Looking ahead: The mobile-first strategies that will define ad tech in 2019

The future is always a question mark, yet there are strong hints of what’s to come for publishers in 2019. From mobile optimization to multi-channel marketing, we’re analyzing the strategies publishers can use to stay ahead in 2019.
As we anticipate navigating through the year to come, let’s start with a quick look back at 2018, and the trends that are most likely to lead to new developments in 2019.

Mobile marketing: the world in 2018

Mobile marketing unquestionably made its mark in 2018. As the company hit the trillion-dollar milestone, Apple labeled mobile “the defining technology of the modern age,”. And on the international front, China’s blockbuster event, Singles Day, easily overtook Black Friday as the biggest online shopping event of the year.

From an ad tech perspective, the most significant news of the past year included Facebook’s decision to prioritize personal news over corporate and media posts. Then came Google’s decision to factor mobile page load speeds into its search rankings. Finally, GDPR compliance and HTTPS adoption forced every publisher to reconsider their strategy.

From a strategic perspective, there was a definite rise in hyper-focused multi-media content aimed at niche markets and the use of voice in SEO, it is now predicted to cover half of all searches by 2020.

Challenges to anticipate in 2019:

Mobile optimization and video optimization top the list of challenges facing digital marketers in 2019, according to Neal Schaffer, CEO of PDCA Social and a Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer. Leveraging the continuing rise of mobile is essential, he told Forbes, along with “creating personalized, and cross-channel journeys for consumers.’’

“Digital marketers face challenges in making their content seen and heard on search engines and their media channels. This will lead to a big push into videos, mobile marketing, and technology to improve the SEO and increase the ROI through content marketing efforts.”

This year there’s one other mission publishers need to accomplish: multi-channel marketing.

It’s never been more essential to reach your customers throughout the day (and night), whether through Facebook and Twitter or email and website chats. Social media marketing campaigns look like the road to success, which is why revenue from social media ads is forecast to increase from $67 billion to $93 billion this year, with the lion’s share attributed to mobile spending.

Using customer data strategically to create engaging user experiences will be another key challenge for publishers this year. A data-driven approach can help marketers deliver content to the right customer, across the right channels, at the right time,” says Stacy Martinet, Adobe VP of marketing strategy and communications. “One common denominator among today’s most innovative companies is a unified view of the customer, pulling data from across multiple sources. The data piece is table stakes nowadays.”

Strategies for 2019:

Adopting the mobile-first mindset

Why does mobile matter in 2019? The statistics tell the story:

  • Approximately 75 percent of Americans own smartphones, according to a late 2016 study from the Pew Research Center
  • Among 18 to 29-year-olds, smartphone use is at 92 percent
  • 90 percent of millennials reported keeping their cell phones handy at all times
  • Of the total population around the globe, six billion people use mobile phones
  • 62 percent of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months

When the concept of mobile-friendliness first emerged, it was thought to mean that websites should work seamlessly with mobile devices and that websites should be responsive to mobile. Today, it’s all about creating a rich user experience that translates perfectly to the small screen of a smartphone or tablet.

Building a multi-channel strategy:

Adopting a multi-channel strategy this year starts with recognizing that 72 percent of consumers prefer an integrated marketing approach—an excellent reason to integrate all of your campaigns into one cohesive cross-channel marketing strategy.

When publishers are all over the Internet, from Facebook to Google to Pinterest, “there’s going to be a lot of crossover in terms of how many different marketing channels the same consumers actually will interact with you on,” says Marc Weisinger, Shopify director of merchant revenue acceleration. “Multi-channel, at its core, is understanding how those channels interact.”

Certain channels work particularly well together. Among adults from 18 to 64, computer and mobile were paired most often (especially during the work day), while television and mobile (popular at night), computer and television, radio and mobile, and computer with radio were also favored, according to a MediaPost report.

Great multi-channel marketing is built on a foundation of three musts: understanding your customers’ preferences so you know where and when to reach them, using targeted messages that are authentic and trustworthy to catch their attention, and automating campaigns to that collect customer data, helping you create data-driven strategies that drive sales.

Final thought: Page speed and site architecture

On the technical end of your online marketing strategy, page loading speed has become more important than ever. Since Google has made it a ranking factor for mobile search with its Google Speed Update it’s mobile first, always.
This means page load speeds of two seconds or less, according to a Gomez.com study. After that, most consumers get impatient and click away. In addition, an Akami study found that 75 percent will never return to a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load.

In the world of SEO, the right website architecture is just as important as speed. According to the Site Guide to Site Architecture and SEO Success, “the right site structure can help your SEO efforts flourish while the wrong one can cripple them”. Your site has a limited “crawl budget,” so, with optimized crawl efficiency, you can determine which pages will be crawled more often.

All of this might seem like a big to-do list for 2019—but as you set your priorities for the new year, these are surely the factors that should land at the top of your list.

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