The booth has been disassembled, the business cards have been exchanged, and the flights back to various home cities (including London, Buenos Aires and of course, San Mateo) have all been booked. As we look back at the Opera Mediaworks experience at the bustling, buzzing Mobile World Congress this year, three major themes come to mind:
Beyond the Smartphone: Connecting Everything to Everything Else
It makes sense that a conference dedicated to all things mobile would focus heavily on connectivity – including the technologies that actually enable us to talk, text and FaceTime each other. But at Mobile World Congress this year, connected devices like smart cars, smart watches, and even smart homes took center stage.
There was almost an entire expo hall dedicated to device connectivity beyond the smartphone, with exhibitors like FitBit, AT&T Digital Life, and Xensr showing off how connectivity can help consumers stay active, stay safe and stay productive.
Of course, as processors, batteries and transmitters all get smaller and more powerful, the idea of connecting everything from a coffee cup to a bike becomes less far-fetched. The question on our minds though, is how do all these connected devices change the landscape for mobile advertising?
2. Globalization + Localization = Long-Term Success
Mobile advertising is a global game – but there are times when the conversation feels very U.S.-centric – at least here in the States. That’s not the case at Mobile World Congress – and not just because the conference takes place in Barcelona.
Although the U.S. drives much of the demand for slick, innovative mobile ad campaigns, marketers, carriers and device manufacturers all realize that some of the strongest growth will come from outside of North America for the next few years. The companies that help facilitate content localization, payments in multiple currencies, and even low-cost, reliable access to the internet, will be the ones that enjoy long-term success.
Own the Data – Own the Customer Relationship
Just a few years ago, content and advertising companies needed deep, favorable relationships with mobile carriers if they wanted access to their subscribers. But the proliferation of devices, apps, and the two dominant operating systems – Android and iOS – has made it far easier to connect with mobile users directly.
Even platforms like Facebook have their own stream of mobile user data, leading some to say that the carriers have been so disconnected from the customer relationship, that they may not ever enjoy the control over the market they once had.
That means the next land-grab in terms of mobile marketing and advertising will likely be over the data (and thus, the direct relationship) with the end user. Perhaps we’ll even see the carriers try to jump back in the game, given that they make all the interactions with apps and ads possible.