creating ads that are capable of changing based on real-time information about temperature, time of day, the day of the week, etc. Dynamic ads allow you to easily swap out elements of your ad, such as call-to-action (CTA) text, exit


Hyperlocal exclusivity

Industry experts expect ads to become more targeted in 2017 as advertisers continuously refine their methods to reach consumers. Things like hyperlocal exclusivity will become more normalized, and you can expect organizations to form partnerships with key retailers. It’s the natural progression in mobile advertising growth: highly refined targeting to reach the best possible consumer.

Best Buy decides to hold a sale on big screen tvs over the weekend. To prepare for the sale they can reserve inventory on an ad network, such as Google, and target iOS devices within a 30-meter radius. When an i0S device is within the targeted store zone the cell phone holder receives a text ad with an exclusive, time sensitive offer. By using hyperlocal exclusivity, Best Buy drives in-store traffic to increase sales over the weekend.


Personalized engagement

Perhaps the most exciting development gaining traction in mobile advertising is increased user engagement. Advertisers are sharing some of the ad power with consumers through the rise of click-to-camera/click-to-video ads.

Say you’re walking by the Eiffel Tower when suddenly your phone rings, letting you know of a photo contest. All you have to do is take a picture, submit and you could win a prize! Sounds neat, right? What a fun and memorable way to remember a visit to one of the world’s most famous landmarks.

With dynamic advertising, such a level of engagement is now possible. By allowing consumers to dictate their ad experience, you increase the likelihood that it will be a good one.


Conclusion

Eight years ago, mobile advertising was hardly even a concept worth considering, but now it has taken the advertising world by storm. We may not be able to know exactly what changes are coming, but we can make some pretty good educated guesses. We hope you consider these trends as you create future campaign strategies.

Lynn Pedotto

Lynn Pedotto

Lynn Pedotto is a writer who holds an MS from Medill. In addition to covering all things social, she’s a policy wonk who loves to write about government.