2017 will be nothing like 2016. Mobile advertising is heading into a new year of change that may be somewhat surprising. The top three unexpected mobile advertising trends that we will see this year are publishers’ shift towards HTTPS; increase in mobile site speed and improvements in header bidding.

Added security

Google recently announced that as of January 2017 it’ll be labelling HTTP sites as non-secure, therefore emphasising to publishers the importance of moving over to HTTPS. In addition, HTTPS is slowly becoming mandatory in order to adopt new technologies that improve the mobile experience as well as a crucial factor in maintaining a high search ranking since Google and other search engines will favour sites that have adopted the protocol in their search results.

We have seen major announcements from the Guardian, as well as The New York Times, shifting over to HTTPS. Any publisher that does not make this move this year may not be considered a major media player in 2018.

Users, especially on sites that require any kind of transaction of financial data, will benefit from a peace of mind of an added security layer and the strengthened protection that HTTPS provides.

Speed matters

As far as search goes, Google will also be ranking sites and one of the major factors in determining how high the page appears in search results is speed.

Publishers will have to pay close attention to improving overall site speed performance and migrate over to Google AMP, Facebook Instant Articles or any other means to improve loading time of their websites.

Google reported the average retail mobile site takes 6.9 seconds to load and according to recent data 40% of users will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. In fact Marfeel has seen that many publisher sites can actually load in under 0.8 seconds; however, marketers need to understand the importance of site speed in attracting readers and encouraging them to keep returning to the site to make speed a top priority.

Improving bidding

Header bidding is a crucial part of the ad tech industry since it allows publishers to take many ad offers at once and choose the highest bidder while enabling advertisers to have a fair shot at inventory.

This year, we also foresee that header bidding will move over to the server side. This will be a faster and more profitable option for publishers since all of the major bidding will be done on a remote server rather than on publishers’ web browser. This, in turn, means less lag time in loading web pages.

Just recently, Ad Age reported that Amazon will be moving header bidding over to the server side, which will be targeting publishers specifically. Ad Age cited sources close to the situation that the entire bidding process will be done in the cloud rather than in publishers’ browsers.

The mobile advertising industry is going through a major shift in terms of UX [user experience design] and technology. Publishers of any size will need to embrace all the unexpected trends this year to stay competitive  – and now it’s up to them to be ready for it.