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Top takeaways from Mobile World Congress 2017

AOL’s Alex Khan, Managing Director Asia & ANZ writes on the top takeaways from the Mobile World Congress which was held in Barcelona, Spain earlier this month.

Mobile growth is surging
Advertisers we spoke with largely confirmed what everyone knows – that they’re planning on investing more in mobile ads, with video driving most of the growth. The industry is simply trying to keep pace with consumer demand, which is obviously massive right now. In southeast Asia 72 per cent of consumers watch video on their mobile phone everyday, per AOL data. Accordingly, 25 per cent of southeast Asian advertisers expect to increase mobile ad spend by 50 per cent this year.

Mobile data scale & quality are critical
Among both advertisers and publishers, mobile data quality and scale were hot topics. Quality and scale are essential for buyers and sellers to be successful. For publishers, it helps more effectively merchandise inventory. For advertisers, it means better audience targeting across mobile. For vendors, the best philosophy to deliver here is an open one – offering multiple data sets to help advertisers build powerful brands and publishers make more money.

Linear TV dollars are going to mobile
Dollars for mobile have to come from somewhere. The ‘where’ was a key part of the MWC dialogue. Advertisers are funding their increases in mobile and mobile video by shifting more and more money away from TV budgets. If you look at the data, it supports that. According to eMarketer, 2017 will mark a major milestone for ad spending, as total digital surpasses TV for the first-time. Mobile is driving that, upending traditional ad budgets.

VR is poised for growth
There were several major VR and 360-degree video launches at this year’s show from brands and platforms. This is fitting since mobile is driving the rise of immersive video. In our own recent southeast Asia study VR 56 per cent of people surveyed watch VR at least once a month, compared to 37 per cent globally. Clearly, mobile is supporting a new, innovative wave of video experiences. At MWC, this was on full display.

Mobile transparency & accountability
At MWC, transparency continued to be a hot topic. Advertisers want accountability, especially in the mobile ad supply chain, where more dollars are going. And the recent MRC verification announcements by Facebook and Google, just prior to the event, only fueled interest. Advertisers are demanding deeper insight and firmer guarantees on how agency and technology partners are acting on their behalf. That’s not an unreasonable request. Their partners – vendors, agencies, publishers – need to deliver here.

Alex Khan

Alex Khan is the Managing Director APAC at Smaato.