Opera Mediaworks shows strong growth in Q1 2015 – Revenues up 162%

Today, Opera Mediaworks’ parent company, Opera Software, reported financial results for Q1 2015. Opera Mediaworks, Opera Software’s U.S.-based mobile advertising subsidiary, demonstrated strong growth for the company, once again, continuing to contribute more than half (52%) of the overall Opera Software revenues.

Some highlights:

  • Opera Mediaworks reported revenues of $83.2 million for Q1 2015 — a growth of 162% year over year.
  • Since Q1 2014, Opera Mediaworks has seen a 72% growth in global platform reach from 500 million unique consumers to 850 million.
  • Overall, Opera Software, publicly-listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, reported $126.8 million in revenues (up 46% year over year) with adjusted EBITDA of $18.2 million.

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Revenue growth in Q1 2015 was driven primarily by increased revenue from premium and performance advertisers and “app-install” driven spend from primarily the mobile gaming sector. Opera Mediaworks runs campaigns for many of the top revenue grossing app developers in the world.

Video Rules the Roost 

Opera Mediaworks’ strong performance in Q1 was also related to some key brand customer wins in a variety of verticals with the top 5 being: CPG/FMCG, Entertainment, Automotive, Technology/Consumer Electronics and Finance.

The key driver of growth was Opera’s mobile video business, which is the fastest-growing ad format globally. This time last year, Opera Mediaworks revenues from video amounted to 12% of overall revenues. In Q1 2015, that number grew to more than 50%. Mobile video revenue is expected to grow 3 times faster than desktop through 2020, according to Business Insider.

Part of the success of mobile video, was the launch of the Native Video Fund earlier this year, as a result of the acquisition of AdColony. Opera partnered with more than 15 global brands and agencies, including Adidas, Lenovo, Carl’s Jr., to help them create and execute mobile video ad creative that is less than 15 seconds and is designed for impact in a native, in-feed video environment.

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Global Expansion

Opera Mediaworks’ plans for global expansion saw lots of activity in Q1 with the establishment of an office in Singapore and a growing team spread across the APAC region, with plans to expand further in with offices in South Korea and India. Key geographies such as USA, Europe, Latam and Africa continued working with major brands and agencies in their respective regions and working on bringing our key acquisitions and talent under one umbrella.

One great example is the AdColony Instant-PlayTM video product, which has been introduced globally as part of our unified global offering. In Latam, this has helped with the influx of performance campaigns and, in Europe, it has helped contribute to video growing to 30% of the total revenues.

Premium Programmatic

In Q1, we announced Opera Select, a private marketplace to connect buyers and sellers who work with Opera Mediaworks. Opera Select is a curated marketplace for premium display and rich-media ads where advertisers will know their premium brands will appear alongside premium content. Later in the year, Opera Select will launch programmatic offerings for video and as well as native advertising.

User Acquisition 

In Q1 2015, the ratio between display advertising and user acquisition advertising revenues remained close to 50:50, as customer spend evened out more between those two categories since the same time last year.

AdColony (a division of Opera Mediaworks) was rated 3.5x higher than Google for both providing high-quality app installs and for driving user acquisition at scale in the AdColony User Acquisition Survey. This survey gathers insights, benchmarks and trends from the top 100 grossing app developers globally.

“We’ve kicked off 2015 with a great start in terms of financial performance, global expansion and providing tremendous value to our customers. Our performance rates us as the top independent mobile ad platform in the world,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO, Opera Mediaworks. “For the rest of 2015, we will continue to focus on some key efforts such as mobile video, native advertising, premium programmatic offerings, and on growing our user acquisition and brand advertising business globally.”

More information on the Opera Software earnings can be found here.

How to create a custom audience

What if mobile advertisers could identify the mobile user who has intent to buy? What if they could also pinpoint those users who are in a state of mind to actually make a purchase?

While audience data and targeting capabilities have been around for years, the use of custom audience creation methodologies is gaining momentum. (See our full report, released this week: Intelligent Audience Creation.)

It’s all about “big data” these days, in which publishers and app developers are gathering more and more data from their users and developing new ways to collect, store and leverage that data to target their advertisements. And this means that identifying the mobile users with an intent and with a state of mind to make a purchase is actually feasible.

Behavioral targeting has become one of the most critical components of mobile advertising. By examining a mobile user’s past actions, demonstrated interests and purchase intent, advertisers can hone in on a very specific subset of consumers that will be the most receptive to the campaign. And that can make for a higher ROI and a more effective ad spend. Because at the end of the day, now matter how captivating the ad, it falls flat if you don’t reach the right audience at the right time and in the right context.

So just how can we accurately observe and understand a users behavioral activity patterns? That’s where the practical use of the data comes into play. By capturing large amounts of data over a significant amount of time and from a series of contextual events, patterns and habits become evident.

Past behavioral patterns have proven to be particularly accurate indicators of future actions. Take for instance a user who has installed apps in the past as a result of a response to an ad. That means he is more likely to do so in the future, so advertisers are more inclined to show them a similar type of ad, and expect a similar type of response. Users who have not installed an app in the past, on the other hand, might be shown a lower paying “house” ad, since the expectations of that user to make the purchase are also lower.

The time of day and week also seem to have an influence on a users engagement with advertisements. For example, in Western Europe, user engagement over the course of a 24-hour day showed two primary engagement periods: one in the morning (6-10am), which was driven primarily by an interest in news, and one later in the day (6-9pm), where we see an increased interest in sports, weather and social networking.

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Another component of behavioral targeting involves determining whether mobile users are in a “need” or a “want” state. In a “need” state, the user accesses a mobile site or app with the intent to satisfy an immediate desire or purpose, such as searching for a nearby Starbucks or locating the right tool for a home project. And in this case, the user is not receptive to advertisements. In a “want” state, however, the user is most receptive to brand advertising messages, as they appear to be browsing in a more recreational manner, and are more open to discovering new information.

The frequency in which a user accesses a site or an app is another important metric when it comes to understanding his or her behavior. Some sites, like sports, news and social sites, typically see their users early in the time cycle. For example, over the time span of a month, sports sites will more than 50% of their monthly users within the first week, with an additional 20% identified in the next 10 days. Other sites, such as style and fashion or food and drink sites, may go much longer before they acquire the same amount of users.

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While frequency does reflect interest, helping mobile advertisers decide which period of time to focus on, the time spent on a particular site or app is another important consideration to make. After all, if the user is on only briefly, they must not have a vested interest. It’s also important to consider that time spent is influenced by such factors as cost of data plans, the availability and quality of high-speed networks and the mode of engagement (web vs. app).

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Now, up until this point, data on user behavior has mostly been collected and analyzed through their use of a single site or mobile application. But with the advent of cross-site activity analysis, behavioral targeting just became next level. Not only does understanding cross-site activity provide a deeper understanding of a user, it allows mobile advertisers to develop a more complete view of who their audience really is, and as a result, how they should gear their advertisements.

Behavioral targeting helps mobile advertisers get more granular in their selection of audience variables, and ultimately, achieve a higher ROI. With that said, it is important to recognize that the more granular the audience segment becomes, the smaller it will be. So mobile advertisers will need to learn how to balance targeting efficiency with scale potential. After all, the idea is still to increase your audience and grow your piece of the pie.

REPORT: ANDROID, SOCIAL ARE MONETIZATION LEADERS

As we launch into 2015, it’s safe to say that two things are certain: Android and social media.

As revealed in today’s release of our Q1 State of Mobile Advertising report, not only Android dominate traffic volume in 2014, it also started to make more money than iOS. The shake-up started in the first quarter of 2014, when Android took the lead over iOS as the top platform for traffic, and continued in the first quarter of 2015 when Android crept past iOS to become the leader in revenue generation across the platform.

While the change undoubtedly challenges the traditional belief that iOS applications make more money for mobile developers than Android applications do, don’t count iOS out just yet. In terms of monetization potential, that is, the ratio of revenue to impressions, iOS still leads among all device platforms. And within iOS, it’s the iPad that stands at the top for highest revenue generated per impression by device/platform combination. In fact, its monetization share in Q1 was more than 4X its traffic volume.

It is important to note, however, that Android tablets are gaining momentum, as revenue increase this quarter to now be just over par with their traffic volume. And a large part of the reason Android devices have not reached higher monetization levels? Because those devices have a larger share of their impressions from markets where advertising rates are well below the standard rates in the U.S. or Western Europe. So expect the upward trend in Android monetization to continue, especially as mobile continues to expand.

Mobile expansion and adoption has also supported the ongoing globalization of the mobile advertising market. While the U.S. is still the frontrunner in terms of traffic and revenue generation, there has been a serious expansion of mobile advertising in Asia, the Americas and Africa. And video advertising appears to be growing at a particularly rapid rate across multiple geographies. In the U.S., the market share of video ads is 2.5X its share of total reach of users, meaning that American consumers are viewing substantially more video ads than consumers in the rest of the world.

In tandem with the expansion of mobile advertising has been the continued rise of Social Networking. Not only do Social Networking apps continue to reign supreme in terms of total traffic, they have also edged out Music, Video and Media to become the largest revenue producer. And part of that reason can likely be attributed to the evolution in consumer appetite.

 

According to a 2014 Pew poll, nearly half of adults who use the Internet report getting their news from Facebook. It’s another reminder that the way Americans consume information has fundamentally changed.

And, with this change, companies such as LinkedIn have discovered opportunity. A few weeks ago, the business-minded social networking site revealed Elevate, a paid mobile and desktop app that suggests articles to its users — based on algorithms from its news recommendation services Pulse and Newsle, as well as “human curation” — and then lets users schedule and share those links across LinkedIn and Twitter, with the aim to add more networks like Facebook over time.

Wake up, retailers – mobile is now a must

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As smartphone and tablet sales continue to climb north, mobile commerce is expected to make a major jump. For all intents and purposes, this is good news for online retailers, that is, as long as they make the requisite changes to their infrastructure.

According to a recent trend report from Cisco and DHL, an estimated $8 trillion will be generated through new connections over the next decade. The study cites a number of factors driving this value, such as enhanced customer experience — something Google has very publicly deemed a priority.

Earlier this year, Google announced big changes coming to its search algorithm. It will start favoring mobile-friendly websites (those that have large, readable text, easy-to-navigate links, and webpages that resize to fit the screen they are being viewed on) and ranking them higher in search results. This means that many high-profile retail brands could potentially fall in the rankings if their mobile sites aren’t up to snuff. And for e-commerce companies, even a slight drop in organic traffic can be a huge, direct hit to sales and revenue.

The change, which occurred this week and many are calling “Mobilegeddon,” reinforces Google’s mobile focus. As of now, more than half of online traffic comes from mobile devices and with its new mobile-friendly algorithm; Google is making it a point to guide users to websites where they can have a positive experience.

Since the update was announced back in February, brands have been scrambling to make the requisite changes to prevent their sites from falling off mobile search results. Google has even created a mobile-friendly test for businesses to evaluate how their website will fare.

It’s a pivotal moment in digital development. And making the shift towards a more friendly mobile user experience is arguably overdue. Still, the changes businesses must make extend well beyond investing in good technology and design. They must begin to understand how to transition into a mobile era where thousands of devices have been linked together, creating what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Mobile search, rankings and communication will also be impacted by automatic identification technologies like near field communication (NFC). Right now, there are roughly 1 billion NFC-enabled phones across the globe.

According to Mathew Bright, Chair of the NFC Forum’s Retail working group and director of technical marketing at Thin Film Electronics, “the tag will guide consumers to information without having the person type a query into a box.”

“The point of using NFC and not typing something into the search box is the event triggers the capability to guide consumers to information mediated by the brand, rather than Google’s search algorithm.”

While Google’s search algorithm focuses on making websites more visible, in the future there is likely to be a shift towards Internet-connected objects like wearables, smart meters, cars and other devices that make use of embedded NFC tags. Even previously unconnected products, such as food, beverages or clothing will eventually come with NFC tags attached, turning consumer goods into Internet-connected advertising platforms that close the gap between the physical and the digital.

Consider a retail store where NFC tags are placed on products, allowing customers to access more personalized information about the product by simply scanning them with an app that integrates their personal information. For example, if you are allergic to wheat, the product scan would be able to determine if the product contained wheat (or was processed in a factory containing wheat) and let you know. The scan would also be able to provide instant coupons, ideas for usage, or various payment options.

Not only does this provide consumers with a more enjoyable shopping experience, it provides retailers with a significant amount of information and data about their audience. And in turn, presents opportunities for marketers and media to leverage the data that arises from so many connected things.

Aside from beacons and messaging, retailers must focus on creating even greater efficiencies in the entire consumer experience, from beginning to end. According to the Cisco and DHL report,  this includes mobile payments, checkout optimization, in-store shopper guidance, and what the study calls hyper-relevance, which enables consumers to find what they want, when they want, and in exactly the way they want it.

ARE YOU USING ALL 5 SENSES?

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For an example of “sensory marketing,” take a look at Singapore Airlines. They not only implement highly consistent visual themes, they’ve taken things up a notch by infusing the hot towels and perfume worn by flight attendants with a single fragrance, Stefan Floridian Waters. The patented aroma was specifically designed to complement the airline’s brand, and has since become a distinct trademark of Singapore Airlines.

The company also mandates that their flight attendants adhere to stringent appearance criteria, and wear uniforms made from fine silk, which coincidently, incorporate elements of the cabin decor. Each of these finely tuned details aims to serve one purpose — to create a unique experience that evokes feelings of comfort and luxury that the customer associates with Singapore Airlines. And for all intents and purposes, they do.

What Singapore Airlines understands, and what mobile has yet to truly embrace, is the power of sensory marketing.

Sensory marketing is a tool used to stimulate a consumer’s relationship with a brand and to create a long-lasting, positive emotional connection. Our senses — sight, sound, touch, smell and taste — help build emotion, and thus stay with us longer.

While sight is the most stimulated sense, sound is an effective complement. Certainly we all recognize the specific Intel notes at the end of their commercial, not to mention catchy jingles like Rice-A-Roni’s “the San Francisco treat.”

What about the less obvious – but equally impactful – examples? Did you know that Audi associated the sounds of a steady heartbeat, a piano and a breath with its cars? Or that Mercedes Benz established a team to create the most appealing sound for a closing car door? These sounds are not merely more pleasing to the ear, but are a great way to inspire lasting memories that tug at people’s heartstrings.

Yet sensory marketing goes beyond first impressions. As detailed in a recent article in Adage, research has shown that it can actually influence people’s purchasing behavior. No wonder real estate agents bake cookies in a house for sale, and wine stores play classical music.

So how can mobile make a move towards sensory marketing? By playing to its strengths. Mobile hardware natively contains sensory elements that stimulate people’s emotions and create engaging experiences. And mobile users are actually pre-conditioned to respond to sight, sound and touch. By leveraging these points, brands can make not only make ad viewing engaging, they might even make it fun.

Consider a user playing a mobile game. When he or she succeeds, the app could vibrate, sounding a “reward” tone, then provide the user with a branded ad and coupon to reinforce the positive moment. Or an ad for the film American Sniper could deliver vibrations that correspond with action scenes, like guns shooting and bombs exploding. These types of ads create highly immersive and memorable experiences, and can strengthen the brand’s ability to connect with the viewer.

Take, for example, the mobile ad unit Gyro360, which engages both the consumer’s visual and tactile senses. Designed to view panoramic or 360-degree images, such as the interior of a car, the user rotates their mobile device, which simulates the turning of the head. The image can be viewed within the banner or expanded to full screen, creating a fluid and immersive experience. Research has shown that this unit has high interaction rates and is uniquely effective at driving brand awareness and building brand loyalty.

Of course, there is such a thing as going overboard, and brands must be careful not to annoy their viewers. There’s a fine line between engaging and just plain distracting. But by partnering with ad technology vendors that have thoroughly vetted sensory marketing features and have thoughtfully tested their mobile products to ensure a positive user experience, brands can make an important shift in their mobile thinking to deeply leverage the medium’s unique attributes.

Photo Credit: Patrick Hoesly via Compfight cc

Announcing Opera Select, the first premium mobile exchange

OperaSelect_LightIn 2012, we introduced OMAX, the Opera Mediaworks Ad Exchange, a real-time marketplace for efficient, automated buying and selling of mobile media.

Since then, we have facilitated programmatic access to key demand partners, delivering impressions in an automated way to over 18,000 mobile sites and apps – driving better monetization for mobile publishers through scale and operational efficiencies.

Advertisers, too, have benefited from the increased access, speed and efficiency of the RTB open auction model.

In the larger landscape, programmatic also took center stage. In nearly every marketers’ guide to 2014 trends, programmatic was a key topic. Panels about programmatic buying at mobile conferences were often standing room only, and nearly every day there was a story in the trade media about it. Just this week, the IAB published a Mobile Programmatic Playbook.

But if there is one constant in mobile, it’s change.

In the past year, we’ve seen a giant shift in the programmatic space – and that shift is toward private marketplaces and programmatic direct, where the massive, open exchange is narrowed down to a smaller subset of buyers and sellers to create a premium environment that is perfect for brand advertisers and publishers.

That is what we are announcing today: a private marketplace to connect the buyers and sellers who work with Opera Mediaworks.

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The best media companies in the world already monetize their mobile properties through our platform, so the stage is set for a premium environment. It’s a curated mobile marketplace where advertisers will know their premium brands will appear alongside premium content. Their messages will be delivered to the right audience, allowing them to combine their own targeting capabilities with the ones we offer, and they will have access to highly valuable early session impressions, for maximum campaign efficiency.

Publishers already use the platform to set up their own private exchanges with agencies and brands. Opera Select adds an additional layer of connection to premium demand, managed by Opera Mediaworks. The end result is a comprehensive waterfall, enabling us to monetize publisher inventory better than ever before.

Opera Mediaworks is committed to providing the best mobile platform for brands, whether that means an advertiser or a publisher brand. As the mobile ecosystem moves toward an increasingly programmatic future, we are excited about the ways Opera Select supports that mission. The ability to run the highest-quality, rich media display ads on the highest-quality sites and apps is an important first step, but it’s just the start. Look for more information later this year about programmatic for video and native advertising.

To learn more about Opera Select, contact us at select@opera.com.

The View From the Opera Innovation Lab: So What Do You Guys Do, Anyway?

As always, Apple’s entrance into a market – namely, wearables – has elevated the conversation around the market overall.

And based on our experience at last week’s Mobile World Congress, we’d say that consumer adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) – which goes beyond smart watches to connected cars, and clothes and houses – will be very interesting for the mobile ad industry.

Just ask Ben Dimond, Director of Strategy for EMEA at Opera Mediaworks, and a leading voice in the Opera Innovation Lab. In the video below, he shares his thoughts on how connected devices and wearables might change things for mobile advertisers in the near future.

He also sheds light on the top regions of innovation in EMEA (hint: South Africa is on the rise), and answers one big, burning question about the Opera Innovation Lab. Namely … what kinds of things go on in an Innovation Lab, anyway?

 

 

Is the Apple Watch the bridge we’ve been waiting for?

Opera Mediaworks CEO Mahi de Silva shares his thoughts on this week’s Apple announcement and what it means for the mobile advertising community.

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The Apple Watch will create new ways for brands to connect with consumers on the go

Why? Because the Apple Watch is a new medium for apps, across a broad range of content from health, wellness, social media, sports, news and entertainment – all aiming to engage consumers. Marketing within these apps will be confined to sponsorships or “badging,” because of the size of the screen, so advertisers will need to keep interactions short and sweet. However, it will also create an important bridge between the tiny screen on your wrist and the larger screen on your phone or phablet, which can deliver a richer content experience monetized through advertising, complete with rich media and video.

The Apple Watch will strengthen the bond between people and their favorite brands

The watch also creates a new modality for delivering unique and relevant notifications to a consumer’s wrist — that will ultimately re-engage the consumer on the bigger screen for a more immersive content experience. If you are a brand that has earned that precious spot on a user’s phone via a brand app, then they have the ability to engage that user in a quick and easy way. Maybe you can notify that user of a sale nearby based on a beacon they walked by, or alert them about the release of a brand’s newest product line.

Privacy-friendly data signals from the Apple Watch will improve consumer profiles

Savvy publishers will connect and coalesce data signals ranging from frequency of use and location to context and behavior observed in their apps on the Apple Watch and iPhone. These signals will contribute to better understanding the consumer, who in turn will see more relevant marketing. The Apple Watch will utilize low-power Bluetooth to connect to its companion iPhone, and, in turn, makes it more likely that that the consumer will participate in Bluetooth-enabled technology, including beacons. This single product will ensure that Bluetooth-based beacons will become a reality — driving a whole new world of location-based advertising, tracking and attribution.

The Download: Three Takeaways from Mobile World Congress

MWCPICThe 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:

  1. 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.Fitbit MWC 2015

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.

Globalization was a core theme, with demonstrations and installations in multiple languages, as well as a focus on localizing both content and commerce for countries like Indonesia, India and Brazil.Innovation City MWC 2015

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.

  1. 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.

 

More photos from MWC:ATT Drive MWC 2015 Entrance Innovation MWC 2015 MWC 2015 Entrance Oculus Rift MWC 2015

 

From NFC and Beacons, to Apps and Apple Pay: Where is Mobile Marketing Headed Next?

mahi-panel2Where’s mobile marketing headed next?

It’s a tough question to answer – given that mobile as discipline crosses devices, platforms, content types and even countries – but our CEO Mahi de Silva offered some glimpses into the future during his panel on Mobile World Live, the official broadcast of Mobile World Congress.

Joined by Arlie Sisson, Associate Director of mobile product strategy at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Michael Collins, CEO of Adelphic Mobile, Mahi and the other panelists shed light on what marketers have to look forward to when it comes to using mobile over the next few years and months.

  • Location, Location, Location

It’s been discussed for years, but it seems like the infrastructure is finally in place – NFC, Bluetooth, beacons, etc. – and widespread enough, to fully leverage location-based features.

For companies like Starwood, Arlie said that means learning to use mobile location features for both utility and marketing purposes:

“We’re elated to offer Bluetooth keyless check-ins and let people open their doors with a phone,” she said. “But it changes the relationship, since there’s no face-to-face check-in process. That means we have to have content, and be able to market through the phone when they’re on the property.”

  • More Apps and Less SMS (At Least in the US)

For brands, the future of mobile marketing looks more and more like an app. Michael said that Adelphic was seeing a definite shift away from SMS as a marketing tool:

“There’s still some SMS activity, but brands are far more interested in the depth of relationship [with the customer] that comes from an app … Apps are taking over.”

That deeper relationship also leads to greater control over the kind of experience a marketer can craft, according to Mahi:

“We know that consumer engagement through an app is much stronger than on a browser, but apps also let [marketers] do things tied very closely to the device OS,” he said. “That’s where in-app marketing gets interesting, because you can integrate with features like the GPS chip or Apple Pay, or deep linking from one app into another.”

Still, Arlie added that the shift away from SMS to apps was somewhat region-specific:

“We have 1200 properties around the world, so while the EU and US are dominated by apps, SMS is still very powerful in APAC.”

  • Tapping the Power of Payments

Ultimately, mobile marketing is marketing – and although marketing campaigns may focus on engagement, loyalty, or brand building – the underlying goal is to drive the sale. And that’s why the promise of making phone-based transactions and payments as seamless as possible was so exciting to the panelists.

Mahi noted that mobile payments offer a blend of convenience and trust that may be hard for consumers to resist:

“Apple Pay takes the value proposition that providers like PayPal have had on the desktop and brings it to mobile,” he said. “It’s starting with in-store purchases and physical goods, but we’ll see it transfer to virtual goods and other items that people can order and get shipped.”

We’ll link to the full video of Mahi’s panel as soon as it’s available. In the meantime, you can find coverage of the highlights from Mobile World Congress 2015 here.