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Mobile Engagement Trends to Watch in 2018

Posted on by Katie Kerr, Marketing & Branding

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Mobile advertising is taking over. According to a new eMarketer report, mobile will account for 70% of all digital advertising. Mobile ad spending is also expected to surpass TV spending this year as nearly half of US paid media ad spending goes to digital channels. With so much attention on mobile, are marketers doing all they can to effectively engage with their audience? What new trends and insights should marketers consider in 2018 and beyond?

Here are the mobile engagement trends we’re keeping an eye on in 2018.


Adam Broitman, Chief Strategy Officer

I remember when I ran my first mobile campaign. It was roughly 2005, and back then we predicted that the mobile device would become “the remote control” for everyday life. To say that the mobile device has become a critical part of our everyday life is an understatement. Yet, marketers have still not been able to fully realize the power of the mobile device as a means to connect with consumers. Marketers have not been explicit enough with consumers. Consumers would likely be more ready to share information about themselves if they knew what that information was being used for, which is why I see transparency as a key trend of 2018.

People-based marketing will be another trend to keep a close eye on through this year and beyond. Retargeting on Facebook and other big networks still takes the lion’s share of advertising dollars. Marketers need to think about marketing on mobile devices as a way to better construct advertising that is part of the consumer experience. For example, if you are a hotelier and you know someone has just checked into your hotel, create opportunities to serve ads from local merchants that are based on the preferences of a given consumer--in this scenario everyone wins. Ultimately, shared value between marketer and consumer is going to be at the center of mobile marketing growth. Identifying key moments in the lives of your consumers is central to this value exchange.


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James O’Connor, Head of Programmatic

So many features, so underutilized! That’s my thinking (hope) in 2018 for how developers, brands and agencies will more fully utilize the experience mobile offers. For instance, some brands have dipped their toes in the water with AR and VR whereas some have jumped into the deep end. Though in aggregate, that number is still small amongst brands, both big and small, who have an opportunity to create unique and highly engaging mobile user experiences. Retail may be the vertical with the most obvious and immediate opportunity to help a customer navigate a store with the help of an AR-enabled app.  

Additionally, developers have yet to really cross the chasm of customization. Facebook has a highly customized content experience for each individual user. No two experiences are the same on that platform, yet the content found on most mobile apps is something out of the Clone Wars. Greeting a user by name would be a simple yet impactful development.

I’m shocked more marketers have not leveraged the mobile wallet more which is ubiquitously found on nearly all smart phones. When a user opts in to add something to their mobile wallet, that is the invitation to send reminders, alert a nearby point of interest or intermittently send some form of welcomed content.

The list of ways to leverage more of what we already have at our disposal is lengthy, and I look forward to ultimately being proven wrong in my forecasts.


Jonathan Collins, Head of Data

About 15 years ago, there was a forward-thinking reference in e-commerce and online advertising circles to “Rachel’s Dress.”  The “Rachel” in this case being the character on the popular sitcom Friends and the “dress” being an example of an item a person could purchase by clicking on it on television - essentially the future of e-commerce. As with many predictions, the vision was rooted in the context of existing technologies and patterns of behavior (e.g. someday we’ll all be sitting around in our living rooms with a keyboard and a mouse connected to our TV sets which will be connected to the World Wide Web via dial up).  What the prediction failed to envision was a day where more people would be consuming more video on handheld devices than on their 250lb “flat screen” TV’s.

I believe 2018 may be the year where we come closer to being able to actually purchase items more like what was envisioned, but in a very different way than what was imagined back in 2003.  Whether by tapping an item during a streaming video, browsing through a fashion catalogue embedded in an ad unit, or leveraging AR to identify and purchase real world items, I believe the prediction behind “Rachel’s Dress” may finally become more of a reality in 2018, but more likely during a re-run as the show itself went off the air in 2004.

Brian Wong, CEO and Co-Founder

Surprise and delight. Permission based. Rewarding. Real-time and instant-gratification. These are all key principles that have been in the core DNA of Kiip since the beginning in 2010. I predict we’ll see a rise in adoption of these best practices as we progress through 2018.

  • Surprising and delighting at the core of the user experience: I see this becoming a larger trend in 2018 and beyond. Building in mechanisms to delight your user with UX, content, and value-added components make for an overall improved experience. The UX should be like a living person: unpredictable, interesting, and engaging.
  • Large adoption of permission-based best practices: Asking the consumer what they want, and delivering. Stop guessing. The more the consumer tells you, the more they’re also invested in the product working better for them.
  • Rewarding the consumer: The most obvious of all, making sure consumers get something that shows them that they have value.
  • A commitment to real-time and instant-gratification: This has evolved, but think about when you wanted support back in the day. You’d have to call. You’d have to send an e-mail. Now, you can chat with support and get a response all day long. Rewards are available to be redeemed immediately. We’re seeing a significant change in

Most marketing principles don’t have to be new - they just have to mirror human behavior and how we engage with each other in a genuine way. Imagine a friend that’s delightful, asks you want you want, rewards you, and shows up on-time. That sounds like the perfect friend to me.

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