It’s been an interesting year for the mobile marketing industry.
Political scandals like Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election have thrown digital advertising into the global spotlight. Despite rising costs, Facebook ads still aren’t saturated, with plenty of room for marketers to develop high-return strategies amidst a myriad of new features and technical developments. Google has doubled down on streamlined processes thanks to advancements in machine learning while still managing to keep performance high. The two titans have maintained their duopoly, accounting for 84% of all spending, as overall market value continues to trend up. All of this in spite of high-profile budget cuts in response to what many digital marketing professionals are calling a digital ad fraud epidemic with world-wide implications.
In short, it’s been anything but boring. I expect 2018 to be just as interesting for different reasons. As more resources flood the space and innovation marches on, I’m anticipating that the overall quantity and availability of actionable audience data will increase. We’ll see creative and efficient use of this data become commonplace, with the onus placed on marketers to bring themselves up to speed. Greater adoption of open source practices and the standardization of formerly disparate data sets will open doors for marketers, allowing them to take greater advantage of automation practices, faster. Many of these shifts have already begun.
More Accessible/Detailed Data
Both Facebook and Google spent 2017 demonstrating that empowering marketers was one of their top priorities. Many of their initiatives have been focussed on accessibility and transparency, and the rest of the industry has kept pace. As a result, marketers will have greater access to user level data in 2018 than ever before.
Facebook started the year announcing measurement partnerships with multiple third-party ad tech companies. They also released their marketing mix modelling portal, affording marketers greater access to multi-channel performance data. Google has also pushed for greater targeting capabilities for advertisers, with developments like the extension of in-market audience targeting into search campaigns. Expect firms from all sides of the industry to follow this trend, with even greater granularity becoming available to marketers throughout the new year.
Efficient Automation Will Not Be Optional
With more data freely available, the cost-benefit ratio of automation strategies will be too high for even the smallest companies to ignore. Marketers will need to learn to take full advantage of these efficiencies, either building them out themselves or partnering with vendors.
We’ve already seen this trend pick up speed this year. Companies like MailChimp have made a substantial push to make automation core to their offering. Whether in-house or outsourced, marketers will need to stay ahead of what I expect to be a rapid shift towards automated marketing practices, both throughout the funnel and into engagement/retention initiatives.
Open Source and Standardization Deliver Quick Wins
Finally, I expect open source solutions and data standardization practices to be top-of-mind for marketers looking to bring their operations up to speed quickly. Google’s commitment to improving their search experience will dictate best practices for marketers looking to secure the most coveted SERP rankings. Open source projects like schema.org will continue to be at the center of these changes, as both Google and Facebook work to make the web more navigable and user-friendly through cohesion and harmony.
As is the case every year, I expect 2018 to be a mixed bag of challenges, innovations and successes. Expect a major push from the increasingly data-wealthy platforms to afford digital marketers as much actionable data as possible, and for the rest of the industry to follow suit. The resulting options and capabilities that this affords marketers will make for a sophisticated but rewarding 2018.