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Mobile & User Experience: Driving Digital Media Trends in 2016

By Shailley Singh

2015 saw many new developments in digital media consumption and advertising industry that will set the stage for trends in 2016.

Two areas that will drive these trends are Mobile and User Experience.

Mobile is where users spend most of their time compared to any other screen and are engaged in various activities that touch their daily habits. User Experience is the strategic weapon as content producers, distribution platforms and access point channels wage turf wars for users.

Lets look at mobile first as it is ready to create a different type of digital advertising due to completely new ways to create context and intent  through location and user activity.

Location itself can tell a lot about consumers and is a very strong intent signal in multiple ways. Geographic targeting can be executed on precise user location and geo fences combined with time of day can be created with layered contexts of user intent (e.g. diners in a particular neighborhood between 6 pm – 8 pm). Location from mobile phone can also inform online to offline understanding of consumers and drive marketing campaigns. It can help understand consumer habits like frequently visited stores and locations to understand consumer preferences. Yes it sounds creepy to track location data and if done like blind retargeting it is creepy. But if done with sophisticated analytics and without singular objective of retargeting, it can help create relevant advertising that can help consumers make the right choices at right time and right location!

The other trend is user activity that happens on mobile apps that will help create personalized advertising without the need to track user data. Today mobile users get so much of their daily chores done through mobile apps that it creates another very strong signal of user intent in that moment. For instance, when a consumer is using a fitness app, they can be presented with relevant advertising in multiple ways–sports apparel and goods to make their fitness routine more enjoyable or advertisement for music app to listen to relevant music while enjoying their training session. All done without the need for capturing any or only very minimal user data in the moment the user is engaged in an activity, and at the same time providing a complimentary experience.

Mobile combined with sophisticated analytics is going to drive the trend towards creating highly relevant advertising to help consumers make the right choices.

2015 saw several developments led by big platforms to deliver more to their users. We saw Apple get into News publishing, Facebook announced Instant Articles, Google announced Google AMP, Google Chrome sunsets Flash auto play capabilities and Firefox adding options for tracking protection as well as consumer’s own actions to adopt ad blocking. All of these actions have one goal–a better user experience to lock in users into a platform. We are going to see this battle wage into 2016 for creating the right user experience. What is a better user experience?  It is the sum total of content quality as well as content delivery quality which means great content delivered at the blink of an eye with no distractions from user’s consumption objectives at lowest possible cost (low bandwidth and battery life for mobile world) to consumer and being transparent about consumer’s privacy.

Apple, already known for its superlative user experience, is trying to offer consumers more of the same through Siri, left swipe search and suggestions, and the new Apple News App that offers to capture the beauty of editorial layouts and typography of print in an interactive digital format while maximizing content. Facebook instant articles offers consumers a lightning fast display of core content with clean interface and offers massive distribution channel to publishers. Google AMP offers blazing fast download with content first approach and limiting advertising capabilities until after the content has been presented to the user. Chrome and Firefox are adding or deleting features to create a higher performing browser for speeding up the web for their users. Content publishers like BuzzFeed and social media applications are including native advertising  that does not disrupt user experience but many times enhances the content in which it is served.

Creating a better user experience with fast delivery, clutter free designs, transparency in privacy and advertising that enhances the core content will be a key to greater user engagement for digital media. Publishers and advertisers will need to work together to create this new user experience. And platforms will play a big role in consolidating these experiences.

IAB’s LEAN Ads program embraces user experience to help publishers and advertisers create advertising supported content that loads fast, places content first with non disruptive advertising and provides users transparent privacy choices and security. IAB members and Ad products working groups are working to create the next set of user experience driven advertising standards that embody light weight ads, non invasive ad placements and functions and Ad choices.

I am looking forward to the new Ad products portfolio to deliver LEAN Ads that are flexible, responsive, respect the consumer and value their experience.



Shailley Singh
Senior Director, Product and Research & Development