Have you noticed that when you look for *places to go on holiday* you start seeing flight offers, articles on travel destinations pop up in your feed, and Spanish language courses are suddenly all around your digital world?

(Change the sentence between the * * and you’ll get the same effect with different results).

This somewhat marvelous effect is the evolution of mobile advertising. It has completely transformed our user experience and will continue to change as new devices and technologies are created.

Some of us love it, some hate it. Whatever the case; it’s happening. By 2018, 50% of all digital advertising will be spent on mobile (an estimated $158 billion). Understanding what is happening helps us have more control of our digital world, and less animosity towards an industry that is not going anywhere soon.

What's Happening in the Mobile World?

There have been huge shifts in how we receive information and also how we interact with it.

Once we used to read news on newspapers, then TV screens, then desktops, and now news is reaching our pockets within seconds of it happening. Mobile devices have also opened up the social media world and the connections we create with people.

In the last five years, mobile devices (smartphones in particular) have redefined the digital world, and with it the advertising machine has had to adapt.

How is User Experience Changing?

With emerging new mobile technologies (just think wearables) and different expectations from users, our digital landscape is changing. It’s difficult to say that one is more of an influence than the other, and in my opinion the cycle is inter-dependable; the more innovative our world becomes the more we expect from it and therefore more innovation is demanded.

Are you keen to keep up with the latest mobile advertising trends and its impact on users? Here are five spaces you should watch out for in the coming year.

1. Video Content

There is no denying it: video content is one of the biggest trends at the moment, being pushed by Facebook, YouTube and many high level publishers. Frankly it makes sense that video is the preferred content type on mobiles, because who has the patience to read a full length article on a small screen? Not many people.

In turn this has affected the way advertising strategies move forward, with more budget being placed on this niche area (approx. $4.4 billion by 2018). Not surprisingly recent research from VentureBeat Insights shows that video advertising has increased x5 in the last 12 months, and it looks set to continue.

So what does this mean for user experience?

As with other types of successful advertising strategies like in-image ads that promote contextual techniques, the future of video ads is going to be personal. Programmatic technology is developing at such a rate that we are going to be seeing more and more focused ads that relate to the video. YouTube have already introduced TrueView Cards that are simultaneously shown whilst the content is playing.

The fact that video is getting to such heights of popularity increases brands attempts to come up with alternative advertising techniques such as storytelling rather than direct selling.

Just take ROC and their recent ‘advert’ with Cristiano Ronaldo. With virtually no paid promotion, the video went viral, getting 33 million views in the first few days of release.


Get ready to see more of these ads in the coming years; the more interactive and creative they get, the more attention they will receive.

2. Geo Location

One of my favorite aspects of mobile advertising that affects us all is geotargeting (or the trendier name: ‘geo-fencing’). Advertising companies are constantly looking to make adverts more personal, and what better way than making it contextually relevant?

Mobile phones have in built GPS systems that allow ad networks to know exactly where you. Once you walk into their virtual fenced off area, the advertiser is then able to serve you the advert that relates to your surroundings.

Why? Simple. You are much more likely to click on an ad that offers you a discount on a meal in your immediate vicinity, in comparison to a general restaurant advert. This results in higher ROI’s which pleases everyone (including you as a user).

What the future holds for geo targeting

As this type of technology and mobile devices are becoming more developed, it enables retailers to have a much more specific idea of who their customers are and connect with them in the digital world.

Currently we spend $9.8 billion on products through our phones. Barclay’s research predicts that by 2024 we will be spending over $53.3 billion. This drastic change in spending habits will impact the type of advertisements we see, and we could be seeing adverts for online shopping whilst you are in the store to avoid the queues.

Mobile advertising technology opens up the door for a multi-channel experience, you will soon receive a welcome tweet from the shop you spent into, or even a Facebook ad of the item you tried on in Zara.

3. Content

The content that we read on our mobiles is directly affected by advertising.

You might not know it but native advertising has become a huge player in content promotion and shaping your online user experience. As more users are reading content on their mobiles, publishers like Buzzfeed are creating short and funny articles that are easy to read on a small device. There is no surprise why people love to share them. However, many people feel this is reducing the quality of online content, and the quality of journalism is increasingly challenged.

The more serious news publishers have to keep up with the way people like to read content on the go. It seems that the content we see on a daily basis is changing the way ‘real news’ is relayed in the digital world.

I see the future of mobile content being presented through a more social perspective, including clickbait titles, increased shareability options and shorter articles.

4. Mobile Apps

If you do one thing today just check how many apps you have downloaded onto your mobile device. The average amount of apps on a smartphone is 29. Sounds high right?

You probably haven’t thought about it, but free mobile apps need to be supported financially somehow. And the answer is advertising. As more apps are created and downloaded, advertisers are increasingly turning their attention to this gap in the market. Budgets have already been reported to triple over the next year, and the main question is: will users like it?

The future for mobile app advertising is uncertain. Users are either going to have to start paying for more apps, or advertisers are going to have to get more incognito so that it doesn’t drive users away.

5. Social Media

Mobile advertising is also affecting how social media develops. With increasing consumer spend going through our mobiles (it’s estimated to reach $53 billion a year by 2024), solutions to increase revenue are developing through social media platforms.

For example Facebook is making video content a focus because it brings them more revenue, and Pinterest has recently added a ‘buyable pins’ function to its images, tapping into the e-commerce world that most social media stays away from.


The reason why mobile advertising is shaping social media is because even the giants like Facebook and Pinterest need to make revenue to keep growing. To do that they need to find the fine line between advertising techniques and what their users want.

So What Does it All Mean?

All of the areas mentioned have a very powerful effect on the digital world. Combined they result in a very dynamic and rich mobile experience. Many people grumble about advertising, and I admit that there are issues to work on like annoying autoplay functions.

But the bottom line is that advertising drives forward the evolution of our digital experience in all formats, and this is something that improves our interactions with a world on the go.

Have you noticed this shift in advertising? Please describe the examples in the comments!

Author Photo
Shirley PattisonShirley Pattison is the content marketing wizard at imonomy, an in-image advertising company. You can find more in-depth analysis of the advertising industry on the company blog she manages and when she’s not writing you can find her at the beach with a cup of ice coffee.
More about SEO
An SEO Guide to Yoast for WordPressYoast SEO for WordPress is a powerful optimization tool. In this guide, we’ll explore how it works, and how to best integrate the plugin with Semrush’s keyword tools.
10 min read