With a new year comes a new raft of predictions for what might unfold within it. PerformanceIN has been speaking with marketing experts in a number of disciplines to gauge their thoughts on what could make 2016 a groundbreaking year for their space. 

In this piece, Cristina Constandache, VP business partnerships in Americas & EMEA at Cheetah Ad Platform, predicts that brands will realise the true value of mobile

Given the all-pervasive nature of mobile technology, it can be hard to believe that smartphones are only eight-years-old, and mobile commerce is even younger.

According to an IMRG report, visits to e-commerce sites via smartphones and tablets accounted for 45% of all e-commerce traffic in the UK. In this year alone, 40% of UK adults made a mobile commerce purchase with their smartphone and 59% have browsed retailers’ sites on their devics, according to Deloitte.

As 2016 progresses, the market will be driven forward as the data signals that users generate are better understood, and the metrics used to run mobile-led campaigns are more established.

If the past few years are any indication, it’s going to happen quite quickly, which means 2016 is going to be a huge year for mobile commerce.

Consider this: just 12 months ago, cost per install (CPI) was considered a key metric for apps – now we know that measuring and responding to a user’s engagement is infinitely more important. 

That’s led the industry to explore models based on attribution, which is based on the measurement of mobile signals (installs, launches, level completions, in-app purchases, etc) that are produced as a result of marketing activity. This type of data – essential to understanding m-commerce ROI – is of tremendous interest in leveraging the mobile user’s experience to power future advertising.

That said, the big promises of mobile, including ‘in-the-moment’ contextual commerce powered by location and behavioural data from predictive analytics, are still on the cusp of our vision, and historically erratic returns on m-commerce spend holds some advertisers back. But the data that will eventually prove engagement’s value is being generated right now and savvy brands will take advantage of that in 2016.

Even the spectre of ad blocking won’t be able to ruin the m-commerce party. Ad blocking isn’t the end of mobile commerce – it’s a sign mobile is maturing and a clear indication as to the future of next-level native advertising formats. 

Yes, mobile ads are often rightfully perceived as intrusive, off-target and valueless, however, next level native ads will change that by creating innovative formats that add value for users by mixing the ad experience with utilitarian things we use our mobiles for. This, in turn, will foster better, more targeted ads, lower cost per acquisition, and higher lifetime values for users.

Video will certainly be a catalyst in all this. The confluence of mobile user demand for app and video experiences has led to the creation of new forms of in-app experiences that advertisers are simultaneously using to engage, entertain and learn from users.  One opportunity for video in m-commerce will be found by using location-based data in combination with other mobile signals to provide native video ads that users consider both valuable and relevant.

If I’m in London and it’s raining, show me an ad for a Burberry raincoat. If I’m at the Starbucks, Pret A Manger needs to offer me a free coffee for watching a 30-second video and convince me to leave the Starbucks and make my way to their nearby store. During 2016, many brands will deploy these targeted video ads, with increasingly measurable ROI.

And, as more users engage with more brands over mobile, all those data signals will be used to do some pretty interesting things. I’m not referencing demographic data (e.g. you’re a 28 year old female living in London), but actual behavioural data found in how, when, and to what outcomes you use an app. Soon (it’s happening now), advertisers, marketers and developers will have the tools to verify that data and use it to power predictive analytics that will feed native ad formats tailored to the user’s circumstances.

When that happens, mobile will have reached its tipping point and we’ll stop thinking of m-commerce in terms of its potential and understand it for the revolutionary commercial force it is.