With the number of smartphone users worldwide expected to exceed two billion, more than a quarter of the global population, 2016 will see mobile usage reach new heights. We now spend 3.5 hours a day using our mobile devices, investment in mobile advertising will account for 66% of all digital advertising investment by 2018, according to eMarketer . As our mobile becomes the most important screen in our lives for content it also becomes the most valuable for advertisers. 

Here are some predictions for the major trends in mobile technology and what you need to know for the next 12 months. 

Video is king 

With mobile screen size and quality continuing to increase, video will establish itself as the most important type of mobile content with 70% of all media consumption being on mobile or tablet devices by 2018 (Widespace). With unparalleled engagement and effectiveness, it is equally important as an advertising format. 

Tailored content 

As the number of users hits new heights, bespoke content for these screens will become the norm. Advertising needs to be produced with a mobile first approach, with shorter and easier to understand creatives, rather than simply edits of traditional television spots. 


With over four million apps available to download, 90% of our mobile time is spent using applications, and 84% of users’ time is spent using just five apps or less. This also means that apps that have previously been closed o are starting to index their content, which will change mobile search in 2016. 

Wearables get worn 

With projected global sales of $100 billion by 2018, the next twelve months will see wearable technology go mainstream with the second generation Apple Watch and fitness trackers hitting the shelves (Underwriters Laboratories). Our homes are also getting connected and by 2020 the average household and cars will contain several hundred smart objects. 

VR becomes a reality 

What a few years ago seemed like sci-fi, 2016 will be the year that virtual reality becomes a standard. Brands are finding new ways to use the technology as a gateway to personalised experiences. The next phase will see solutions built around the mobile screen such as Google Cardboard and high-end gear like Oculus Rift. Publishers are not being left behind either with Buzzfeed and New York Times already producing VR content. 

Programmatic premium 

Programmatic advertising continues to grow and totaled over $10 billion during 2014. Over 60% of all programmatic spend is on mobile and this will increase to 76% by 2019. Transparency will become the key issue with brands able to run programmatic campaigns in premium context rather than just across a network of sites. This ensures ads are seen in the right places and context, knowing where ad spend is going. 

M-commerce goes mainstream 

2016 will be the year that purchases made on mobile devices really take over, with m-commerce predicted to account for 45% of all online purchases by 2020. Contactless payment is also expected to finally hit its stride this year with the number of enabled devices exceeding 600 million globally, according to Deloitte. 

Quality, quality, quality 

There will be an increased focus on quality with digital advertising. 54% of ads are currently never seen and in Sweden alone 34% of ad impressions are blocked by ad blockers (Widespace). All this will contribute to higher requirements for viewability measurement and transparency.