It’s tempting to think that there can’t possibly be any more innovation in the advertising space. The ad tech explosion in the past decade has led to the invention of so many new formats, tools and approaches that it can be hard to think of where else it could go.
Yet more innovation is coming down the pipeline. Whether it’s heavyweight players dipping their toes into formats they missed out on or totally new concepts popping up, there’s plenty for advertisers to be watching out for.
Here are three new advertising options that mobile businesses should be looking at in the coming year to see how they could potentially help your business.
First up, Google is finding new ways to use its rewarded product functionality by extending it to their advertising tools to create its own form of rewarded advertising.
In a move designed to evolve its advertising tools to fit the needs of businesses, the company is allowing app developers to run rewarded adverts directly through Google to meet the needs of both their business and their players.
“Developers are increasingly using multiple methods to monetize their apps and games,” said Patrick Davis, product manager at Google Play. “One trend has been to reward users for a monetizable action, like watching a video, with in-game currency or other benefits. This gives users more choice in how they experience the app or game, and has been an effective way to monetize non-paying users.”
As a result, developers can now begin to insert rewarded adverts into their game directly with the help of the Play Console and Google Billing. Crucially, it can be done without adding an SDK – with the majority of the legwork being completed by an API call.
Yes, this isn’t a revelatory new development for the world of mobile advertising. But it shows how even the biggest players are slowly and steadily evolving their advertising tools.
Earlier this week, Snap announced a brand new offering called Audience Network that allows third-party developers to stuff their inventory with Snap ads.
The inventory – which is all portrait video ad format – will fill slots within apps that sit outside of Snapchat. And in return for providing the adverts, Snap will take a revenue share from each third party provider in an effort to grow its network.
This is an interesting move from Snap. The company still has a formidable daily active user base of 186m worldwide. But with that in decline and with other services like Instagram video benefitting from Facebook’s enormously effective advertising options, Snap is aiming to expand the reach of its adverts while it is still on the up.
It’s not the only intriguing advertising story to have come from Snap’s first partner summit. The company has also announced that it will include games in its app for the first time, with Zombie Rescue Squad from PikPok one of a handful of titles running six second unskippable rewarded adverts.
But the potential reach of Audience Network could make it particularly interesting for advertisers and publishers – especially those looking to add interactive video content to their advertising options.
Finally, have you thought about the possibility of conversational advertising? Well, you’ll be able to soon when Pandora’s voice-driven ads arrive on the scene.
The ads, which will run on its music streaming service, differ from other audio ads because they will allow users to respond directly to them using their voices.
Partly, this advertising unit has been driven by the emergence of smart speakers. The rapid uptake of Google Home and the Amazon Echo – which have contributed to 118m smart speaker sales in the US alone – is a major driver behind interactive audio content.
But mobile advertisers should take the opportunity super-seriously too. The significant evolution in the quality of handheld virtual AIs like Siri and Google Assistant is driving voice as a way of interacting with smartphones. And with these assistants installed across billions of device, voice has real potential.
There will be challenges with this. Unlike other mobile adverts where there is a single point of interaction (e.g. a “click here” button), voice adverts will need to be subtle enough to understand hundreds of variations of, say, the word ‘yes’. This may take time to evolve.
But in the short term, this is a format worth watching. It will take time to work out best practices, but an early intervention could deliver great cost-effective results for a brave advertiser.
Ad tech continues to change and evolve. It is therefore in the interests of mobile advertisers and publishers to make sure that they stay on top of these evolutions.
As seen in the examples above, the level of change may vary from minor evolutions in product offerings to the invention of new formats. But by keeping abreast of these shifts and testing new types of creative, mobile advertisers and publishers could find value in the market before rivals do – giving their businesses a handy boost.