Mobile Advertising Trends 2017 – The View from Industry Leaders

Artyom Dogtiev

In Mobile Advertising. January 24, 2017

Every January people from all business verticals share their vision of what is going to be important throughout a year in their area. We want to share with you a collective snapshot of such a vision, gathered from leading mobile advertising business leaders operating across every international market.  We contacted a range of mobile advertising industry professionals and asked them to share their views on what the key trends in mobile advertising would be for 2017.
What do YOU think the main trends are going to be this year?  Let us know on Twitter / Facebook / Linkedin
So here are the trends …
Ryan Griffin, Senior Vice President, Strategy at AdColony

“It’s becoming more clear that a consumer’s smartphone choice is the foundation of their entire digital experience – and, given the way we associate personality with brands, possibly their identity, too. An iPhone purchase is no longer just a one-off decision; it is a buy-in to an entire ecosystem. That used to mean your computer, and maybe one other device. But now it is the leading edge to what will be in your home, the car you drive, your entertainment system – a complete bundle of hardware and software services.”

Maor Sadra, Managing Director & CRO at AppLift

Mobile advertising is about to hit 10 years from the launch of the iPhone (we can argue if advertising on feature phones counted….). The industry is being pressured to consolidate as Advertisers settle on the vendors and providers they know and limit “tests” with new players in the industry. Similar to what happened in Desktop advertising, mobile advertising companies will continue a fast consolidation track , both on the supply, demand, data players and so on, until the point where the market has only a few very large players, leading to an era of hyper niche players providing service to Advertisers.

Daisy Wu, VP of International Business at Yeahmobi

First, I believe we will still see further increase on mobile advertising budgets. It was the trend for the last few years and will continue. Second, I think the new interactive ads will become popular on mobile end in 2017. Both the technology and the demand for it are ready. Third, the market will become more and more transparent. It is not only the desire of buyers, but also the way to make the whole mobile marketing ecosystem healthier. With the increase in customer demands, media companies and publishers will push forward on meeting such demands.

Liis Ristal, Head of Marketing,

I wouldn’t distinguish any differences between mobile and desktop advertising anymore, from advertising and technical point of view in 2017 it’s all about in-app and in-screen advertising. And in-app is really taking off, with almost unlimited advertising options that for example native ads and rewarded videos offer.

Macarena Cenalmor, VP Client Services at mobusi

Programmatic trading will have an enormous impact. Video will obviously be growing fast – that goes without saying but we musn’t forget about Header Bidding and Native Ads
New services like influencers will be important in 2017 – we’ve decided to launch our own influensi platform for influencers and advertisers alike.

Iván Carrillo, Head of New Business in Kimia

Within the next year, programmatic buying will continue to have the enormous challenge of correctly applying the huge advantages it offers. Programmatic goes beyond being a way of collecting inventory, and of marketing automatization of data management. However, it remains unclear how to completely benefit from automation and optimization on the demand side (which entails a major technological effort) and a correct strategy for applying these advantages on the supply side (which is often leaves publishers weary to apply programitc to 100% of thier inventory).
The industry should also be very careful to find ways to reduce and contain the different forms of fraud that come with the special features in programmatic buying. Only a “healthy” growth of the programmatic market will allow it to be seen as the best, and optimized, option in the medium and long term.
Regarding ad formats, we will see more creative ads and interaction with the users due to users exposed saturation to advertising. In Kimia´s experience, the format behaviour is what matters most. We are heading towards a more interactive and dynamic format market.
For example, in-image ads that integrate with the original ad format to add value to it.
This year should also bring the consolidation of native and video advertising. Video still has the challenge of becoming more than a tool for brands to get exposure and to finally be useful for performance marketing.
2017 will also continue with the consolidation of the market as a whole. While new ad networks, performance networks, DSP etc. keep popping up all the time, most of the smaller companies will probably not survive the year. It’s easy to start in mobile advertising and to keep a small share of the market, but when it comes to growing beyond that, the risks are always there.
The main issue is cash flow. Usually the only way for new companies to get a piece of the market, is to work on very low or even inexistent margins. These margins can then be heavily affected by , for example, an advertiser which does not pay. New companies may not have enough resources to survive these unexpected, yet sadly, common issues.

Mary Clark Rardin, Marketing Manager,

In 2017, mobile app publishers will continue to invest in unbiased ad mediation platforms that put ad performance first. Realizing that monetizing with only one or a handul of ad networks is no longer effective, more and more app publishers and developers will turn to intelligent mediation sources that are leading the way for A.I. age-friendly monetization strategies and analytics.

Gil Klein, EVP Media at Matomy

1. Data-Driven Audience Targeting
As technological advancements continue to surpass human intelligence, one of the main trends in mobile advertising for 2017 is the growth of data-driven, penetrative audience targeting and high-quality purchasing in programmatic transactions. More media buyers will focus on purchasing advertising that reaches specific users, enabling publishers to ensure high-quality exposure via quality viewable ads.
2. Engagement. Engagement. Engagement.
Playable and interactive ads provide a quick and quality glimpse of the advertised application, and will continue to grow in popularity. Brands will increase their adoption of native video ads, which appear unobtrusively within their placement environment, and in doing so, maximize video engagement. The videos will be personalized, based on the user’s specific properties, and depend on the application’s semantic properties.
3. Augmented Reality in Programmatic 
Another trend to pay attention to is the introduction of AR in advertising by developers attempting to connect the real and virtual environments. As more industries, such as design and tourism, engage in VR, it will become more accessible and convenient to the general public. Programmatic technology, however, still has to catch up in order to scale—so don’t hold your breath.
4. The More the Merrier
In the world of publishers and developers, there is a common assumption that in order to increase efficiency it is best to find just one advertising partner that can provide an end-to-end solution. However, we are seeing SSPs becoming more specialized in which markets, formats, or demands they support. Therefore, it is preferable to work with as many advertising partners as possible in order to maximize profits.
5. Programmatic Doesn’t Kill Creativity. 
There is a common myth in the industry that programmatic is slowly killing creativity. This is just not true. For decades, ads were a limited to print or TV and weren’t accessible to most marketers. New technology has made it possible for brands to reach audiences in new formats, publishing channels, and devices. As new types of ads are introduced into the market, expect to see new and exciting creative ways brands interact with users.
6. The Future of DSP’s 
There are thousands of DSPs operating in the mobile world. In the last two years, many of them have increasingly struggled to maintain their innovative edge and profitability. This year we will see many DSP’s acquired by ad agencies or consolidating.
7. Automation meets Localization
As our industry is enjoying the benefits of automation and the hyper-efficiency it contributes to the process, it is crucial to not ignore the importance of localization and market understanding. This is especially important in fast-growing markets such as Asia and South America. Knowing your audience will help you succeed in helping local advertisers reach their target audiences.

Matthew Lord, CSO at Adperio
Matthew Lord

Attribution will be the most discussed topic of 2017. We need to push that conversation forward as well as make real progress on the technology front. Someone defending their fraud prevention technology recently said to me that “Advertisers would rather air on the side of blocking too much.” Well of course they would. In 2017, we need to move beyond throwing the word fraud around casually. Confronting fraud and imperfect attribution as unique problems is the way forward to creating better tools, stopping bad actors, and to unleashing the true potential of mobile advertising.

Nabil Ben Khelifa, VP of Sales at Mobidea

We had already noticed an exponential growth of Programmatic advertising in 2016 and I believe it will still be the main trend in 2017. Today, it really doesn’t matter whether you are a publisher, advertiser or an agency: the actions are always influenced and fueled by data.
This isn’t exactly a revolution, inasmuch as it started a couple of years ago. Even so, it will become the ultimate standard, irrespective of your role in the mobile advertising ecosystem.
In addition to the Programmatic trend and the increasing importance of Big Data, the mobile marketing ecosystem will have to fight against bad practices in order to shift to a much healthier market. This will obviously demand transparency at each level of the conversion funnel, from the end users to the billing providers.

Naveen Khanna, CEO of Octal Info Solution

As per the predictions by market experts, the mobile applications market is estimated to reach $77 billion in the coming year 2017. The emergence of new and improved apps will continue to be a norm just like they were in 2016. And, there’s more to it. We will witness augmented experiences and phenomenal trends emerging on the scene. According mobile marketing experts at Octal Info Solution some of the mobile marketing trends that will shape up this industry in the near future are; mobile based CRM, Live Streaming Apps, Mobile Payments, IOT, Indoor Positioning & Navigation, Enterprise Mobility, iBeacon Apps, AR-VR apps and Native Advertising like Social Media Marketing, adwords, Display, Content Marketing Communities will continue to gain popularity.

Mari Yash, Marketing Manager at PropellerAds

Changes in the world of advertising are growing at an exponential rate. Users are becoming more digitalized and agile, making much of private time and filtering information more quickly.
The first thing that we realized by last year’s end – there is no limit in targetings as the User becomes more and more elusive and we need to put much more effort in order to target the responsive market.
The second thing is more obvious for the digital advertising market in general, both desktop and mobile. We expect sharp drop of user interest in the volumetric content and increase of interest in the short videos. Users put more value on the energy spent on the examining of information. Therefore advertisers will have to improve the alignment of video and mobile advertising. For some players in the advertising market it’s not easy from the point of view of technical implementation, but the result promises to be worthy.
We trace the dynamics of growth using the In-App ad formats and expect growth of these indicators in the next few months.
To summarize we can say that the most effective advertising is based on data-driven algorithms, which are relying on information about the individual user’s behavior and interests.

Dmitry Bogdanov, General Manager, GOWIDE.COM

Mobile ads are going to be mixed even deeper with other channels including social, video, native. This will help advertisers make their messages more appealing and diversified. Virtual reality ads are likely to go mainstream in the next several years, and it looks like this 2017 will be the hottest period to crop VR networks and develop new ad formats, targeting, audiences.

Filippo Satolli, COO at

2017 trends in Mobile Advertising can be sum up in 3 words: chatbots, native formats and anti fraud. Chatbots represents a change in the relationship between customers and companies meaning a more self service approach by clients, while native formats will increase users’ engagement through less invasive advertising formats which do not disturb users’ navigation, and anti fraud systems that will help advertisers to get more quality and transparency.

Galia Reichenstein, General Manager of U.S. in Taptica

“Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest have rolled out tools that have given marketers great insights, and brands will increasingly look to mobile and social to engage their consumers causing social to become more important in 2017. The issues with ad fraud and viewability will push brands to demand tighter KPIs and move toward CPE payments. Programmatic will continue to be a hype and although brands are getting more accustomed to buying mobile programmatic we shouldn’t expect to see full adoption until 2018.”

Jennifer Shambroom, CMO YouAppi

At YouAppi, we think the big mobile advertising trend for 2017 will be app re-engagement. Though marketers and others will be launching hundreds of new apps, the focus this year will be on finding ways for apps to re-engage with inactive users, whether through more effective, cohort-driven targeting or via deep-linked ads which bring dormant users directly to relevant content – be it the level of a game, a relevant retail product page, an appropriate video or article, etc. App re-engagement is going to be the big mobile advertising trend in 2017.

Vipul Mistry, Senior Business Development Manager at Intermarkets

I expect to see continued growth for mobile advertising, with mobile programmatic taking the lion’s share of the growth. Mobile display is anticipated to reach $29.6 billion this year — up six billion from 2016 — with 70 percent of it programmatic. Heavyweights in the space — like Google, Facebook and other platforms — will continue to lead the growing spend in mobile advertising and specifically mobile programmatic advertising in 2017.

Ariel Porchera, CEO Waypedia LLC

Pre roll video, full video ads and native ads will be taking over this 2017. Expect niche and small influencers to be the fastest growing marketing trend for the whole industry. We at Waypedia we are increasing effectiveness on incentivized traffic by increasing retention, engagement sessions and even high quality targeting audience for this 2017. We are also focusing our energy on influencers packages and working closely with developers to get the best of it.

Andrew Gerhart, COO at AerServ

No question that programmatic ad spend is growing, and will continue to do so. A recent eMarketer report showed that programmatic was responsible for two thirds of all ad spend, and programmatic mobile video would eclipse desktop in 2017. If mobile publishers aren’t paying attention to programmatic and figuring out their strategy now, they are falling behind. Native advertising is increasing as well, and we see a lot of customers that want to integrate the ad units due to their non-intrusive nature and seamless aesthetics. Yet we don’t see that demand has caught up to supply, in particular from the brands. With regards to the future of banner ads, I think it will be awhile before they die. People like to write them off because they generally perform worse than video and native, but the fact is that they still contribute a significant amount of ad spend and drive conversions for marketers when used properly. Over time, I think they will be r eplaced with more impactful and non-intrusive units, but today there is too much revenue associated with them.

Rob Jonas, SVP Revenue of Factual

Mobile data as a critical currency: Mobile advertising now accounts for the majority of digital spend in key markets and as publishers, media owners and app developers see continued growth, they will become more sophisticated in their collection and use of mobile data. Location data, sensor data and other forms will become a normal trading currency for improving content and advertising and those who embrace this will continue to be long-term winners.

Anton Ruin, CEO at Epom Ltd

Programmatic trends will have a huge impact on the industry in 2017. If you haven’t been using programmatic, it’s high time to jump onboard and reconsider spending your digital budget. Native advertising, including video, will remain among the highest paying and most popular ad formats.
The industry will grow rapidly, as Google has announced penalties for websites that show ads above the content (interstitials, catfish ads, etc). CPA networks will increase in traffic volumes and the number of offers. CPIs will get less exposure and will lose their popularity to CPA networks.

Barak Aviad, CEO at MobAir

A prominent trend is switching to header bidding instead of waterfalls, and while both publishers and advertisers benefit from this technology, there are still a lot of issues with the tech. Another rising trend in programmatic is the gradual shift from branding campaigns to performance. Although it requires strong technology in the backend – it’s getting easier to drive installs in programmatic, and soon they will start to catch up to impressions in terms of convenience. Additionally, rewarded video, playable ads and other ad formats that were experimental will go mainstream in 2017, and will likely attract a significant part of clients’ budgets as well.

Jeff Botnick, CEO at Mpire Network

In 2017, we are going to continue to see growing concern around fraud and invalid traffic in mobile advertising. Mobile advertising is a lucrative, high-growth market, which makes it highly attractive for fraudsters. Greater collaboration with clients, supply sources, industry bodies and anti-fraud solution providers is necessary to improve quality in the supply chain.

Christopher Vogt, Founder – Managing Director at BillFront

If the latest data concerning the growth of the digital advertising market is correct, it would indicate that the vast majority of the growth is being driven by Google and Facebook. Concurrently, this would imply that the revenues of other companies within the space are stagnating or even shrinking. Classical arbitrage models will certainly face some significant challenges in 2017 as the need for greater commercial transparency continues to increase.
Google and Facebook’s dominance aside, an area of the market that continues to see growth are those who offer access to highly targeted niche/vertical specific inventory or audience data. The market continues to show us that by dedicating your efforts to one particular industry sector (such as B2B, luxury, travel or fashion) that there are still sizeable and sustainable budgets to be had. This vertical specific focus coupled with the latest high quality and engaging ad formats should ensure a fruitful year for players in this space in 2017.

Christopher Farm, CEO of Tenjin

In 2017, even more ad formats will appear on the scene, providing more opportunity for developers to connect and engage with their targeted audiences. Playable ads are one format that we’re particularly excited about, as we believe that the better job an ad can do in letting the user get a true sense of what the app is all about, the more effective the campaign will be for both publishers and marketers alike.”
Trailer videos are the best way to show a viewer what the app experience is like, and their cost effectiveness makes them a go-to format for marketers throughout the industry. That will only accelerate in 2017.
Next year should see a quantum leap in the accuracy of predictive analytics as the algorithms they depend on become smarter and more advanced. That means that more app marketers will be able to use predictive analytics as an important part of their arsenal.

Scott Park, Co-Founder of TAB

Programmatic’s impact on Digital Advertising has been substantial as it has caused both efficiency, ease, and automation (and to some degree accountability and transparency.) Consequently, it has also caused some confusion on how to navigate through the advertising space. Shifts in the adtech technologies and company consolidations make it increasingly difficult to determine the difference between arbitrage and direct. For the advertiser this brings the potential to lose money faster in a shorter amount of time due to margins error, learning curves and not knowing what your partner really does.

Final Thoughts
We hope this mobile advertising forecast for 2017 will help you to build your own business growth strategy for this year better. The more market analysis and forecast you gather and process through your own filter, the more comprehensive market forecast you get.
Good luck with growing your mobile business this year and the years after!